Anna McMahon passed away on Tuesday, April 21 at the age of 93, with her family by her side.
Predeceased by her husband, Vernon, in 1995, by her parents Michael and Mary Kapuscinski, and by her brothers Nicholas, Simon, Edward and Bill, Anna lives on in the hearts of her children Michael (Alina) and Marny (Jim), her grandchildren Cortney, Laura and James, and her sister Anita (David) Stewart, as well as many nieces and nephews across Canada and the United States.
Anna came to Canada as a toddler, and grew up in Cadamin, Alberta, where her father mined coal in the Rocky Mountains. Eager to take on the world, she studied and taught nursing at university and, as a nurse, met and married the love of her life, Vern. She returned to mountain territory, living in northern B.C. with Vern through the 1950s, before they decided to settle in Ladysmith to raise their children.
Anna embraced all things with passion: her family, friends, and garden close to her; and also the community and country she loved more broadly. As a public health nurse, she got to know many of Ladysmith’s old timers. As a miner’s daughter who benefited from a good public education, she sought to pay it forward, helping to sow the seeds for Malasapina College (now Vancouver Island University). First active politically as a Canadian nationalist with the Diefenbaker Progressive Conservatives in the 1950s, she went on to help organize successful federal election campaigns for the New Democratic Party’s Tommy Douglas and for NDP MP Jim Manly. She was a sought-after campaign manager for many a mayor in the Town of Ladysmith.
Anna reaped the rewards of her long and active life, aging in place, surrounded by people who loved her. She survived for twenty years after the painful loss of Vern, and even thrived again, because of the strong relationships she built with family and close friends, and her deep attachment to the wider communities she had helped to build and sustain.
Anna’s greatest joys were in giving and caring. “The treasures of my life have been my children Marny and Michael and my late husband Vern,” she said. And she has been the treasure of ours. We will be celebrating her life in the near future.