Audrey Boyte Isaacs
February 8, 1922 – June 29, 2012
Audrey Boyte Isaacs left us June 29, 2012. In her last 21 years on Salt Spring Island, she had grown, nourished and been nourished by a wide circle of family, friends and neighbours. Her charm, wit, style and sharp intellect enriched the lives of all who knew and loved her. Having turned 90 on February 8, she said she had lived a good life with only a few “potholes” along the way. Her determination to move past the potholes remains an inspiration, as does her kindness and spirit of unending curiosity about life. People who knew Audrey felt a special connection with her.
Audrey is survived by her younger brother Bill, with wife Gwen, in Sechelt, son Pierce in Washington State, daughter Frances, with partner Laura, in Ottawa, and numerous beloved nieces, nephews and cousins. She very much enjoyed her “diva” role at the last Boyte family reunion. Many in Audrey’s wider circle considered her as their own mother, sister or grandmother, as well as friend and neighbour — especially Wendy and Jeanette and their families — and she was pleased to be so chosen.
She was born in Saskatoon in 1922 and moved to Mill Bay, B.C. with her parents and siblings Doris, John and Bill, when she was 10, a time she remembered as wonderful. Living through the Depression and the Second World War formed both her frugality and her belief in pursuing higher education where ever possible. After marriage with Frank Isaacs in 1943, her life in North Vancouver raising a family and helping with his business was a time of hard work but some ease. She enjoyed golf and curling, was good at both, and made many friends along the way.
There had been no funds for university after her senior matriculation in 1940, but Audrey took courses throughout her life, fostering her love of archaeology and languages. When her marriage ended, she found a job to support herself and obtained her Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University in 1984, taking courses at night while working full time. She was justifiably proud of her degree in Archaeology and Spanish.
Audrey was gifted in music, playing piano and singing, in drawing and painting, and in writing. She read widely throughout her life and was a Salt Spring Island writers’ group member, attending her last meeting only a few weeks before her passing.
While she had successfully fought cancer in recent years, it had returned. Audrey stayed in her home, independent as she preferred, until a week before the end. A sincere thank you to Dr. Paula Ryan, the Red Cross, the considerate and helpful Home and Community Care Nurses and Hospice Society Volunteers, and the Acute Care Nurses providing palliative care whose skill and compassion helped ease Audrey’s last days in Lady Minto Hospital. A special thanks to friends and neighbours whose generosity and kindness made Audrey’s life a joy.
While no formal service is planned, Audrey would have liked to have known that family, friends and neighbours gathered with those they cared about to celebrate her life – in her own words – “in song and laughter.”