The Canadian College of Performing Arts honours the following long term supporters of the College who recently passed away. They are our “CCPA Angels” and their legacy of supporting talented young performers will live on.
Dorothy Hazel Gray (Phillips) was born in Stellerton, Nova Scotia to the late William James Phillips and Rose (Smallacombe) Phillips on April 6, 1919. She is survived by her son, Allan R. Gray (Donna Hunter) of Campbell River, BC; her daughter, Norma Jean DeWolfe (Mark) of Victoria, BC; deceased son, Robert Irving Gray (Penny) of Windsor, Ontario; 5 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her loving husband, Harry of 71 years. Dorothy was always involved in some sort of community association, business organization or project campaign. In 2002 she was honoured with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for over 60 years of service raising funds for the Canadian Cancer Society, known locally as the “Daffodil Lady”. In 1995 was awarded Volunteer of the Year for Juan de Fuca, BC. She received the Paul Lutzeier Memorial Award for her organization of the Windsor/Detroit International Freedom Festival in 1988. The Golden Heart Award from Air Canada, Ford Motor Co. Community Service Award, Windsor, Ont. She was the 1st president of Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary. Among the many others were IODE, March of Dimes, VON. She was a patron of The Canadian College of Performing Arts Victoria, the Dorothy Gray Foundation and A Day of Bridge and The C.H.I.L.D. Fund Foundation Bridge for Children.
Nikki (Ruth Margaret) MacKenzie (nee Nicholson) of Saanichton, BC, passed away peacefully on May 18th, 2016. Nikki is survived by her husband of 67 years, Bruce MacKenzie, as well as their four children; Ross (Lea) MacKenzie, Jan (Dave) McAmmond, Ian (Beth) MacKenzie, and Garth (Sue) MacKenzie. Nikki is also survived by her eleven grandchildren; Nicole (Craig), Robb (Galina), Matthew, Heather (Justin), Ryan, Shannon (Brian), Aaron, Kaytlyn (Matt), Daniel, Jake, and Chase; and by her six great-grandchildren, Kayla, Nicolas, David, Eric, Grace and Isla. Nikki grew up in Luseland, Saskatchewan. Upon completing grade school, Nikki entered nursing at the University of Alberta and joined a public health team in Lethbridge, Alberta when she graduated. While at university she met her future husband, Bruce MacKenzie, of Stettler, Alberta. After their marriage they established a dental practice in Edmonton and set to raising four children. They remained there until 1975, at which time they moved to set up a new paediatric practice in Victoria, B.C. Upon retirement they moved to the Saanich Peninsula where they took to raising prize squash, holly, and twisted willows on their acreage.
Throughout their married life Nikki and Bruce were also enthusiastic supporters of theatre, taking in many a show and supporting Victoria’s Belfry Theatre and the Canadian College for the Performing Arts. They also supported and encouraged the exploits of their children and grandchildren, taking great delight in their endeavors. Nikki’s grandson Matthew describes her in this way: “Nikki made you feel that what you did was worthwhile. She focused forward, on the positive, and encouraged others to do so. She gave support whenever things got dark, but wouldn’t dwell on the darkness. Blessedly eccentric, single minded, the furthest thing from boring – she was a no nonsense cowgirl who always shot from the hip, no matter the company or context. She had more personality in her pinky than most people have in their entirety. She shone bright in every storm – she shone bright even in the sunshine. Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, force and friend of Nature. A singular being, a true Prairie Lily – Nikki MacKenzie.”
Rodney Heaney Trevor Taylor was born on August 21, 1926 in Victoria, and passed peacefully on March 15, 2017 in West Vancouver at the age of 90 after a short illness. Trevor is survived by his five children, Wendy (Bob Sinclair), Rod (Penny Anderson), Randall, Les (Tomoko Miyahara) and Dean (Jamie Reber) and his three grandchildren, Nathan (Vicki), Travis (Noriko) and Noah in Tokyo. A native of Victoria, Trevor valued his deep maternal roots there and recently enjoyed researching his father’s history as a radio engineer with the Marconi Company who while working on both east and west coasts was notably involved in installation of the coasts’ first radio stations. Trevor was an avid sportsman. As a golfer, fisherman, racquet sportsman and bon vivant, he enjoyed life to its fullest. A recent member of both the Union Club and Uplands Golf Club, he enjoyed good company, golf, snooker and a bit of scotch. His post high school years included Craigdarroch Castle and UBC, graduating with a B.Comm in 1948. Following several years with Coca-Cola and Standard Oil he established T. Taylor Consultants Ltd. (A.A.C.I 1963), from which he retired in 1984. Whilst living in Vancouver and on Salt Spring Island he loved fishing, crabbing, swimming, golfing and…scotch. He returned to Victoria for his last years. Active in his community wherever he lived, Trevor loved travelling and exploring family tree connections around the world. A keen supporter of the arts in Victoria, his love and support of the Canadian College of Performing Arts and Dance Victoria was recognized and appreciated.
Betty Wilkinson (nee Green) was born in 1 Ashton-Under-Lyne, Lancashire, England, December 26, 1926, moving to Dukinfield, Cheshire when she was seven. She won a scholarship to the Grammar School, Hyde, Cheshire which she attended until June 1943. She had a good singing voice and sang in the choir at Old Chapel , Dukinfield, as well as singing as a soloist in many concerts in England as well as Toronto, Ontario. Married to her husband Peter in 1950, they emigrated from Liverpool England to Canada in November 1954. Later she worked in the Toronto office of the Factory Mutual Division of U.S. Steel Corporation until the birth of their son, Peter Junior, April, 1961. She stayed home with her son until he started school at the Toronto French School, when he was six. Betty administered the Mississauga Branch of the Toronto French School until the family returned briefly to England due to the ill health of Peter Senior’s father. On their return to Canada they chose to settle in Calgary, Alberta and whilst there visited Victoria, B.C. and liked it so much that they bought a home there on Dingley Dell for their future retirement and short vacations in the meantime. They moved to Victoria permanently and lived at 1009 McKenzie Avenue where Peter died in 1994 and tragically young Peter died just 2 years later in 1996. Betty continued to live in the condominium and carried on her work ethos, putting her son’s and husband’s demise behind her but not out of her memories. She went to work for Rogers’ Chocolates becoming well known when she conducted tours of their plant built on Commerce Circle, retiring permanently from her full time job but continuing with the tours for some time longer. Betty’s primary passion in life was the performing arts – dance, music, and theatre. She was actively involved at the beginning of Kaleidoscope Theatre and the Canadian College of Performing Arts. Betty also volunteered at Pacific Opera and was a Past President of DanceWorks. She moved into a retirement home in 2010 where she remained until her death. Betty always did her best to live a good Christian life and always gave thanks for the many friends who helped to sustain her in her later life. Betty never lost her Englishness and remains forever loved in her family’s memories.