Rudy Buttingnol

TALK’s free lecture features Knowledge Network CEO

Rudy Buttingnol will be this year’s host of Compelling Conversations

Winifred Searle would have been delighted that Knowledge Network CEO Rudy Buttingnol will be this year’s host of Compelling Conversations, TALK’s annual lecture series.

Searle, a late South Surrey resident and regular attendee at Third Age Leaning at Kwantlen courses, made an endowment enabling TALK to offer the free annual speaker series and she and her husband Fred were also avid supporters of BC’s Knowledge Network.

Compelling Conversations is a virtual event scheduled for Tuesday, March 9 at 7 p.m. Buttingnol will speak on Television: The Future Isn’t What It Used to Be.

Although just a few days shy of 92 when she died suddenly in 2016, Searle remained active, capable and involved in the community.

“She walked up and down hill to Kwomais Park every day but she wouldn’t let any of us walk with her, she said we were too slow,” recalled neighbour Joanne Cunningham.

She was participating in an exercise in White Rock when she lost her balance, fell against a concrete pillar and suffered a fatal head injury.

Ninety per cent of her estate went to charities, including generous bequests to Knowledge Network and the Brain Research Centre at UBC.

Born in England, Searle was an intrepid and independent woman all her life, working with a travelling judge in New Zealand before emigrating to Canada.

“That was in the ’50s when young women didn’t go travelling on their own,” noted friend Sheenagh Brooks.

After moving to Vancouver, Searle worked as an executive secretary at UBC medical school and then at the Canadian Cancer Society.

She met Fred Searle, a widower, at the North Shore Hikers and they married in 1980 when she was in her 50s and he in his 60s. The active couple were members of The Golden Agers Vancouver Historical Society and enjoyed many long wilderness treks and camping trips over the years.

They became interested in moving to White Rock — but not until Fred, then in his 70s, had determined the wind and tides of Semiahmoo Bay.

“Fred wanted to make sure the winds were good for his windsurfing. He didn’t want to come if the winds weren’t good,” said friend Kay Pennant. “He surfed into his 90s.”

The Searles were members of the Unitarian Church in Vancouver and became founding members of South Fraser Unitarian Church in White Rock/South Surrey.

Tuesday’s conversation will be held on Zoom.

Attendance is free, but registration is required in order to receive the link. For more information, go to