Mediate BC Blog

Remembering Judith Kennedy

Posted by Guest.Author

It is with great sadness that we share the news of Judith Kennedy’s passing.

The conflict resolution community will remember Judith as a wonderful and supportive mentor and mediator. Judith was active in the Court Mediation Program (CMP) from 2000 when she participated in the Practicum. She joined the Provincial Court Civil Mediation Roster in 2002 and became a mentor in the CMP in 2012. In her role as mentor, Judith provided invaluable advice, tips and support to learning mediators. She was known throughout the CMP for her kindness and generosity with new mediators and her incredibly collegiality.

Marlene Russo, fellow CMP mentor and dear friend of Judith, writes:

Judith was one of those remarkable women who, in addition to being deeply connected to family, radiated a zest for life that always impressed me.  During her final years as a mentor with the Mediation Program, she taught me how to felt her homemade soap, we camped in the rain at a music festival and she reminded me regularly that life is full of gifts, if only we put the energy into finding them.  We shared a love of our respective remote cabins (hers on the ocean and mine on a lake) and I always ended our visits realizing, yet again, how truly multi-dimensional and talented Judith was.  Her husband, Ian Kennedy, has co-written a beautiful historical book entitled Tofino and Clayoquot Sound: A history. She was so excited about its publication. I highly recommend that you add it to your library and remember Judith every time that you pick it up. What a gift she was to the world.

Shortly after her passing, Judith’s husband Ian shared these words:

Judith passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by her family, following a three-year long battle with ovarian cancer. She died as she lived with courage, dignity and grace.

Born in Vancouver and raised in South Burnaby, she was intensely proud of her heritage, which included British, Icelandic and Black ancestry.

Soon after graduating from Burnaby South HS she married John Fulford and bore a son, Josh, the “apple of her eye.” After her marriage dissolved, she enrolled in criminology at Simon Fraser University and as a single mother, supported herself and her son by working as manager at Rohan’s Rock Pile, a popular and legendary music venue in Kitsilano.

Following her graduation from SFU in 1980, Judith moved to Powell River where she headed the Legal Aid Office. In1990 she bought property on Savary Island building her beloved “Bluff Manor” cabin. Elected to the first Savary Island Committee, she became Chairperson and met her fellow council member Ian Kennedy. They married in 1999, and moved to Comox where she became a private mediator taking on difficult challenges with her customary tact, discretion and empathy.

Judith’s strong advocacy for social justice led her to volunteer with the Comox Valley Restorative Justice Program. She also served on the Board of the Courtenay Women’s Resource Centre. 

Highly accomplished, with impressively wide-ranging interests, Judith was a talented artist, painting and drawing in her studio and at her cabin. Always an avid gardener, voracious reader and gifted craftswoman, Judith became an award-winning quilter and, in her later years, a skilled soap maker.  She will be sadly missed by her many friends in the Wave painting group, which she helped to found.  

In 2015, to Judith's delight, her son Josh married Rachelle. More delight followed a year later, when grandson Lennon arrived.  When she became ill, the family moved to Comox from New Westminster to be near her, and Judith showered Lennon with unreserved love and affection. Lennon brought her so much joy and happiness that he undoubtedly prolonged her life. Being Grandma was her greatest pleasure, and Lennon will miss her enormously. 

Her ashes will be spread on her much loved Savary Island property, where a gathering in her memory will take place when Covid 19 permits.

She leaves behind her loving husband Ian, her son Josh (Rachelle), grandson Lennon, her brothers Jim (Donna) in Oshawa, Richard (Carol) in Maple Ridge, and a host of relatives and friends.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Comox Valley Transition Society, previously known as the Courtenay Women’s Resource Centre, where Judith served on the board. They would be delighted to receive donations on Judith's behalf, and Ian believes that she would be thrilled as well.

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