By Marion Boyd
Friends and family gathered under the trees at the home of Ernie and Cheryl Dumais to celebrate the life of Susan McCullough on August 13.
Susan was born May 31, 1946 in Calgary, grew up in Victoria and died September 14, 2016. She moved to Oliver in 1968 as part of a group of young couples drawn to the area because the local school board offered increments on the pay scale for well qualified new teachers. Most planned to stay a year. Many stayed a lifetime, remaining friends and raising their children here. Some of those children, now grown, came to support Susan’s son, Jarod (Sean) McCullough and to recall the escapades and freedom of kids growing up part of a community where parents were friends, kids ran free from house to house, and adventures in Tucelnuit Lake and on Mt. Baldy created a strong sense of belonging.
Peter Busink and Sebastian Nicholas both spoke about the warmth of small town life where everyone knew everyone. Teachers, doctors, orchardists, dentists were also family friends and shared in everyday life.
The celebration of Susan’s life was spearheaded by her stalwart friend, Judy Nicholas who passed away very recently but knew her friends, Cheryl Dumais and Larraine McCarthy were carrying out her plan to honour Susan.
Susan was known for her kindness, her poise, her abiding interest and involvement in medical and social justice advocacy and her love of animals. She was a woman of many talents. Initially a dental assistant, she later trained as a health records administator. She taught figure skating, took part in equestrian events, became certified as a mental health worker, worked tirelessly for victim’s assistance and brain injury support groups. She played piano and was a past president of the South Okanagan Concert Society.
Life dealt Susan some very hard blows but her resilience was remarkable and her efforts on behalf of others never ceased.