Sadly, after taking a fall, Sammy passed away in Penticton Regional Hospital on July 21, 2021, at the age of 65.
She is survived by her husband Ken, with whom she lived quietly in their heritage home in Summerland for 42 years. “If there was a marriage in which ‘the whole was greater than the sum of the parts’ it was ours,” is how Ken described their time together.
In addition to Ken, she is leaving behind her mother, Josephine van der Leest, mother-in-law Willie Sheppard (Selinger), her brothers Sybe van der Leest (Terry), and Hans van der Leest, her sister Karen Braun and sisters in law Dianne Shandler/Peacosh and Sandra Milner/Selinger.
She was known as both Sammy and Auntie Marion to her many beloved nieces and nephews (an great nieces and nephews) through out BC and lberta including local Summerland resident Carly (Darren) Esson.
A loving wife, daughter, sister, and aunt, Sammy was cherished by everyone who knew her. She loved family, music, and invested herself fully in her workplace, helping others selflessly along the way, earning the love and respect of all who knew and worked with her.
Sammy was born in Comox BC, grew up in Calgary and moved to Summerland in 1978 where she met Ken and has lived there ever since.
In her early years in Summerland, before health issues forced her to withdraw, Sammy was an integral and driving force behind two major developments here. As president of the Summerland Environmental Society, she negotiated both the Federal and Provincial grants facilitating the development of the Composting Project at the refuse grounds. Sammy also was fundamental to the very small group that organized the annual Slo-Pitch Tournament which later grew into the Action Festival.
Many tears have fallen. Sammy will be deeply missed by us all. The family will announce a Celebration of Life in due time.
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