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Teacher Biographies Project

Eunice Robinson, Bernice Leversage, Don Phillips and Doug Eastman at the SIHS Open House 2019.

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Along with the Class Photos Project, the Sea Island Heritage Society has been compiling the biographies of the many teachers who taught at the Sea Island School, the Sea Island Japanese School, the Duncan McDonald School and the RCAF Annex school, all schools located on Sea Island, in Richmond, British Columbia at some point in history.

From the Society’s research (family interviews, public records, and archives), the Society has completed over twenty teachers biographies. And, as the Society continues its research and interviews, we add more names to the completed list of biographies. To get or share information about any of our teachers, or their biographies, please contact Maureen Stark Ross at info@seaislandhome.org.

List of Teacher Biographies Completed

Here is a list of the Sea Island teachers' biographies we have collected and completed so far.

Name of Teacher Name of School Years Teaching
Akune, Itoko (née Nishi) Sea Island Elementary 1959-1965
Bain, Ronald Charles (1940-2019) Duncan McDonald Elementary 1969-1973
Bidin, Patricia Mary (Mrs. Hume) (1931-1995) RCAF Annex to Sea Island Elementary 1950-1954
Clements, George Victor (1925-2010) Sea Island Elementary 1955-1957
Coleman, Judith Esther (née Cameron) Sea Island Elementary 1963-1964
Freeman, Byron (Barry) Whitman (1919-2014) Sea Island Elementary 1963-1964
Gammer, John (Jack) Allen Duncan McDonald/Sea Island Elementary 1963-1973
Gibbes, Philip (Major) (1912-1988) Sea Island Elementary 1958-1960
Harper, Eleanor (Dolly) (née Atkins) (1923-2002) Sea Island Elementary 1967-1968
1969-1972
Huxtable, Jessie Ogilvie (Mrs. Clark) (1903-1993) Sea Island Japanese School 1922
Isaac, Roy Errol (1941-1992) Duncan McDonald Elementary 1965-1967
Leversage, Kathleen Bernice (Mrs. Douglas) Sea Island Elementary 1953-1955
Logan, Margaret Isabelle (Miss) (1908-1991) RCAF Annex to Sea Island Elementary 1951-1961
Lucey, Acheson William (Bill) Nibblet (1926-2005) Sea Island/Duncan McDonald Elementary 1964-1969
MacKenzie, Lucille Elizabeth (Mrs. Challoner) Sea Island Elementary 1949-1974
Naylen, Eileen Mary (Mrs. Fowler) (1923-2016) RCAF Annex to Sea Island Elementary 1950-1955
Nereida, Denise Jay (aka Garford) Sea Island Elementary 1976-1981
Quilter, Marie N. (Ms.) (1924-2013) Sea Island Elementary 1964-1965
Reid, Margaret Anne (née McGuffie) (1920-2011) Sea Island Elementary 1947-1955
Retallick, Gerald John Duncan McDonald Elementary 1967-1969
Rothe, Hugh R. Sea Island Elementary 1974-1979
Sheppard, Marlene Jocelyn (Mrs. Stewart, Mrs. McCracken) (1932-2004) RCAF Annex to Sea Island Elementary 1950-1957
Southwell, Suzanne née Ney (1927-2018) Duncan McDonald Elementary 1962-1969
Tempelmann Kluit, Melanie Sofia (Mrs. Griggs) Duncan McDonald Elementary 1964-1967
Thompson, Mary Leona (Mrs. Paxton) (1905-1981) Sea Island Japanese School; RCAF Annex; Duncan McDonald Elementary; Sea Island Elementary 1929-40; 1958-62; 1962-63; 1963-65
Whiting, Richard (Rick) James (1937-2017) Sea Island Elementary 1970-1977
Yurichuk, Phyllis Marlene (née Fisher) (1934-2021) Sea Island Elementary 1960-1963

Excerpts

Here are excerpts and photos from a few of the teachers' biographies in the Society's Collection.

Eleanor Dolly Harper nee Atkins, teacher at Sea Island Elementary

Harper, Eleanor "Dolly" (née Atkins)

Mrs. Eleanor "Dolly" Harper
(Sandi Harper Teramura and David Harper)

Mrs. Eleanor "Dolly" Harper was born in Vancouver, British Columbia and raised in Richmond. She was known for her keen interest in preserving Richmond heritage, especially that of Steveston. Her work with the Britannia Heritage Shipyards was a prime example of her efforts and she was instrumental in the birth of Richmond's first Heritage Advisory Committee (1984). After raising a family of three and enrolling as a mature student at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1962, she complemented an earlier Bachelors of Arts with a year of teacher training. Known to have a kind, generous and warm nature, Mrs. Harper quickly put her pupils at ease. In 1967, in her first year in the classroom Mrs. Harper taught a combined grades 4, 5 and 6 class with lots of music and art (her specialty). The next year she trained student teachers at Simon Fraser University before coming back to Sea Island Elementary for a further four years. These years preceded two other schools, Garden City and Manoah Steves. Mrs. Harper will be remembered as a true "Child of the Fraser". To her, Richmond was the centre of the universe (her words).

Duncan McDonald class photo of 1967, Roy Isaac teacher

Isaac, Roy Errol

Duncan McDonald School class photo, 1967 - Roy Isaac, teacher

Roy Errol Isaac was born in Vancouver but grew up on Sexsmith Road in Richmond, British Columbia. Mr. Isaac was teacher extraordinaire, head teacher, vice-principal, principal, coach, planner and supporter of alternative education and avid advocate for the integration of special needs children in the schools — there was no end to the accolades handed out to him. He excelled in coaching and took the 1968-69 Mitchell Elementary boys' volleyball team to the Richmond Volleyball Championship. He also developed noon-hour intramural sports fostering inclusion of all students of varying physical abilities. Mr. A.N. Lucey, the principal at Duncan McDonald Elementary School in 1966-1968, described Mr. Isaac as a loyal and conscientious teacher who was always ready to to do anything required of him. To this day, every June, his Exceptional Humanitarian Service Award is presented to the most deserving student at Brighouse Elementary. Mr. Isaac will be remembered for the prodigious kind and caring influence he had on his young pupils.

Marlene Yurichuk in the Nanaimo News Bulletin, 2021

Yurichuk, Phyllis Marlene (née Fisher)

Mrs. Phyllis Marlene Yurichuk
(Obituary in the Nanaimo News Bulletin, February 24, 2021)

Phyllis Marlene Yurichuk was born in Vancouver, lived in Steveston and was in the last class to graduate from Richmond Junior Senior High School in 1952. While teaching full-time, Mrs. Yurichuk completed her degree in English during the summer months in Victoria, British Columbia in two years - a remarkable achievement! The family returned to Richmond where Mrs. Yurichuk taught at the Sea Island Elementary School from 1960 to 1963. Because Mrs. Yurichuk's husband was a firefighter “on call”, she chose to stay at home and raise three children while substituting, accumulating 10-12 years of experience. Fifteen more years at Daniel Woodward Elementary rounded out her career. The Blood family on her mother's side immigrated to Canada in the 1880s, and homesteaded and purchased land in Lantzville on Vancouver Island where they planted fruit trees and had big vegetable gardens. When Mrs. Yurichuk retired, the Lantzville property was subdivided into five lots, one for each sibling. Mrs. Yurichuk and her husband enjoyed many years of retirement on their portion of the dream beach property.