Born June 18, 1943
in Victoria, BC
December 17, 2003
In Victoria, BC at the age of 60. After surviving almost 20 years after having an allergic reaction to a drug in the anesthetic for an operation in 1984, Roberta passed away from an acute case of liver failure. Roberta became ill on November 24th with flu-like symptoms and on December 5th was taken by ambulance to the Campbell River Hospital ICU after taking a fall due to dizziness and weakness. By December 7th, Dr. C. Mahoney had stabilized Roberta and had her sent by Air Ambulance to the ICU at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver under the care of surgeon, Dr. Grant and Dr. Fava. Roberta spent 9 days under-going numerous tests to find a cause for her illness, while receiving medical assistance and the administration of medications to keep her body functioning adequately. Apparently, she had acquired an infection that ended up in her bloodstream and had lodged itself in her liver. This quickly developed serious complications that were too much for her liver to handle. This, in turn, caused several areas of her system to work improperly and shut down. All the while, she retained her mind and sense of humour and was able to tell us a couple more times that “she loved us”.
On December 16th, Roberta went on another field trip and was transferred by Air Ambulance to the ICU at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria under the care of Dr. Meakes, where he gave it one last shot. Sadly, Roberta passed away “naturally” and “peacefully” on December 17th, 2003 at 4:30 p.m. Roberta was surrounded by all of her family (except the grandchildren), listening to her country music … laying on a soft, comfortable bed in a large, quiet room with her guardian “Buddi Angel” (that her son, Stephen and his family had got for her) watching over her.
This vivacious lady will be incredibly missed by her cat, “My Buddi”, who has since been adopted by her daughter, Jo-Dee. (Yes, we have his pictures that we could show you!) Roberta is survived by her two children: daughter and best friend Jo-Dee Schafer (Maynard) and her husband Bill Schafer (brunt of a lot of Roberta’s pranks); her granddaughter Lataisha Maynard (age 15); her grandson Cheynan Maynard (age 13) of Campbell River; Bill’s sons, Bob Schafer of Victoria and Jon Schafer of Campbell River: her son Stephen Billy Jr., his girlfriend Erin Wright and her daughter Amber Wright (age 11) of Port Hardy. Also left to remember are: her mother Gladys Merwin (89 years old) of Parksville; her sister Gloria Van Bergen and her husband Bill Van Bergen; and nephew Tony Van Bergen, his wife Rita Van Bergen and their daughters Jessica Van Bergen (age 23) and Rebecca Van Bergen (age 18) of Campbell River. Roberta was pre-deceased by her father Robert Mountain in 1977 and her other cat and house companion, L’il Ladi in early 2003.
Family support that requires a heartfelt “thank you” goes out to Denise Maynard and family, the Lambeth family, the Gagne family, the Vaughan family, the Campbell family, Hella and George Nicholls, the Ramm family, John Bailey and Sharon Henshall. Once again, special appreciation for being able to trust Danny at Sutton’s Campbell River Funeral Home to ensure the cremation and safe return of Roberta’s ashes back home to Campbell River. The ICU staff at the Campbell River Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver and Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria were absolutely outstanding in, not only caring for Roberta, but for her family as well. We also need to thank Dr. R. Sutherland for all his efforts in extending Roberta’s life for as long as he had and to Dr. C. Steyn (her replacement family doctor) for his final care of Roberta and referring her to Dr. C. Mahoney’s care so quickly. Special appreciation to Roberta’s lawyer, Gary McLelan and his secretary, Bonnie for their advice and assistance to the family in regards to Roberta’s legal affairs.
Roberta didn’t want a service or memorial, so there will be (what we’re calling) an “Open House” instead. The “Open House” will be held on January 11th, 2004 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the lounge (upstairs) of the Community Centre (401 — 11th Avenue). This room has been gratefully provided by Roberta’s employer, Family Services thanks to Camille and Janis.
Roberta would be proud to know that donations in her memory could be mailed to the Campbell River SPCA, Box 541, Campbell River, BC V9W 5T9 or dropped off at 490 Merecroft Road (Phone: 286-6131). Donations to the SPCA will also be accepted at the “Open House” on January 11th for anyone wishing to do so.
Roberta worked as Secretary Receptionist at Family Services for the past 19 years. In addition, she was a foster parent for teens for a great number of years and she recently completed her training to become a member of Citizens On Patrol (C.O.P.’S) but left us before she could report for duty. Before moving to Campbell River in 1980, she was a childcare worker in Port Alberni and while living in Sparwood, BC she was a substitute teacher and a special education assistant at Sparwood Elementary School. Roberta resided in Michel / Natal for a number of years where she lived with her husband, Stephen Billy (since divorced) and gave birth to Jo-Dee and Stephen. Her earliest childhood years were spent on James Island, BC. Her favourite memories were of Qualicum Beach, BC. She spent a lot of years growing up in Qualicum Beach, and later it became our meeting place for family picnics throughout the years. It is here that Roberta would like for her remains to be dispersed. The family is looking into having a bench or picnic table erected along the beachfront, over-looking the water at Qualicum Beach in Roberta’s memory.
This truly, wonderful lady enjoyed listening to her police scanner and country music (often both at the same time), walks on the beach, she was “her job” at Family Services and an inspirational member of the community. Roberta loved her cats, lived for her family and absolutely adored her grandchildren.
Roberta was a character and a half with a wicked sense of humour. She had the biggest heart that was over-flowing with love. Anyone that knew her has heard her say, “…but at least I still have my humour!” She could be found wearing silly hats at work to amuse the child clients. Her favourite mottos were, “*Doo-Doo* happens!” and “I don’t give a *rodent’s rectum*!” (*edited for print*). Her humour was evident from her, right to the end. Even though she had endured a number of misfortunes in her life (no fault of her own) and dealt with pain every day during the last couple of years, she still managed to remain positive and lived each day to its fullest. She is now pain-free, enjoying that tall glass of Bailey’s Irish Cream and flying with the angels, like we all knew she was. Hopefully, she is behaving herself!
The flowers, cards, phone calls and food offerings were overwhelming. No words can express how grateful we all feel to know so many wonderful people. Your caring has given us so much strength.
We are so blessed to have had such a special person in our lives and she will remain in our memories and our hearts! Oh, how we will miss her!
Love Always, and Forever
MY SOMEONE SPECIAL
There is also another “Someone Special” in my life, and that is my mother.
First of all, mom, I would like to thank you for everything that you have done and given to me. Believe me, it is very much
appreciated and I have learned from it.
You taught me well, to be proud of my morals and to stand behind them, to care and to share and to use my judgement.
You have always been there for support and to pick me up and encourage me to go on.
You saw me through my childhood, my first tooth, my first step, and my first word (along with the many, many others that
followed). You helped me through school and were there to cheer me on in my sports. You helped and watched me grow to the woman standing before you today.
I remember those years when you would do anything in your power to give us what we needed or wanted, and that often meant that you would go without. I see what you have done and I will remember these things when I have children of my own.
You have done a good job raising us, mom, and I am so glad you have shared your knowledge and your love.
THANK YOU FOR BEING MY FRIEND! YOU ARE “MY
SOMEONE SPECIAL” TOO!
I LOVE YOU!
As read by Jo-Dee Schafer
(then Maynard / nee Billy)
at her wedding in July 1987
(presenting Roberta Billy with a single, red, long stem rose)