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  • Writer's pictureObituary Notice

ROWBOTHAM, Victoria Lynn

~ July 4, 1961 - July 30, 2021 ~

Victoria Rowbotham died suddenly in a tragic accident on July 30, 2021. She leaves her daughter, Sacha, her extended family, and many friends in unspeakable grief. Victoria was born and raised in Calgary. A highly intelligent, vivacious and ambitious young woman, she pursued a rewarding and challenging career, was a person with many and varied interests, and above all, was a loving wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, daughter-in-law and friend.

Her initial post-secondary education was at the University of Calgary, BA Economics, 1983, followed by a BA Economics at Queen’s University, 1984. A move to Ottawa landed her a job as an economist with Natural Resources Canada. Seeing a rising star, the government sponsored her further education at Lincoln College, Oxford where she graduated in 1988 with an M. Phil Economics.

At Oxford, Victoria met the love of her life, Neil Berman, a neurobiology doctoral candidate and surfer from Cape Town, South Africa. They married in 1988. Upon completion of his doctorate, Neil joined her in Canada and they settled in Chelsea, Quebec, where they made lifelong friends. Their son, Jonah, was born in 1994 and daughter, Sacha, in 1997.

Victoria started her career at British Petroleum in London, and on return to Canada, she continued her career with the Government of Canada: Natural Resources, Industry and Environment, ultimately as a director and senior advisor.

An offer for Neil to work at the B.C. Cancer Agency brought the family to Lions Bay in 2005. The family embraced life on the west coast: sailing, rowing, hiking, skiing, and watching the sun set on Howe Sound. Victoria was a pioneer in the world of working remotely. After moving to Lions Bay, she continued to manage her department in Ottawa by waking at 5 a.m., logging on at 6 and working Ottawa hours.

Post retirement, Victoria worked at the office of her M.P. the Honourable Jonathon Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment from 2017 to 2020. There she brought her experience, curiosity and compassion to assist with the management of his constituency office, mentor junior staff and take on multiple research and writing projects.

Victoria faced challenges that many would not surmount. In 2008, at the of 46, Neil was diagnosed with fronto-temporal lobe disorder (a form of dementia). In 2012 he required more care than Victoria could provide at home and he now lives in a care home. More tragedy followed with the sudden death of their son, Jonah, in 2013.

Victoria and Sacha found strength and moved forward; a mother and daughter duo like none other. They travelled often and had a special place in their hearts for Cape Town visits with the Bermans. They moved to West Vancouver, and Victoria ultimately found the perfect condo in Dundarave. In addition to the Lions Bay friends, and the West Van moms and daughters, Victoria made many new friends including “the British ladies running club,” the Chickadillies skiers and her book club.

Victoria loved the outdoors: hiking, walking with her dog Lennon, cross-country skiing, biking, rowing, kayaking, and quiet evenings with her cat Marley. She loved music and was a classically trained pianist. Her generous heart touched many people. She was bright, witty, quick to laugh and zany. Her resilience and strength were an inspiration to so many.

She is survived by her greatest treasure, daughter Sacha, husband, Dr Neil Berman, sisters, Patricia Rowbotham (Alan Macleod) and Elizabeth Rowbotham (Tom Funk), brother-in-law, Dr Michael Berman (Karin), and sister-in-law, Lara Berman. She was adored by her nieces and nephews: Charlotte Stokes (Patrick Keogh), Anne Stokes (Sebastien Flais), Michael Stokes (Kelly Mooney), Kevin Funk (Kalie), Kristen Maxwell (Ryan), Jenna Berman, Jann and Devon Berman. She is also survived by her step-sister, Lisa Clarke (Hugo Potts), and by her Oxford lifelong friends, Birgitta and Marcus Von Krosigk. Victoria was predeceased by her dear son, Jonah, parents, Harry and Doreen Rowbotham, step mother, Marie Clarke, parents-in-law, Mervyn and Jacquie Berman, brother-in-law, Douglas Stokes, and nephew, Joshua Berman.

Covid capacity restrictions will limit the celebration of Victoria’s life.

In Victoria’s memory, donations may be made to the B.C. Children’s Hospital: Provincial Youth Concurrent Disorders Program, or to the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia.

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