Velma Mae Hill of Quesnel, B.C. passed away peacefully at Dunrovin Park Lodge at the age of 89 on Sunday, February 22, 2015. She is survived by daughter Deborah Morrison, son Gregory Routledge, granddaughter Megan Morrison (Kyle McDavid), grandsons Kyle Routledge (Meghan Gallagher), David Routledge, and Nicholas Routledge and great-grandson Lachlan McDavid. Velma was predeceased by her parents Lynn and Aveline (Moffat) Hill, brother Milton Hill, and granddaughter Jamie Lynn Morrison.
Velma was born in Quesnel on December 10, 1925. Her parents were children of two of the founding families in the area, the Hills and the Moffats. Surrounded by grandparents and many aunts, uncles and cousins, Velma’s childhood was filled with family, and they became the most important thing in her life. She was a self-taught historian of the area, and shared this wealth of accumulated information with anyone who would listen. Her children and grandchildren were told the stories of the people and the place over and over again to make sure we would never forget what, and who, made the Cariboo, and in particular Quesnel, our home.
Moving from Quesnel to Vancouver in 1953, Velma lived away until 1973. Upon returning to Quesnel she worked as a volunteer for the Quesnel Historical Society, as well as the Quesnel and District Museum both on-site and as a board member. As a member of St. Ann’s Parish, Velma worked tirelessly to help build St. Ann’s school and guide it through its early years as a trustee and treasurer.
In 1977, Velma took up what was to become her most important and favorite role in life when she became a grandmother. Tireless in this capacity, she could be found picking wildflowers or berries, baking cookies, hosting pajama parties, attending school events and field trips, taking grandchildren to Barkerville and Wells, or down to Deep Creek for a summer swim. We all learned to count by learning to play cribbage and there was always a jar of coins in Grannie’s cupboard to keep our winnings in. She had a gift for rocking colicky babies and settling teethers with an lullaby of her era, but most often “A Irish Lullaby”. Mom/Grannie was a creative force when it came to making costumes for Billy Barker Days, decorating for the holidays, or making up stories about fairies and leprechauns. Equally important to her was our schooling. “Have you done your homework?” was her most frequent question and she never failed to encourage us or commend our achievements. Her love for all of us was unconditional. Even in these last few years as her memory of day to day events failed her, she was still able to talk about “the old days” whether it was a basketball game with a cousin in Wells, dances at the Kersley Hall, or who won the tug-of-war at a Moffat reunion at Alexandria.
Your stories will be missed almost as much as you, Mom.
Special thanks to the caring and compassionate staff of Dunrovin, and to the caregivers at Wildwood. In lieu of flowers a donation to a charity of your choice in Velma’s name would be greatly appreciated.