On May 25, 2021, Juanita Halsall died in her sleep at Sechelt Hospital in Sechelt, B.C. She was 91 years of age.
Juanita, or Nita as she liked to be called, was born April 8, 1930, on a hardscrabble homestead in Alberta’s Peace River country. Seven years later, she moved with her parents, Elmer and Pearl Harrison, and her five brothers and sisters to the town of Peace River, where Nita went to school.
Nita met Harry Halsall while the two were working in Fort Nelson, B.C. Harry was smitten, asking Nita to marry him on their third date, and the two were wed for 52 years before Harry’s passing in 2006. Along the way, they raised three boys, Tom, Mark and James, while living in Surrey, B.C., Kingston, Ont. and Ladner, B.C.
Nita and Harry built their retirement home themselves on a mountainside in Tuwanek, just north of Sechelt, in the early 1980s. They spent two happy decades living there (much of the time in their favourite place, the hot tub) and often hosted friends and family.
Loyal, kind, and down to earth, Nita was someone who smiled a lot and never complained. She was also very social; Nita had a real knack for engaging conversation and could always be counted on for a witty remark. She loved to poke fun and when it came to teasing, she gave as good as she got. She was also fiercely competitive, especially when it came to the game Boggle.
Nita loved spending time outdoors gardening, and she had a literary bent, writing occasionally and reading constantly. During her time on the Sunshine Coast, she became a champion for the Sechelt Public Library as a long-time volunteer, staff member and ultimately library board treasurer. Nita was instrumental in the library’s transformation from a tiny operation that ran on a shoestring to the bustling hub it’s become in downtown Sechelt, and she considered this one of her proudest achievements.
Nita adored her whole family and treasured the time she spent with them. In the last year or so, she became especially animated when she could see and talk to her out-of-province grandchildren on social media.
Nita is survived by: her brother Dick; her sister Barbara and husband Al; son Tom and partner Doug; son Mark and wife Angela and their children, Graeme and Claire; son James and wife Theresa and their children, Brennan, Elly and Neve; and many nieces and nephews. Nita was preceded in death by her husband Harry as well as her sister Yvonne and two brothers, Albert and Brian.
A special thanks to the staff at Christensen Village (especially Anne-Marie Fallis) in Gibson’s B.C. where Nita spent the last few years of her life, as well as her caring doctor, Dr. Corrie Belgraver.
Donations in Nita’s memory can be made to the Sechelt Public Library at www.sechelt.bc.libraries.coop/discover/donations.