Josephine Ada Burges

Josephine Burges passed away on September 9, 2023, coming naturally to the end of a long and full life of 96 years. Born Josephine Ada Burgess Browne on July 6, 1927, she grew up in Toronto, and lived in California, Victoria, Vancouver, and White Rock. Jo married Victor Webber in 1951, raised two children with him, and divorced in 1977.

Jo returned to Victoria in retirement, where she readily embraced the amenities of the city and region. She walked daily, weather permitting, and attended plays, symphonies, and the opera, with Langham Court Theatre and Palm Court Orchestra being particular favourites. She volunteered for many years at Craigdarroch Castle, where she had gone to school when it was Victoria College.

Jo was a vital, active person who loved to see things, do things, go places. She could go only so long before she, in her own words “needed to get in the car and go somewhere”. She took her young family on a car trip across Canada for Expo 67 in Montreal, and took many trips in the years following, with family or friends.

She was a woman ahead of her time in many ways, on the leading edge of working mothers, women buying property on their own, investing, and divorcing when it was still uncommon. Being independent and intelligent, the conventions of her time constrained her, but she was clear enough on the difference between what was usual and what made sense to push for what made sense.

An avid reader, Jo always had a book going, and was particularly interested in biographies. She kept up on local events and the news of the world, taking the paper right up to the end.

It was important to Jo to try to make the world a better place somehow, whether through a few dollars put into the collection box, writing a letter, or attending a rally for a cause she supported. In the mid-sixties, she wrote to the mayor and the paper, concerned about the proposed cutting of trees on a steep slope in the ravine down the street, out of concern for slope stability. She took her duty as a citizen seriously.

Jo is survived by her son Gwyer, daughter Garth, son-in-law Rowland, and grandchildren Illona, Glyn and Angela. Her family will miss her very much. Grateful thanks to the staff at Kiwanis Pavilion for caring for her in her last few years.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made, if desired, to Craigdarroch Castle or the Trans Canada Trail.

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