It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear Karen from cancer on June 22nd, 2020 at the age of 59 in Victoria, British Columbia. Karen was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, but grew up in Peterborough, Ontario where she attended Crestwood High School. Always an excellent student with diverse interests, she received a degree in Civil Engineering from Okanagan College and later a Masters in Geography from the University of Victoria. She settled in Victoria in a home with her partner Nick Cottam, and eventually took over the role of provincial Conservation Lands Specialist for the government of British Columbia. In that role, in collaboration with many non-governmental organizations, for decades she was a leading passionate, dedicated, and stalwart defender of lands set aside for protecting vital fish and wildlife habitat.
Karen’s deep love of life, family, and friends was guided by her three key themes for living -- grace, giddiness, and gratitude. This was reflected in her love of travelling and hiking in Canada and many other countries, nurturing long, deep, and varied friendships, eating healthy food and fine chocolate, sipping wine on sunny balconies, celebrating “Winesdays” with friends, playing Ultimate in the park on weekends, pursuing her fashionable sense of style, and sharing with others the love of poetry and literature. She was also a passionate and accomplished amateur natural landscape photographer, inspiring friends and fans on social media with her sensitive, poetic eye for the magical in the mundane, the subtle and the dramatic, the vastness hidden within the tiny, and the power in fragility.
Karen was predeceased by and goes now into the arms of her mother of boundless love, Barbara Ann Carlind Wipond (Parks). She is survived by her loving partner of twenty-four years Nick Cottam, her father Nicholas Wipond, younger brother Rob, older brother Kevin (Shauna), nieces Marley (Mateo) and Michaela (Tristan), and nephew Ethan (Cady).
Her partner Nick says, “I’m so lucky to have known Karen for the twenty-four best years of my life, of our life. In many ways, I was inspired by her beauty and willingly molded by her thoughtful, fierce, funny, intelligent, and courageous spirit. I loved our travelling adventures together in mountains and deserts, and the home that she made for us with her creativity, but most of all we shared many laughs over the years, and right down to her last breaths we were still making each other laugh. I will miss her so much, but I keep her spirit within me and I will love her forever.”
To the many people who knew and cared for her, Karen says, “I’ve been so grateful for all the love I’ve been able to receive and give. And I wish that for all of you. And I will hold it all in my heart – and please hold me in your heart always.”
Memorial celebration to be announced at a future date. In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider a donation to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation of BC (https://hctf.ca/donate/), the Victoria food bank of your choice, or Victoria Community Health Services (Palliative Team).