Rosa Havard (nee Holmes)
November 21st, 1918 – February 6th, 2013
Born in Barry, Wales, Rosa was the second youngest of eight children. After finishing high school, she continued on to Oxford Teacher’s College, obtaining her Teacher’s Diploma, majoring in Phys Ed and English Lit. She taught for a short while at a girl’s school in Wales, but when the Second World War began, she enlisted in the British Women’s Core of the Royal Armed Forces, eventually rising to Junior Commander (Captain). She first worked at ‘Signals Headquarters’ as a telephone switchboard operator with her best friend. During the war, she married Frank Wells who died while still in the Armed Forces. Rosa’s sister, Mabel, lost her husband shortly after moving to Smithers, where their ‘Price’ cousins lived. Rosa joined Mabel in Smithers shortly thereafter in 1952, to help Mabel raise her infant son, and then acquired a job teaching at Smithers Elementary School.
Rosa soon met David Havard at a Legion dance, and they were married on December 21st (winter solstice), in 1953, with Rosa looking very striking in a deep red suit. At first, they lived in a very small cabin near Gelley Road, along the edge of Lake Kathlyn, where David had been living the bachelor life. Shortly thereafter, they bought a quarter section on Newens Road, and built a small home overlooking Canyon Creek, which they intended to turn into the ‘chicken house’ when they could afford something bigger & better. In 1953 Rosa gave birth to twins Eric and Anne. Eighteen months later, Thomas was born, and then in 1959 Megan came along. With all the babies, and David often out of town for work, Rosa had many sets of cloth diapers to keep clean and often had to resort to melting snow or hauling water on a toboggan from the creek. With time and energy at a premium the ‘chicken house’ was added onto, and became the family home.
In 1965, David took a job as the editor of an agricultural magazine in Winnipeg and the whole family was moved to the windy prairie city, but kept the homestead in Smithers. The job (and city life) was not to David or Rosa’s liking, so after a year in Winnipeg, David applied for and got a job in Quesnel, once again as a Land Inspector. After a year in Quesnel, a position as District Agriculturalist came up in Smithers, and the whole family moved back to their beloved home at the end of Newens Road.
With the children all in school, David and Rosa switched roles, with David taking over household duties and becoming the gardener extraordinaire, while Rosa returned to work full time. Rosa loved teaching, and continued to teach up until 1979, mostly at Muheim when she retired early at the age of 60.
Rosa was always very active in the community, being a major force in the establishment of the tennis courts, then the swimming pool, as well as volunteering at the library, the Fall Fair, and ‘New To You’. Rosa really enjoyed the camaraderie of volunteering until very recently.
Rosa was multi-talented. A superb athlete who excelled in grass hockey, swimming, and baseball, and kept fit swimming in the Bulkey Valley Pool, going regularly to senior’s aquasize classes until her late 80’s. She was an avid gardener and an amazingly efficient berry picker. Ever thrifty and practical, Rosa was recycling long before it was popular. Also very artistic, she created beautiful and unique flower arrangements, and was a master knitter and rug-hooker, often making her own designs with wonderful color sense. She also loved to create elaborate costumes for her children when they were young for all the parades and festivals in town including the Fall Fair and ‘May Day’ parades and the ‘Winter Carnival’. Rosa was also a great cook and baker, bringing family and friends together regularly with wonderful holiday meals, and was famous in the valley for her delicious ‘Welsh Cakes’.
Rosa had a very generous heart, and was a great champion of human rights, contributing to many causes, and was an outspoken pacifist. Her family will fondly remember a few of her charming British ‘quirks’, such as David bringing her a ‘good cup of tea’ in bed before she got up every morning (which he willingly did), and her abhorrence of ‘bad grammar’.
Rosa was predeceased by her seven siblings, and is survived by her beloved husband, David and children, Eric (Debbra), Anne, Thomas (Phyllis) and Megan; grandchildren Erika, Erin (Lucas), Dandi (Axl), Suzanne (Andrew), Errol (Aviva), Kutter, Magan and Sean.
Rosa wished us to express her gratitude for the excellent and warm care she received from Dr. Scholtz over the years and the staff at the Bulkley Valley District Hospital. A memorial will be held at a later date, probably in the spring. In lieu of flowers, we invite you to make donations to either the New To You or the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Rosa’s honor.