By Joshua Estabrooks
Longtime valley resident, dedicated mother, grandmother, and driving force behind the Valley Fitness Centre, Georgina DuBois, has lost her battle with brain cancer, passing away on October 31st at the Invermere and District Hospital. She was 69 years old.
Georgina moved to the valley from Maidstone, Saskatchewan in 1951 when she was nine. Her family purchased a farm in Windermere, and in 1957 established the Shadybrook Campground on the property, which is currently being run by her son, Michael.
She graduated from David Thompson Secondary School and received a teaching degree from the University of British Columbia in the early 1960s. Georgina met her future husband, Bill, in the Columbia Valley, and they solidified their relationship while attending university.
She then taught in the Lower Mainland and Kamloops before moving back to the valley full time in 1970, when she and Bill purchased Shadybrook from her parents. She continued to teach elementary school in both Windermere and Invermere, and then worked as the manager of the Valley Fitness Centre from 1987-1992.
During her time at the fitness centre, Georgina was the driving force behind saving the struggling enterprise, guiding it through the process of becoming a non-profit society and even loaning the society money to help secure the building.
Simply put, without Georgina’s tireless commitment the Valley Fitness Centre would not be here, said Helen Breau, who currently manages the Centre.
“Georgina also served on the board of directors, was president of the society for 15 years, and volunteered countless hours of her time towards the improvement and success of the centre. Her familiar face in the classes, amazing sense of spirit and vitality will be missed very much.”
Georgina was dedicated to her family, and encouraged them to live an active, healthy lifestyle. She had a large garden that she would tend tirelessly, recalled Michael, and she spent as much time travelling the world as she could.
“She has easily been to more than 25 countries,” he said. “You name a place and she’s been there twice. She lived a remarkable life.”
Together, Bill and Georgina had three sons, who, in turn, provided her with six grandchildren. She was in her glory with her grandchildren, said Michael, and was overjoyed to spend time with them any chance she could get.
With her extensive work throughout the community, the organizations and initiatives that benefitted from Georgina’s energy are too plentiful to list. She was actively involved in minor hockey, cub scouts, the Windermere Community Association, bridge club and was a seasons pass holder and ski friend at Panorama for 40 years.
What friends and family will remember most is Georgina’s positive energy and great sense of humour and the lasting legacy she has left for the Columbia Valley.