June Winnifred Gibbs was born in Toronto, Ontario. She was expected in June, and so named. June’s life could be measured in three pianos: a childhood piano with accompanist, Petey the canary; another that came over the Chilkoot Pass, which, when played, elicited howls from Casca the Samoyed; and finally, a white baby grand.
June studied nursing at the University of Toronto, where she met Jack Cable. After they married they lived in various places in Ontario before the big adventure of moving to Whitehorse with their young family in 1970.
As a nurse in Ontario, June cared for war veterans who’d been gassed, as well as foster children at the Children’s Aid Society. These experiences, added to her innate sense of empathy, inspired her community activism. In Whitehorse, June met kindred spirits. Together they founded the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre, the Mini Bus transit system, and the local chapter of the YWCA. She led Girl Guide camps, was a director for the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Society, played volleyball and bridge, and skied. June reveled in Whitehorse’s 1970s social life, featuring progressive dinners, fancy clothes and Riverdale all-nighters.
A natural storyteller and writer, June’s poetry and stories reveal a creative, intelligent, curious soul. She moved to the west coast of B.C. to complete her master’s and doctoral degrees in Philosophy. With her second husband, Donald Mainwaring, June traveled the world, practiced counseling psychology, and built a beautiful home on Cortes Island featuring Manx cats, archy and mehitabel.
June returned to the Yukon in 2001 to be close to grandchildren. Nana adapted her activities to each of them, storytelling with puppets, creating an illustrated book of adventures, or editing a master’s thesis. June was loving, nurturing and nonjudgmental and always looked for the best in people.
She was the president of the Yukon Storytelling Festival and the Canadian Authors Association. She counseled many people through Nimco and Associates.
June’s legacy includes her children: Sue Edelman (Brian), Jennifer Hull (Gordon), Andrew Cable (Connie), and Dan Cable (Bryna); her grandchildren: Spencer (Rachel), Ariana (Rob), Evelyn, Grace, Michael, Yvonne, Annie and Angus; and great-grandchildren: Tristan, Kayleen, Bridget, Jade and Sierra.
The family thanks Dr. Xiu-Mei Zhang, the staff at Macaulay Lodge, Thomson Centre and Whistle Bend Place, and Reverend Bev Brazier.
A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 28 at the Whitehorse United Church, available through FaceBook Live. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only family members may attend the service in person.