Freeman of the Town of Lake Cowichan
Our mother, Hazel Beech, a longtime area resident who served her community for decades, died at Cowichan District Hospital on February 13, 2013. The only daughter and youngest of four children, she was born in West Vancouver, BC to Frank and Margaret Hall (he a brash American, she a shy English lady). She was raised in the city until her parents moved their family to Youbou (then Lake Cowichan) in 1940. She and her brother Harry both graduated from Lake Cowichan Superior School (as it was called at the time).
Her parents and brothers Harvey and Harold Hall; her first husband Ross Elves, the father of her children and her second husband Art Beech predeceased her.
She is survived by her loving family; daughters Rolli (Jack) Gunderson, Toni (Reg) Davis; sons Rocky Elves and Rik (Launie) Elves. Her many grandchildren and their children will miss their Doods (as she was affectionately known to her family). They include her only grandson Jack (Michelle) Gunderson Jr.; granddaughters Michelle Davis (Trent Weir), Heidi Jossy, Jaci (Glen) Caloren, Amanda (Casey) Graw, Jordan and Justine Elves, Jenny, Tracey and Tanya; great grandchildren Chelsea Gunderson, Alycia and Ryder Caloren, Jenae Weir, Rylan Jossy, Arlo and Veda Hazel Graw, Dyllan and Grace. She is also survived by her stepson Stan (Donna) Beech and family, her brother and sister-in-law Harry and Stella Hall of Vancouver, her Beech in-laws, many nieces, nephews, friends and colleagues (of all ages).
Mom wasted no time and lived every minute of her life to the fullest for as long as she could (and then some). She was strong, determined, fair, tenacious, warm hearted, kind, intelligent and cared deeply for her family, friends, community, country and our world. In addition and as one close friend put it, “she never suffered fools (or shysters) gladly”. She was also a closet philanthropist who supported many causes large and small both near and far. Mom had many interests including travel (22 trips to Cuba), politics and most notably community service and civic duty. Politics was the name of the game to mom.
She was an accomplished artist, author, writer and poet and had a sharp understanding of business. Over the years she owned and operated several businesses including Elves Enterprise merchandise, a bike shop and the Mesachie store and post office. She also owned racehorses (raced at Vancouver’s Exhibition Park, Long Acre Race Track in Washington; and San Mateo, CA.) operated a property management business and worked as a carnival agent and promoter. Her one and only apartment building, The Pillars in Burnaby, was another of her many and varied ventures.
She served eleven years on Lake Cowichan town council (the second woman ever to be elected to that position) and several years as Area F director on the Cowichan Valley Regional District board. She served on many other boards and organizations including eleven years on the Lake Cowichan Advisory Commission, Lake Cowichan Board of Variance, a founding member of the Lake Cowichan Ratepayers Association and more recently the Cowichan Lake River Stewardship Society, to name a few. She loved local history and was a long time member of the Kaatza Historical Society and the Council of Canadians. Mom was the first woman to hold the position of president of the Cowichan Lake Chamber of Commerce as well as the first woman to be honoured by the Town of Lake Cowichan with the title Freeman of the Town.
The family would like to thank mom’s long time doctor, Dr. Ann Thompson, the wonderful nurses, 2nd floor, Cowichan District Hospital and Janet at Village Pharmacy in Lake Cowichan.
“The life given by nature is short;
but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal”
There will be no public memorial. Should you so choose, a donation in memory of Hazel can be made to the Lake Cowichan Kaatza Station
Museum, the Canadian Cancer Society, Main 101-1537 Hillside Ave.,
Victoria, B.C.,V8T 4Y2 or a charity of your choice.