She was an unsung hero of a volunteer, a wonderful friend – someone you could just depend on. Last Thursday, Peachland lost one of its gems. Marjory Gove passed away, and earlier this week, I met with Janet Drinnan, Betsy Robinson, Jean Haugland and Ben Oltmanns, who popped into our coffee date at Bliss.
“Marjory was an incredibly bright woman,” says Janet. Remember the Bargain Bin turned 25 a few weeks ago? It was Janet and Jean who invited me to meet the rest of the Bin ladies for a story – and Marjory was there. And just like Janet and Jean describe, Marjory was the quiet one. But when she spoke, everyone stopped their chatter.
“We’d all be talking away,” says Janet.
“And Marjory would just say one sentence and we would all go ‘oh, that’s it!’”
Still waters run deep, she adds, and that also describes Marjory.
“She would sit there, analyze the whole thing, and come out with an insightful line.”
Her death came as a shock to many – she was having some heart trouble, but Janet said she was talking to a friend on the phone that afternoon. She passed away later that night.
“They had a lovely conversation,” she says.
On Friday, several people volunteered to cover Marjory’s regular Bargain Bin shift.
Jean Haugland worked many Saturdays with Marjory. And whether she was phoning volunteers, planning a special event – even redesigning the Bargain Bin space after that 2017 flood – Marjory always seemed to know which volunteers were best for the job, how everyone was doing, and what was going on in their lives.
“She really noticed people,” says Jean.
“She worked quietly in the background, and she did an immense amount of work.”
Back in 2013, Marjory was recognized with the District’s Excellent in Volunteering Award for her years of service at the Peachland Wellness Centre, the Bargain Bin and the United Church.
That’s where Betsy Robinson got to know her.
“She was one of the first people I met – we had just moved here. When I first went to the church, I didn’t quite know where to sit. I decided to sit behind her and Marjory turned around to say hello and that’s how I got to meet her.”
Marjory, who once worked as a care aide, took care of Betsy’s husband, who had dementia in his later years.
The ladies (and Ben) believe Marjory had been a Peachland resident since the 1960s. She leaves behind her brother, Al.
She’s the type of person whose impact will be noticed for years to come.
“People will realize over time, because we’ll be saying ‘Oh, Marjory did that.’ You realize not just the person you care about is gone, but all the little things she did,” says Janet.
She was a woman who had friends everywhere, I’m told. From her PWC days to the church and weekly coffee meets she had with Ben and Betsy, Marjory will certainly be missed.
As I get ready to leave Bliss (kids are getting home from school soon), Jean sums it up, simply:
“I think it’s very true that we’re all going to really, really miss her.”
A memorial service will be held at the Peachland United Church on Saturday March 19 at 10:30 a.m.