September 15, 1933 – November 6, 2020
Reia was born in Trinidad being the 3rd eldest of 13 siblings. She worked hard on the family’s Cocoa and Coffee farm which was located in the Rainforest. Learning and growing many varieties of bananas, citrus, avocados and tropical root vegetables helped provide sustainability for the farm and family.
As a young lady, Reia was offered a Scholarship to the prestigious Naparima Girls School, however due to the traditional attitudes towards women, Reia’s father refused her permission to attend.
In 1955 Reia married Robert and ran a busy café located beside a railway junction, while juggling three children. During this time Robert worked away.
In 1965, the family immigrated to the camp community of Benson Lake, near Port McNeil. The family arrived from a hot tropical island to subzero temperatures and 4″ of snow!
Robert worked for Cominco Mines while Reia managed the household where she enjoyed learning about other cultures and trying their recipes. She became accustomed to the narrow logging roads between Campbell River and Benson Lake, wildlife, winters with 5′ of snow, and shoveling off the roof.
In 1969 the family moved to Nanaimo where Reia continued her education and became a well-known hair dresser, managing her own beauty salon for many years and creating lifelong friendships.
Most of Reia’s time outside of the beauty salon was spent in her fantastic garden which contained enough vegetables and flowers to feed the neighborhood as well as her customers.
Always learning, Reia delighted in sharing her new found knowledge. She had a profound love of music and sang in two choirs, Malaspina Choir and Brechin United Choir. She loved many genres of music from Soca to Classical. Put on some Bob Marley and Reia would get up and dance.
Reia adored children, pets, and the daily visits from her precious hummingbirds whose spirit she very much embodied with her grace and gentleness.
Family and friends were extremely important to her, she always put others first and had a kind word for everyone.
Reia always had a sense of pride in who she was and where she came from. It is clear that she has touched and inspired so many with her kindness, caring, thoughtfulness, and encouragement. An amazing mother she was and a true matriarch who has left a lasting legacy. She is deeply missed by all.
Left to remember Reia are her children Bernard, Alvin and Dianne, her grandchildren Liam and Austin, as well as many siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Many thanks to all friends and family for their support during this difficult time. We would also like to thank the staff at NRGH who treated Mom with compassion and dignity.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation to a charity of your choice.
Due to Covid, a Celebration of Life will be held in the spring.
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