Kathrine Alice MacRae née Holt, aged 68, died peacefully on October 27th, 2017 at the Cottage Hospice in Vancouver, after a brief battle with a very aggressive pancreatic cancer. At the time she passed, she was with her husband, her children, their partners and her cousin and best friend Heather MacKay with husband Jake Locke, and surrounded by the love and positivity of her extended family. She is survived by her husband of 39 years, Gordon Bruce MacRae; her daughter Meghan MacRae (Sean Reveron); her daughter Shonagh MacRae (Omar Amroussy); her son John MacRae (Jerie Santana); her granddaughters Jahmekya, Sinead and Jasper; her grandson Taiyou; Shonagh and Omar’s first child, due April 2018; her brother John Holt (Debbie Bolton); and her niece Sarah Cornell (John Cornell) and their sons, Matthew and Andrew.
An athletic person, Kathrine played sports throughout her life. As a young woman she played baseball, grass hockey and rugby. She would later hit the slopes on annual ski trips with her family, take regular hikes around the Capilano River gorge and UBC demonstration forest, and evening walks along the Ambleside seawall. Although she resisted the game’s pull for decades, in her 50s she became a passionate golfer and served on the board of directors of the UGC Business Women at the University Golf Club. She and Gordon also traveled extensively throughout their marriage, visiting Ottawa, Scotland and Okanagan wine country in the spring and summer of this year before her diagnosis.
A teacher by vocation, Kathrine’s career in education spanned four decades in both the public and private systems, excelling in spite of serious and chronic illnesses that arose in the 1980s and 1990s. Following her undergraduate and teaching degrees from UBC, she began her career as a special education teacher at Vancouver’s Laura Secord Elementary. She returned to UBC to attain certification in counseling – training which shaped both her relationships and career in all the years that followed – before taking a position as a guidance counselor at Windsor Secondary in North Vancouver. During this time, she met and married her husband Gordon. Following her time at Windsor, she transferred to D.W. Poppy Secondary in Langley. In 1985, Kathrine had her first encounter with deadly illness, surviving a serious viral infection. Soon thereafter, she took a position at Vancouver’s Lord Byng Secondary, where she taught for most of the next two decades. In 1996, Kathrine was diagnosed with breast cancer, forcing her to take extended sick leave. She refused to let illness slow her down, however, and being a passionate life-long learner, she completed her Master of Arts in English Literature at UBC in 1997 soon after the successful treatment of her cancer. Thereafter, despite chronic illness in the form of Crohn’s disease, Kathrine returned to Lord Byng, teaching English and Literature 12. After retiring from the public system, she taught part-time at West Vancouver’s Collingwood School, before assuming the position of Head of English at Crofton House School in Vancouver. Though she retired from Crofton House in 2014, she continued to work as a Teacher on Call and individual tutor until Spring 2017. Over the course of her career, Kathrine inspired her students with her wit, her ready smile, her infectious laughter and her fierce determination to see them succeed in life.
Kathrine spent her life cultivating friendships and bringing joy to those that knew her. She strongly believed in the importance of family, and she made sure to keep her extended family close and to teach her children to value each other. As a wife and mother, she emphasized trust and communication as the foundation of steadfast love. She has left her family with many cherished memories and the strength and wisdom to carry on in her absence. Kathrine will be mourned deeply by friends and family: she has left an enduring legacy.
In lieu of flowers, the family would welcome contributions to a memorial fund to be established in Kathrine’s name to fund an annual prize for outstanding achievement in English Literature. A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, November 26th, 2017 at Bridges Restaurant. Particulars will follow.