It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Catherine Gray Robina Whyte Veillette at Nanaimo Hospital on January 24, 2010, with her devoted family at her side. Cathie was predeceased by her loving husband, Emile Veillette in 2007. Left to mourn are her 5 daughters: Wilma Smith-Veillette (Joe) Portsmouth, England; Louise Coutu (Ed) Nanaimo; Vicki Lerch (Paul Butler) Qualicum Beach; Robyn Veillette, Victoria; and Laura Merry (Steve), Edmonton, Alberta. Her grandchildren, of whom she was so proud: Stephanie Marfy-Smith (Dennis) and Simon Smith (Kelly Reid) Southampton, England, Andrea Coutu (Andre Sonnichsen) Vancouver, Ryan Coutu (Alison Miller) Nanaimo, Jillian Coutu, Vancouver, Cameron Lerch (Laura-Jane Koers) Montague, PEI, Brenna Lerch, Port Coquitlam, Kersten, Mitchell and Andrew Merry, Edmonton, Alberta. Her wonderful great-grandchildren; Imogen and Ursula Marfy-Smith, Gabriel Smith all of Southampton, England, Kai and Luke Sonnichsen, Vancouver and Hannah Coutu, Nanaimo. Also survived by her loving brother, Jim Whyte (Dorothy) in Dumbarton, Scotland, and several brothers and sisters-in-law as well as many nieces and nephews.
Born in Auchterderran, Fife, Scotland on June 29, 1925 to William and Helen Whyte, fourth of their six children. After the war, she married Canadian solider, Emile Veillette in April, 1945, migrating as a war bride, she arrived in 1946 to the small village of Wellington, BC. There they raised all their girls and became the fabric of the community. She joined the Mount Benson School PTA before her children were old enough to attend. She was present at its closing, too.
With Cathie’s zest for life she had many interests, but found her true passion in Guiding. Wherever she went, she made friends, many of whom became lifelong. For 62 years she was involved in Girl Guides. She started the 1st Wellington Brownie Pack at the Wellington Community Hall in 1956 and was Brown Owl until 1989. Two of her initiatives were the annual Brownie Christmas Pageant and the Sleigh-pulling at Country Club Mall. Brown Owl, Trainer, Quartermaster and mentor were titles she loved. Even though her health was failing, she continued to carry on in true Guiding spirit. A founding member of the twenty-year old Last Bastion Trefoil Guild, she loved creating games and activities for their annual luncheon and was recently awarded the BC Appreciation Pin, to add to her numerous Guiding awards, such as Honourary Life Member.
In her younger years she was involved in the United Church Evening Circle. She was a “Firebell” in a 10-in bowling league, too. In her later years, she joined the Wellington LeisureTimers. She quickly learned all she could about carpet bowling. She because Secretary-Treasurer and incorporated many traditions there. In the past few years she became President and did an excellent job. A Memorial Service will be held at the Wellington Hall on Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm. If desired, contributions can be made in her name to The Last Bastion Trefoil Guild Bursary, Girl Guides of Canada c/o Kathy Brown at 2176 Michigan Way, Nanaimo, BC V9R 6S1.
Always a strong, valiant mother, a vibrant, talented bowler and a creative, spirited Guider whose passion for life touched all who knew her and she will be sorely missed.
Too-wit, too-wit, too-woo Brown Owl.