Nyhla May Smith

October 16th, 2022

May 2, 1942 – October 16, 2022 

Nyhla May Smith died peacefully in her 80th year on October 16, 2022 after a long siege by a relentless cancer, which she bore with her characteristic courage, stoicism, and good humour. She is survived by Ken, her devoted husband of 60 years, and by her son Barry (Aila) and grandson Hatau, her daughter Lorrie Maude and grandsons Angus and Graham, and her sister Faye Pryce (Henning Mogensen). She was predeceased by her parents Bob and Florence Magee, her brothers Wayne and Darryl, and her son David. 

Nyhla was born in Trail, BC, the second of four children. She lived the first years of her happy childhood in Robson until the family moved in 1948 to their newly built home in Trail. Her remaining formative years were spent there in what was for Nyhla a wonderful time and place. Her Trail roots always remained close to her heart and her friendships from those times endured. 

After graduating high school Nyhla worked for a time in the general office of the Cominco smelter. Then she followed her future husband to Vancouver where she was employed as an executive secretary at MacMillan Bloedel, helping to support their young family while he completed his UBC education and became established in his career. She left the workforce after the birth of David, their second child, to devote herself to raising their children. She returned to work in the mid-1980s when a good friend asked for assistance in running her lingerie shop. For several years, this job provided much fun for her and many funny stories. 

Nyhla was athletic. She particularly enjoyed badminton which until recently she played regularly for many years at the Vancouver Racquets Club with a group of friends. Her other interests included part ownership of several thoroughbred racehorses that thrilled her with their occasional wins and entertained her and her partners with many good times. She was a baseball and hockey fan. She travelled with her husband to several major league and minor league baseball games in Canada and the U.S. and accompanied him on many oldtimers’ hockey trips around the province and to other countries. 

Nyhla made everyone welcome in her home. There was often an extra seat at the dinner table for someone who needed to feel the warmth of the family she had created and dinners for twenty or more were not uncommon. She was an exemplary homemaker, wife, mother, and grandmother and a confidante, role model, and steadfast friend to many. She was like a second mother to many of the children’s friends and earned their undying love. She was wise, compassionate, generous, trustworthy, intelligent, kind, loving, loyal. She was funny and laughter surrounded her wherever she was. She loved a party, she loved Elvis, she loved Christina Lake, she loved her friends, she loved country music and rock ‘n’ roll, she loved to dance, she loved the penny slots, she loved to have fun. Above all, she loved her family. One of her friends recently captured her perfectly in these words: “Simply put, Nyhla was the best of the best.” 

With her death, a bright light went out in the lives of her family and friends. 

The family would like to thank Just Like Family Home Care and in particular Rashida, Emelita, and Ashley who began several months ago as Nyhla’s care aides and quickly became her friends. They would also like to thank the doctors and staff at the BC Cancer Agency and the Vancouver General Hospital and her family physician Dr. Jaber Hayaty for their compassionate care of Nyhla. 

There will be a celebration of Nyhla’s life at 1:00 o’clock on Saturday, November 12, 2022 at the Whistler Ballroom, River Rock Resort Hotel, 8811 River Road, Richmond, BC. For catering purposes it would be helpful (not necessary) if you would RSVP to bookofnyhla@gmail.com if you plan to attend. 

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the BC Cancer Agency, the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation, Covenant House, or a charity of your choice.



My apologies to the family and Nyhla had a such nice personality , funny and generous. I didn't forget when I see you at Lorrie s house in 2003 and you were like my teacher too. You helped me with homework. Always in good humour. I miss you. My condolences to you all Taous

Dear Ken and family, Doug & I are so sorry for your loss.. Your wife, mother & grandmother was a wonderful person full of laughter, kindness & love. She will be missed. Love Doug and Kathy. ❤️❤️

I loved Nyhla the very first we met. She had that effect on people around her. After care, we would spend time watching her favorite TV Shows and would both comment on how hot the guys were. One of our best show was, "love it or list it". We were like 2 school girls because we were both smitten with Todd, the hot realtor. We would spend hours talking and laughing just about anything. This is how Nyhla made me feel. I could tell her my deepest thoughts and she listened with empathy and love. I looked forward to each visit with her and giving her great care. It's heartbreaking for me to not been able to see her in the last few months She surely was one of a kind, a beautiful soul. My endearing condolences to the entire family, I would love to attend the memorial. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to be part of your story Nyhla. With much love Ashley-Gail

Nyhla's spirit was extraordinary. Her friendship, laughter, understanding and compassion were her precious gifts - and because of them, she made the world a better place to be. I feel so fortunate to have met and known this wonderful person.

Barry, Aila and Hatau, so sorry for the loss of your mother and Grandmother. She was always so nice and welcoming to me and my family. She will be missed ❤️ Love you Hugs from Nova Scotia xoxo Jodi

My words cannot express the loss I feel, with the passing of Nyhla, a wonderful lady, a kind sole, a mother, a wife, and a perfect grandmother second to none, I will miss you Ny, but will always remember the times We spent, the chilly contests at the Bayshore, and us cheering on Dr. Noonan together, I admire our crisp sense of humor, My boy’s angus and graham Are fortunate to have you as a grandmom 2nd to none I will miss your apple crisp I shall cherish trips to the lake Thank you for just being there Kind, nonjudgmental, honest, and beautiful. I would not be the dad I am today, if it wasn’t for your guidance, honestly and RIP NYHLA, I REALLY LOVE YOU!!!!

Just spending time with Nyhla was an experience. She was hilarious and fun, but she was also thoughtful and caring. Bryan and I are sending love and condolences to all.

Nhyla's hospitality, humor, intelligence, and wit are her legacy to all those who had the privilege of her friendship. I will remember her with a smile on my face.

Nyhla was a soft place to land, a caring mother figure and a hilarious person to banter with. She will forever be in my heart - leaning against the kitchen counter looking out the window with her small glass of water reminding me I was home when I walked into the Smiths house. Grateful for her care, her wisdom and the time she gave this kid so many years ago. There was always an open invitation and Ny was always able to make an extra seat at the table. What an incredible woman, mom, sister and friend - I love you Ny and we will all miss you like crazy. Thank you for our chats and your love for almost 39 years. Thank you for being you. Love Sammi xo

She was so funny, so loving, so kind, and so much fun to be around. I will always feel so lucky to have been her grandson.

My favourite thing about Nyhla was her laugh. I will forever hear it when I think of her. My condolences to you all, such a huge loss….

My deepest condolences. Nyhla was a one of a kind special lady. She will be greatly missed by many, and live in the hearts of all who knew and loved her.

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