Nancy Riche 1944 – 2011

My aunt, Nancy Riche, passed away Saturday. She was a prominent feminist, labour activist and tireless worker for social justice. She was also my most glamourous relative, travelling all over the world and meeting all kinds of amazing folks. Whenever she was in town, she’d bring me along to meet her brothers and sisters in the movement. Whenever we went to visit her, she’d let us go through her jewelry box or closet and take home something pretty. Pictured above are a pair of trillium earrings which have special significance as I am one of her Ontario nieces (she called us her babies) and the trillium is our provincial flower.

I’ve also included a picture of my wedding band because last time I was in St. John’s, she drove me around to the thrift shops and Value Village to look for scrap gold that I could melt down to make my ring. Both my aunt and my dad loved to sing loudly and fearlessly in the car.

I had been planning a trip to visit St. John’s this month or in November. I missed her Jiggs Dinner. Nance had been very involved in the upcoming provincial elections and was also discovering the joys of instant messaging. The last time we chatted, she was feeling energized and told me that she felt “20 years younger.” Her death was sudden and a shock to the whole family. I spent Sunday talking to or chatting with my mom and dad, sisters, nieces, nephews and cousins I am thankful for the real gems my aunt left us with — the ability to live fearlessly, a love of life and a drive to be one in solidarity with all of humanity.

My aunt, Nancy Riche