Mary Frances Willamina (Billie) Gardiner
Jan. 8, 1917 to March 15, 2009
Our beloved Mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother Billie passed away peacefully at the Bulkley Lodge on Sunday, March 15, 2009 with family at her side.
Billie was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1917. When she was a teenager, her family relocated to Vancouver, B.C. where she met Lefty Gardiner. They were married in 1933 and had two children Donna and William (Butch). Billie and Lefty spent many years guiding in the hills and mountains surrounding the Bulkley Valley. Billie was a well-known local artist and was inspired to paint by the beauty she saw in nature. For over 30 years, Billie and Lefty spent their winters in Mexico where they were well known by the locals for their generosity and kindness. Many of Billie’s paintings were also inspired by her time spent in Mexico as the culture and language became a significant part of their lives.
Billie and Lefty pioneered McDonell Lake, building a cabin and using the location as a home for troubled children (correctional home), a base camp for hunting, a boys camp, a place of refuge for exhausted people and even a dry out centre for the odd alcoholic. In 1968, they sold McDonell Lake and began to develop Willow Lake.
Billie and Lefty were married for over 60 years and were separated only by Lefty’s passing in 1995.
Billie was predeceased by her son William John (Butch) Gardiner in 1951, her grandson John Palmer in 1987, and her husband Lefty Gardiner in 1995.
She will be sadly missed by: Donna Palmer-daughter, Casey Moore-adopted son (Clara), grandchildren Pat Duncan (Tom), Cindy Palmer, Laurie Palmer (Vern), Peggy Toner (Kieran), Giah Labonte (JP), Keenan Moore, as well as many great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.
Friends are invited to join a Celebration of Life for Billie Gardiner at 2:00 p.m. on April 9, 2009 at The Old Church on First Ave.
Deep in our hearts you’ll always stay, loved and remembered every day.