Family, friends and members of the Semiahmoo Peninsula’s volunteer community are mourning the loss of longtime community advocate Muriel Frances Dove.
The 97-year-old White Rock great-grandmother passed away July 31, leaving behind a legacy of tireless volunteer work that spanned decades.
Born in Lillooet, B.C., Dove (née Phair) moved to Vancouver where she lived for 50 years, raising her daughter Carol Anne Gillespie, and her sons Bill and Pat.
It was through her children that Dove first began her volunteering career, logging hours with the Girl Guides and the Vancouver Olympic Club.
After her husband, Bill, received a diagnosis of emphysema in 1997, Dove became involved with the BC Lung Association, working tirelessly to help others in the same situation.
“She would leave before 8 a.m., and get there to put the coffee on, and would come back to take care of my dad at 3 p.m. She did that for a number of years,” Gillespie said. “She always put everyone else first. She was always helping everyone else.”
After Bill passed away in 2004, Dove continued her work, with her impressive resume – which included work in the Downtown Eastside and the Crisis Hotline – growing even longer when she moved to White Rock 15 years ago, where she began working with the White Rock/South Surrey Stroke Recovery Club.
“She suffered two small strokes and one day, she was on the HandyDart bus with some members of the club and thought it would be a good place to volunteer,” Gillespie recalled.
She continued to work with the club for 12 years, right up to her final days, Gillespie noted.
“She was still working there and the (Peace Arch Hospital) right up until she went to the hospital,” Gillespie said. “Even when she was at the hospital, and I would take her out to see outside, I remember her saying, ‘Carol Anne, go ask the head of the hospital if I can lie here and collect money for the hospital.’
“That’s the kind of person she was.”
Over her years working with the stroke recovery club, Dove raised thousands for the annual Run for Recovery, Gillespie said, noting her mother often placed collection jars with HandyDart drivers in order to collect pennies.
“She worked for years. It was a very important cause to her.”
Amongst Dove’s most memorable experiences was receiving the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal last year.
“She was on top of the moon. Even two days before she passed away, she was still talking about it,” Gillespie said. “Her motto came from my grandpa, who always said, ‘if you think of others you won’t think of your own problems.’
“So, that’s what she did.”