She was hiking Lake Ann Trail on her beloved Mt Baker and laughing with her best friend when a tree cracked and fell and killed her instantly.
Kathy loved the outdoors. She hiked all summer and back-country skied all winter. The mountains were her heaven.
She skied many places in the world and did extreme crevasse and avalanche training. She was a ski patrol and instructor at Grouse and constant at Cypress and Seymour.
A pleasant day for her was to skin up a slope, ski down, then do it all again.
She worked as a park ranger at Stanley Park and instructor at BCIT (Chemistry/lab).
In the summer she was always in the mountains, hiking and camping. An avid photographer, she took visually stunning scenic photos of each place she visited.
She journeyed to Ellesmere Island and camped for days seeing polar bears and other wildlife. She climbed many of the highest peaks in North America, Summiting Bear Creek Spire, Challenger Peak and Wheeler Peak. She would get so excited planning a new adventure. She did all the trails – West Coast trail several times, John Muir trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Buce Trail and so many others. She would pack up her car and just drive somewhere, camp and hike for days on her own. She was a leader at the Vancouver Outdoor Club for Women and was out almost daily in the local mountains.
For many years she and her dearest friend Sheila owned a small place at the foot of Mount Baker, and she was there every weekend hiking and skiing and living exactly the life she wanted to live.
There is some small blessing in knowing she was in her element, loving the forest and had her great friend with her when she died. There is comfort in knowing she didn’t suffer and was not alone.
We cling to the thought that her last one was how beautiful everything was around her.
Kathy was born in North Bay, ON but grew up in Midland and graduated from Midland Secondary School, going on to Guelph University for her Bachelor of Chemistry. At a very young age she showed her love for the outdoors volunteering and working at the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre and enjoying snowshoeing and learning to ski in the local mountains. She always found much enjoyment in the outdoors keeping active and with the nature she so loved. She could identify almost every bird and plant in Ontario and soon learned again when she made the move to BC in the 80’s.
Kathy leaves behind her sister Jane Nemis, Mother Mary (Brazzoni) Nemis and Father (late) Peter Nemis.
She also leaves her best-friend Sheila Clare who was with her when she died.
Many many friends and colleagues from work, the Vancouver Women’s Outdoor Club and others have reached out and we thank you for your kind words and stories.
Kathy was brought back to Vancouver this week and cremated (private) and a memorial will be held at a later date.
Please feel free to reach out with any stories and experiences you have had with her. They would be so comforting.
To the park guides and fire department in Kendall Washington and to Deputy Ben – thank you for the care and respect you gave my sister.
Please know she was doing what she loved.
My condolences to Jane and her Mum, Mary. When Cathy (&Jane) was a teenager she babysat our children. We knew her and her family through the Midland Penetang Field Naturalists Club. It looks like Cathy followed a career and interests based on her experience as a Junior Naturalist. So sorry that she was taken from this life so early. Sincerely, Judy, Bob (deceased 2019), Dan, Becky and Paul Whittam
I worked with Kathy as a park ranger for several years. She was an absolutely lovely person and the epitome of what being a park ranger means. She was so smart, funny, hardworking, kind, and had a love for the outdoors that was unparalleled. I am so very sorry that she has left us, but I assure you her memory will live on in the hearts of everyone she touched.
Kathy and I spent many hours riding our Park Ranger bikes around Stanley Park over the years. Her passion for the Ranger job was infectious. I was always impressed with Kathy’s “let’s go” attitude when exploring, patrolling, and protecting the precious natural environments she loved so much. At any point Kathy could pivot from a high-energy bike patrol to stop and patiently speak to any park visitors that had questions or just to engage in a nice chat about the day. I can hear her happy voice and her unique laughter when I think about it. She knew so much about nature and wildlife and it always seemed there was a new adventure on the horizon. Where did she get so much energy!!?? When we opened a public face to face Park Ranger Station in Stanley Park to engage with the public, Kathy’s thoughtful approach to public education became the standard for all others who would take on the role. We have plans to rename the kiosk to Ranger Station 6 in honour of Kathy’s Ranger Badge number 6. Her legacy and compassion for the Rangers will forever motivate and inspire me. I will always try to be more like Kathy, learning more about nature and always having another adventure on the horizon.
I Knew Kathy through the Outdoor Club and shared many hikes on the North Shore mountains and near Mt Baker. She was defined by her love of nature, shaping her work life to maximize outside activities. Her solo trek of the John Muir Trail inspired me. Her commitment to holistic health included shunning pain killers. Beyond the epic, I knew Kathy as a caring woman. A few years ago I was planning to accompany her and others on a backpacking trip in the Cascades. Unfortunately I had to cancel to fly east to my brother's funeral. Kathy sent me a condolence card - a simple, thoughtful gesture that touched me deeply. Mary, Jane, and dear Sheila I send my sincere sympathies to you all. I know she will always be in your hearts and in her beloved mountains.
I am deeply saddened to hear of Kathy’s passing and I extend my heartfelt condolences to Mary, Jane, and Sheila. For a couple of years in the late 90’s, I was lucky to share the upper floor of a lovely character house in East Vancouver with Kathy. Our suite was always a hive of activity, with Kathy planning her next hike or camping trip. I always admired her independent and courageous spirit, and her sense of adventure. She was a very special person, and I can’t imagine the grief that you are all experiencing and hope that you’re getting all the support and help you need to make this journey a little easier.
I'll always remember Kathy as Jane's big sister. I didn't know her very well but do remember she was around at a few(ok maybe more than a few) parties we attended in our youth. Kathy kept her eyes on Jane to make sure all was OK. I also have a memory of Kathy playing with an Airedale terrier in their yard. My heart goes out to Jane and her Mom. My deepest sympathies to all of Kathy's family and friends Tina
Although I never had the honour or pleasure to know Kathy personally I do know her sister Jane and my heart goes out to her and her Mom..as well as to her closest friend Sheila at her sudden and sad passing from this world. From all I have read about Kathy she was a truly vibrant and loving person who will be greatly missed by many May she Rest in Peace.