Valerie Lavinia Thomas

August 27, 1937 ~ April 14, 2021

Valerie Lavinia Thomas was born in England on August 27, 1937 and left us on April 14th, 2021. 

After moving to Canada in 1963 and living in Ontario for 44 years, we made the move to the Yukon in 2007 to begin a new chapter with our remarkable daughter Ellen and her children.  Val loved the Yukon and felt blessed to be living here.  Recently our wonderful son David was here from Ontario during the last few weeks of her life and cooked her favourite meals and was even able to share a dance or two.  Val loved walking along the Yukon River and enjoyed family boat rides and trips to the many beautiful places surrounding us.  She loved singing in the Whitehorse Community Choir and reading her favourite writers – some old, some new, she was never without something to read.  She loved the sound of her grandchildren laughing brought on by her special sense of humour – either in person or online with the ones living further away. 

Val spent precious moments with lifelong family and friends – when Val was a friend, she was a friend for life. She knew that life was a gift and every moment on earth was a miracle.  Val understood that joy comes not through possession or ownership but through a wise and loving heart.  That’s why we have so many joyful memories of her.  She tried to create a safe place for everyone by being a trusted and loving mother, wife, grandparent and friend. Val was a humble woman and even in the midst of her fatigue and confusion towards the end, she would pause and tell us how grateful she was for all of us.  No more fatigue and confusion now Val – you are free.

 We will remember Val most for the love she had for her family and her friends.  In the end what matters most is being present with these questions – How well did you love?  How fully did you live? Val’s life answered both these questions magnificently. Rest in peace Val.

 We would like to thank the nurses and staff at the Whitehorse General Hospital and Doctors Kanachowski, Hagens and Stuart and the staff at the Wind River Hospice House as well as Karla Jennings for the wonderful care provided.  We will never forget the respect and dignity shown to Val when they provided care right until the end.

 Val leaves behind her husband Bill, daughter Ellen, son David and grandchildren Asa, Thomas, Liam, Elliot, Sophie, Kendra and Iain.  In Ontario she leaves her sister-in-law Vickie and daughters Julie and Sarah and spouses Martin and Kevin.  In England, Val leaves her loving family Haydyn, Ruth, Allan, Ali, Paul, Bernadette & Jessica and Arthur, Jim, Leslie, James, Lloyd, Owen, Emilia, Michael, Rachel, Robert, Daisy & Libby, as well as the memory of her beloved sisters Betty and Shirley.  Finally, Val leaves behind very special lifelong friends from far and wide – these friends meant so much to her.


  1. Sheilagh Hagens

    I will remember with love and be forever grateful that we were on this planet together.

    • John Gishler

      Dear Bill, Ellen, Asa, Thomas, Liam, Elliot and Sophie:
      Grandma Lucille and I just found out and are truly sorry we did not visit her the last time we were there. We enjoyed her visit to Calgary for the swim meet. We continue to Pray for each of you every day. May God bless you all in this difficult time. Love, Grandpa Gishler.

  2. Nicola

    Dear Ellen, am so sorry to hear of your moms passing. A wise and gentle soul, sparkling eyes, a kind heart.
    A tough journey for you and the kids. Sending love and hugs. Nicola

  3. Susan Cacciottolo

    Val has been in my life for 70 years, she loved us all I have several memories of her but one sticks out is when we did Miles for Millions, all of a sudden I could hear someone behind me calling my name Sue wait for me, I was so happy to see it was Val we had done more than half the route and pretty tired, so we decided to go home we spent the rest of the day together. So many wonderful memories my love to Bill , Ellen and David and family, my love always Sue xoxo

  4. Laurie (Crompton) Douglas

    So sorry for your loss. Even though Valerie and I had not communicated for several years she was in my thoughts often. Her love of family and her generosity in mentoring me all those years ago (30) at the Mills Library Interlibrary Loans will stay with me for many years to come. Bless you all and stay well.

  5. Denise Johnson

    My sincere condolences. My name is Denise Johnson and I had honour and the pleasure of working with Val at McMaster University in Mills library for many many years. This is such a beautiful tribute to her. Sounds like she never changed. Always a beautiful heart and soul. So happy to hear she was able to spend her last year’s in such beautiful surroundings with her family.

  6. Richard Overy

    So sorry to learn of Val. We first met in the early 1970s at McMaster in Hamilton Ont. and then just a very few occasions since then, lastly in Rotorua New Zealand a few years ago My thoughts and sympathies are with Bill and all the family.

  7. Joanne McCracken

    Farewell to my dear friend and travelling companion of more than half a century. Till we meet again…

  8. Kathy Elliot

    So beautifully written, Bill. I see and feel Val’s liveliness and presence when I read it. She made our community a kinder and better place. Our deepest condolences to you, Ellen, David and the kids.
    Sending our love,
    Kathy, Georg and Robin

  9. Ruth Glendennan

    My dearest Auntie Val has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and she held a very special place in my heart. As a child I would eagerly anticipate her cards and letters from Canada and there was much excitement whenever she came to England. We have spent holidays together in Canada, France and England, shared laughs and meals in Toronto, Paris and London, but I guess my trip to the Yukon and Alaska in 2008 will stand out as a particularly special memory. Surrounded by friends and family, Auntie Val was in her element – she was a great listener, had a wonderful sense of fun , was always interested in people’s stories and took time to make sure that everyone was included. I miss her terribly, but I am grateful that we have shared so many happy times together. I like to think of Auntie Val now, laughing, singing and dancing with my darling Mum, Betty and Auntie Shirley, together with their Mum and Dad, Nellie and Bernard. The Baxter family finally reunited.
    Much love to dear Uncle Bill, Ellen, David and all the grandchildren – you are in our thoughts xxx


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