The Gabriola community is saddened by the passing of Lesley Harris on May 17th, following a long illness. She died peacefully at home, surrounded by her beloved family.
Lesley was a long-time Arts Council member, an artist who worked in many media, and a former GAC Board member who served at a critical juncture in the arts council’s history. In 2006, the Board of GAC was suddenly reduced to just three directors—Kathy Ramsey, Katherine Gordon, and Lesley—with a part-time administrator, Liz Steele.
As its president over many years, Kathy reflected, “If there was ever a time that GAC might have folded, that was it, but Lesley worked her butt off to get GAC back onto solid ground. I don’t think it ever crossed her mind to walk away … she believed wholeheartedly in what GAC was about, knew what needed to be done, rolled up her sleeves and got the job done. She was instrumental in laying the groundwork that ensured GAC made it through this difficult time intact and stronger than ever.”
Katherine adds, “Over a year, we reformed the Board structure and developed a new administrative approach. It sounds dry as dust, but never with Lesley on the team … with helpers, lots of wine and chocolate, and lots and lots of laughter, we sweated over it for many nights and weekends. Our efforts concluded with a formal election of nine Board members with the skills to take GAC into the future. The energy Lesley gave to it, and her sheer common sense, was phenomenal. I got to know a woman with the most practical understanding of human nature of anyone I’ve ever met. GAC owes Lesley a large debt for her work in 2006-2007; her legacy lives on today.”
GAC extends its deepest condolences to Lesley’s family and friends. Her irreverent sense of humour, quick wit, fabulous laugh, and her generous and compassionate heart, touched so many in our community. She will be very missed.
There will be a celebration of Lesley’s life in late June or early July. Details to follow.