Well how many of you saw the Michael Jackson extravaganza? I admit I watched the reruns and like the milieu is fascinated by the whole celebrity thing; the comparisons to Elvis, the foreboding – even the National Enquirer (for enquiring minds) had predicted in print in January 2009 that Michael would be gone within 6 months because of reports of his crazy lifestyle.
This blog is not about Michael Jackson nor Elvis or celebrity. It’s about a real life friend of mine and the life she lead and her death at 92. Phew, yes 92, how many people my age get to have a friend that old and wise.
Conboy, Grace of Burnaby, passed away peacefully July 7th at the age of 92. Born in 1917, she is predeceased by her loving husband Eugene and son Ken (Susie), Grace is survived by her daughter Wendy and son Gary.
Grace will be remembered as one of a kind who was an expert horticulturalist (she loved orchids), a nurse, writer, avid reader, authority on birds, and an amazing photographer. She was an adventurer who traveled from Antarctica to Africa, Australia to the Arctic, from ruins to the top of mountains. She lived ever day vigorously and had no regrets.
A Burnaby pioneer, Grace’s horticulture is seen in the wide array of shrubs, trees, plants in her south Burnaby home. Her prized Sequoia was planted by her over 60 years ago. Grace and her husband Eugene had a thriving heavy equipment business on Marine Drive until his death.
She traveled the world visiting China when westerners were less than welcome. She traveled to Africa and Antarctica with the famous artist Robert Bateman and canoed with her long time friend. Her collection of native African antiquities was a source for many evening discussions. Grace took her degree in English at UBC when she was in her 70’s. She was a member of EarthWatch when saving the planet made you a hippy. A new bird in the neighbourhood had her bringing out her many books so she could identify the newcomer.

The garden in the front of her home on Marine Drive was her pride and joy and she could tell you about every item in her yard even in latin Grace always had a book in her lap and considered reading one of her greatest joys. At the time of her passing she had many of her journeys committed to her computer journal for others to enjoy. Grace’s photos of penguins and African animals are classics and even at 92 she had her trusty Pentax loaded and handy just in case her reclusive Great Owl returned to her yard.
A chat with Grace was a delight as she was well versed in every subject a person could bring up. She loved people and enjoyed spending time on her patio telling tales. Her wisdom of years attracted people to her and her joy of life made her friends with young and old, she will be missed. People like Grace are what Canada was built on.
BTW I wanted to put a portion of the above in the Vancouver Sun obituary section for this past weekend. The cost $1800 dollars (of course that included a picture the size of a postage stamp). To put this in perspective her cremation cost $800 – Give me a break!
This blog BTW did start off as a reference to our friend Grace not a rant about the rip-offs in the funeral industry. I got the rant in anyway, Grace would have liked that!!
Rant on the funeral industry to follow.

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