Board of Directors

LiR Board - August 2021

LiR Board of Directors for Fall 2021 Term

(left to right) Raj Downe – Treasurer, Susan Milner – Vice-Chair, Christine Schmidt – Selkirk Liaison, Jean Carne – Chair, Marjorie Laisnez – Social Committee, Carl Waterer – Safety Committee, Jude Schmitz – Tech Committee, Sarah Kemp – Secretary, Maureen Kelsey – Membership Committee, Julia Bennett – Communications Committee 

(missing) Kathy Hrabluk – Program Committee

In any society/organization, the Board and Committees are vital to the survival and vitality of the group. In Nelson’s LiR, this is particularly important because the entire organization is run solely by volunteers. It is their indefatigable work that keeps it vibrant and relevant. We thank them for their boundless enthusiasm and all the work they have done and continue to do.

The Board consists of the following elected members who meet monthly to oversee the management of LiR consistent with its constitution and bylaws. Members include committee chairs and Board directors at large.



Born and raised in the Fiji Islands, I immigrated to Canada in 1974. I was a school teacher there. However, I did not wish to continue teaching in my new home. Thus, I made a dramatic career change, studied and became a professional Accountant. This was just a ticket to pursue a long and varied career in the Public Sector, ending up as the Assistant Deputy Minister, for Health and Social Services. I have lived and worked in British Columbia, Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Who would have thought that a girl from the South Pacific would end way up in the Canadian Arctic! Upon retirement in 2012, I moved back to Nelson and was introduced to LIR by a former colleague/friend, and the rest is history. If it wasn’t for LIR, who knows, I might have gone somewhere else to explore.


We were introduced to the Nelson area in 1971, and it remained one of our favourites. So my husband Bob and I made a beeline for the Koots in our retirement. No more prairie winters for us! With both the lake and ski resort close by, our family visits regularly.
More than one friend spoke enthusiastically about what LiR had to offer, so I started attending. They were right! Since I’d spent the last decade of my career teaching computer programs to adults, I was encouraged to join the Techie Team. Then COVID arrived, and it was on to yet another adventure.


I moved from Saskatoon to Nelson three years ago. After graduating in Physical Education and Education from the University of Saskatchewan, I taught school for several years and spent 28 years as a firefighter with the Saskatoon Fire Department. Also, I volunteered in Guyana, South America on a short-term work placement, and with friends organized, promoted and hosted comedy shows in the province for ten years. I’ve been involved with LiR as a board member since arriving in Nelson. I recommend it highly to seniors interested in lifelong learning and staying involved in various pursuits as a member and volunteer.


I retired from a long nursing career in 2013. Looking for an “end of career adventure,” I had gone to Nunavut for 3 years at the age of 54. At the end of 10 years, I retired, exhausted, but happy for every experience and came back to BC. Since I had lots of history in Kimberley, I moved there. I came to Nelson in 2017 when my second grandchild was born. An LIR member told me all about it one day, and she was describing my kind of people. I gradually got involved and realized how fortunate Nelson is to have this group, and how lucky I was to meet Karen the day I Roger Oliver was my grade 12 math teacher!


Visiting Nelson a few times during 30 plus years of living in Vancouver, I was always impressed by how relaxed and happy people seemed to be. People looked you in the eye and said “Hi”, a no no in the big city. I decided to move to Nelson 16 years ago and have never once regretted it. I grew up in the UK and after finishing R.N training in London and marrying a geologist, I moved to Australia. With a new baby in tow, we moved to the Fiji Islands to a remote exploration mining camp. Arriving in Vancouver in the seventies, I worked in different nursing-related jobs and also volunteered at the UBC Women’s Resources Centre for many years as a peer counsellor. I first volunteered at the Nelson Food Cupboard and spent a number of years on the board there. I then joined the board of Nelson Community Services. My time on this LiR board, working with a great group of committed, hard-working and passionate people, is proving to be the most fun and most rewarding yet.


I grew up in South Slocan, truly an idyllic childhood surrounded by an energetic, supportive community. I moved to Calgary in 1976 and remained there until 2010 when after many years and numerous trips back to my beloved Nelson, made the decision to move back. My career in Calgary was in Human Resources which was incredibly interesting and fulfilling. I am currently on the Board of the Kootenay Co-op as Chair, HR Committee, and the Nominations Committee and a member of the Nelson Rotary Club and the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) and am now excited to be supporting LiR.


I’m second-generation Nelson born and raised… well, in actual truth a Six Mile brat! I obtained my Nursing diploma from Selkirk College and left the Kootenays for 40 years; returning “Home” upon retirement from a challenging and rewarding career. I returned to the family property I grew up on…right in the middle of my growing family. Living on the lake enables me to paddle my kayak at a moment’s notice…such a treat for someone who has lived in cities for a long time!
I joined Learning in Retirement because I was interested in becoming a part of the community that was both very familiar, and yet in some ways not so much.
I am also very pleased to be a conductor and drive the beautiful Streetcar #23 along the waterfront… channelling my bus driving Father and history-loving Mother.


I first visited Nelson more than 30 years ago when my hiking guidebook said that the best hike in the Inland Northwest is to Slocan Chief Cabin at Kokanee Glacier Park.  I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio and at the time of my first hike, I was living in California. Serendipitously, I met my future husband Leon on that trail.  After spending the intervening years in the U.S., we retired to Nelson in 2017.   I thought I might continue consulting as an Engineering Geologist (Dam geology and dam safety are my specialties), but instead, I joined LiR and haven’t looked back.  I have met so many wonderful people, made new friends, and learned new things.  Being on the board is my way of giving back to this great volunteer organization and saying Thank You LiR! 


I left Nelson for Bishop's University in Quebec, where I earned a BA in Philosophy & Classics and a BSc in Mathematics. After completing an MSc in Mathematics at McMaster University, I took a year off to teach at Okanagan College in Kelowna. That was way more fun than graduate school, so I stayed in postsecondary education. After decades of teaching at the institution eventually known as the University of the Fraser Valley, I retired and returned to Nelson.
Now for fun, I share math/logic games with people of all ages. That is how I became involved with LiR, where I discovered a whole community of lively and interesting people to play with!


I grew up in my family home in the Toronto area and then as an adult moved 12 times to points north, west and south across the continent. There were plenty of interesting and challenging places, but none felt quite like home. After a long career in education, I began my retirement adventure with my husband Ken, by landing in the beautiful Kootenays in the summer of 2017. We were new to the area and yet it was clear to us that we were “home.” We were in awe of the scenery and knew absolutely no one. Once the unpacking was done, we set about settling in the Kootenay way finding a red canoe, a good set of hiking boots and new friends. LiR has been a wonderful landing spot for us! And we’re still in awe of the view.

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