Cordelea Joan Stokes (nee Wood)

January 24, 1938 – March 15, 2021

An extraordinary lady took her final breath, with her daughter holding her hand, in a peaceful room at Victoria hospice, one of the many places she had volunteered over her lifetime. Left behind to bask in her vast afterglow are her devoted husband Win, son Ian (Samira), daughter Andrea, son Colin, grandson Max, and three stepchildren.

Cordelea grew up on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, being (as she often jokingly claimed) the Winnipeg Beach Champion of every sport that was undertaken there, be it tennis, curling, figure skating, or whatever. She graduated as President of her Class from the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing, Class of ‘59A.

Upon marrying Scotty Gardiner, she started her family with him in Winnipeg; but being an RCMP wife meant moving her young brood to Ottawa, Sydney (NS), Edmonton and finally Victoria. There she continued to pursue her career as a gifted registered nurse, focused on Victoria General Hospital’s paediatric wards. Being with children delighted her, whether they be infants or teenagers. She also did pioneering work in promoting pain management as a priority in medical practice, and later, spent six years managing an adult mental health group home in Vancouver.

Upon retirement, she engaged in epic battles of ping pong, and fed her insatiable hunger for travel by touring much of the world with her second husband, Win. The inevitable challenges of life, including various debilitating long-term physical ailments like Trigeminal Neuralgia, plus the daunting cancer death of her son Bruce, never succeeded in shaking her dignity and poise, nor disrupting her countless volunteer contributions to society. Faith and spirituality sustained her.

She was a wonderful cook, baking everything from sumptuous pies to the very best cinnamon buns in history, often served out of her camper, lovingly known as Cord’s Café. While she received much pleasure from life and its blessings, her essence was lifelong caregiving; showering abundance upon all who came into her orbit, whether personally or professionally. She always strove to engage and enrich others: as a wonderful hostess; a devourer of literature; a fan of classical music, butterflies and movies. To Max she was the epitome of a doting grandmother. Anchored by excellence, empathy, and ingenuity, her’s was an exuberant life, honourably and elegantly lived, to its very last breath.

The family wishes to profoundly thank the medical teams of the Royal Jubilee Hospital, Ward 5 North, and Victoria Hospice for their kind and collegial care.

Memorial donations may be made to the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association of Canada (TNAC), Victoria Hospice, or the Charity of your choice.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Our heartfelt condolences on the loss of your amazing Mother, Cordelia. She was the consummate hostess, showing guests around Victoria. A fine woman gone, our world greyer.

  2. Linda and Terry Gogol

    We were so sorry to read in the paper this morning about Cordelea’s death! Please accept our deepest sympathy.

    Linda and Terry

  3. Dear Win and family,
    Heartfelt wishes to you all. I only knew Cordelea through working as her contractor, but she was a very special person. Kindest regards, Jack.

  4. Dear Family,
    We are sending our deepest condolences for your families loss of such a dear lady.
    May you find courage to get you through this most difficult time. Many prayers.
    Karen Rocher xo

  5. Dear Andrea and Win,
    My heart aches for you as you deal the loss of such an amazing woman. I too have such fond memories of Cordelea, meeting her for the first time in 2010, 6:30am post Ironman. She graciously invited me into your RV and we bonded over coffee.
    We are thinking of you during these tough times.
    Natalie & Trevor Burge

  6. Christina and Roy Keenan

    A beautiful soul lovingly remembered in this tribute. Her indomitable spirit will live on.

    Our deepest sympathy

  7. Pat & John Canzano

    Dear Family,

    In this time of sorrow, we remember and cherish the happy moments we’ve had with Cordelea whether in Canada or Hawaii. Memories carry on. . . as lives pass. We wish you many happy memories, peace and comfort today and always.

    With our deepest sympathy . . .
    Pat & John Canzano

  8. With heartfelt sympathy….in honor of a life so beautifully lived and with such grace. Cordelia was truly a special woman.
    My condolences…
    Susan Simpson

  9. Janique Strozza

    To all of you who adored this wonderful woman, that I never had the chance to meet , I send my deepest condolences. You were all in my thoughts and prayers throughout her battle. Through Andrea I sent my love, and know that your mother, wife, grandmother….still lives on in all of you and is in a place with no more pain and ache.

  10. Rob & Anastasia

    Our deepest sympathy. Andrea, she always seemed to be the wise and steady voice in your ear and I’m sure that will always endure. All our love to you and your family.
    Rob & Anastasia

  11. Gerald Teichrib

    My sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the family of Cordelea, she will be missed.
    My deepest condolences.

    Gerald Teichrib

  12. Lillian Mazzatenta

    Our deepest sympathy Andrea, to you and your family on the loss of your wonderful Mom. I would have loved to have met her in person, it felt like I knew her thru the lovely stories you shared with us.
    Our condolences and hugs to you and your family.
    Lillian, Hailey & Hannah Mazzatenta

  13. Dear Win, Andrea, Ian, and Colin,

    It has been our delight and our joy to know Cordelea as our neighbour and beautiful friend. Her enthusiasm for all creation, family, children and travel was addictive and a pleasure to behold.
    We hold you in our thoughts.
    Gordon, Juta, Jocelyn, Danielle and Christina

  14. I’d only met Cordelea a few times but my mother spoke very highly of her. After reading the messages here I can feel that she was an extraordinary lady and much loved by many. I offer my heartfelt condolences to her family and her husband Win… May she rest in peace, eternally…
    Much love,
    Wendy McIlroy

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