Sadly today, I must share with you all, that at the end of August we lost a co-worker and friend. Sarah Wilkinson, who in her 24 years at Laurier worked in both the Mail Room and Accounts Payable, passed away on August 20th at the age of 55. Her full obituary was published on August 29th. It is my honour to remember Sarah with you all today, through her friends and colleagues here at Laurier. We offer them our sympathies as they process their grief. These ladies were kind enough to share with me their memories of Sarah for this memorial post, and I share those with you now.
One of her colleagues, Nancy King, said that she had met 15 years ago. She went on to share that they had experienced many laughs, memories and tears, adding that, “She was like a big sister to me, and we worked well as a team. She was a wonderful friend and colleague who I could confide in.” Nancy went on to mention that through 15 years of working closely together, the two endured many changes and challenges in their office and within the university community. They worked together through many WLUSA union contract agreements, upgrades to the finance system and software and new computers. In the end, Nancy had this to say about Sarah, “I miss my friend and colleague dearly. I can only remember the good times we shared.”
Those good times can be reflected in some of the things they shared, a sample of which Nancy very kindly shared with me for this memorial. Nancy writes poetry and Sarah used to ask her for them. This is one that Nancy shared with her, and she even remembers the exact date, April 19, 2011:
The one the sits beside
How funny she can be
With her fast wit
How can anyone keep up
Through hard and good times
She endures it all
Seems more relaxed
Finding her way in life
She has laughed and cried
Would give a listening ear
Maybe a word of advice
Just like a sister would do
It is so amazing
Just to sit and watch
She is very real
I am proud to call her friend – Nancy King, 2011
Sarah’s colleagues came together to share further memories of Sarah with me, concluding lovingly with, “This is who Sarah was and this is how we will always remember her.”
Sarah volunteered for many organizations including Big Sister’s, the Salvation Army Toy Drive, the Soup Kitchen, as well as volunteering with seniors at Sunnyside Nursing Home. All who crossed paths with her were witness to her warm and caring heart. She took great pride in helping those in need and took her volunteerism to a whole new level when she became friends with one of the senior citizens she visited. Sarah went beyond the normal duties of a volunteer and treated her as if she were a member of her own family.
Sarah was a lover of animals of all kinds. She would watch over the wildlife that came to visit her at home and became a caregiver to animals who were wandering the streets. During several outings, she noticed a kitten who was unwanted and wandering in the cold. The kitten was surviving on scraps of food left for garbage. Sarah could not bear to see the kitten so lonely so, she took it home, cared for it and gave it a long and loving life. It wasn’t just the cats on the street that pulled at her heartstrings. Sarah had also adopted from the local SPCA numerous times. Her adoptee Uma was at the adoption centre for a very long time. She was considered a difficult cat who no one would give a chance. Once Sarah heard this, she immediately asked to see the cat and decided at that moment that she wanted to take her home and give her the life that she deserved.
Sarah was dedicated to her work and was ready to lend a hand or an ear if someone needed her. She had an unmistakable laugh and enjoyed joking with people. She had a silly and playful side to her that have made memories for us all.
Sarah was a loved and valuable member of WLUSA, and of the Laurier community as a whole. Let us remember her fondly, as her friends do.