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Saying goodbye to a Whistler original

Kelly Fairhurst moved to Whistler in 1958 to raise a family

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Although she moved frequently, Fairhurst remained in touch with her Whistler friends, and made some significant contributions to the Whistler Museum and Archives from her store of photos and other heirlooms.

Florence Petersen, one of the five teachers to buy Witsend, met Kelly in teacher’s college and continued her friendship until the time of her death. She will say a few words at Kelly’s service this weekend in remembrance of her friend of nearly 60 years.

“Kelly was really noted for her expert cooking and for making pies,” recalled Petersen. “Back in those days we didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing in Whistler, and everything was done by hand. She really did wonders with her old wood stove, and we all learned a lot from her.

“She was sweet, good natured, and very kind. We always did some camping together, and she was one of the three of us who gave Burnt Stew Basin its name. We were hiking the pass, and had a kettle with stew over the fire which we all forgot to stir. That was in August of 1958, and we christened it Burnt Stew Basin.”

Petersen remembers the Cypress Lodge as a community centre for the Alta Lake residents in the years, before the highway was pushed up from Squamish.

“(The Fairhursts) gave their property, their time, their kind-heartedness and let everyone come out to the point for just about everything. We had a sailing regatta, the “regretta”, which we held on Labour Day because it meant the summer was coming to an end, and they let the community club have the lodge for New Year’s Eve. It really was the centre of the town,” said Petersen.

“She was very conscious of being in a special spot and sharing it with everybody. Although she was a quiet type of person she really had a terrific sense of humour and she was very artistic. She spun her own wool, she made sweaters, she did needlepoint, and just did some fantastic quilting. A lot of people in town who knew her still have some of her quilts as wall hangings or mats. She would donate her work to every raffle and cause that came by.”

After selling the lodge in 1972 Kelly and Dick planned to move to Vancouver Island, but decided to delay the move another eight years until their children graduated high school. They also had a hard time leaving the community they helped to build.