Doris M. RITCHIE (nee Fielder, formerly Sewell)

Ritchie, Doris M. (nee Fielder, formerly Sewell)

Sept. 10, 1922 – June 10, 2011

It is with sadness we announce the passing of our Mom and Nana on Friday, June 10th at home in Campbell River. She was pain free and at peace, listening to the birds singing outside her window.

Born in Lloydminster Saskatchewan, Doris lived in many small communities as her father worked in various Northwest Mounted Police, later RCMP, detachments. Doris graduated at the top of her class in North Battleford. After a false start in banking, Doris went to secretarial school in Saskatoon and discovered her flair for shorthand.

Following her parents and brother to Victoria in 1945, Doris worked for various federal and provincial agencies, settling at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. She married Ernest Howard Lyle Sewell, of Victoria, in June 1952; and helped build their house in Langford. The Sewells relocated to Vancouver in 1958 and to Campbell River in 1959. Doris was then the only qualified Court Reporter north of Nanaimo. Widowed at 41, with 3 small children to support, Doris became Director of the School District No. 72 Night School Program in 1966 and an early advocate of life-long learning. She married her soul mate Lorne Ernest Ritchie, in August 1967.

Doris and Lorne played tennis, skied at Forbidden Plateau, hiked extensively in Strathcona Park, and shared a passion for art. They began sea kayaking in their 70’s, and tried to finish the Colonist’s cryptic crossword by 11am. Always optimistic, Doris could convince anyone the sun was going to shine any minute. She always said “yes” to opportunities to travel or attend a painting workshop; all these experiences brought adventure and richness to her life.

Doris was a lifelong volunteer, a force behind classical music performances and summer art workshops in Campbell River from 1967 to 1992. She worked tirelessly to establish and operate the Campbell River Art Gallery. She taught the beauty of watercolours through her classes at the Gallery and Elderhostel.

Doris will be missed and remembered by her daughters Gwendolyn Sewell (Michael Long) of Kitimat BC, and Jean Cruickshank (Dave) of Port Alberni BC; her son Roger Sewell of Campbell River BC; her grandchildren Flora and Heather Cruickshank and Jesse Sewell; her mah jong partners; her watercolour students; and her many friends in Campbell River and the arts community, and the congregation of St Peter’s Anglican.

A celebration of life will be held at St Peter’s Anglican Church in Campbell River this Friday, June 17th at 1:00pm. In lieu of flowers please donate to the Campbell River Art Gallery; the SPCA or your charity of choice, and please cheer for Roger Federer during Wimbledon 2011.