Maureen looked wide

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, November 14, 2019

When Maureen Wills descended Big Hill and first set eyes on Cochrane and the valley beyond, she knew this would be home the rest of her life. Photos: background by Warren Harbeck, inset by Roz Edge Kossowan

It was love at first sight nearly 60 years ago when Maureen Wills looked wide from Big Hill and had her first view of our picturesque foothills town. Our beloved friend passed away mid-October, leaving a legacy of admirers who will never be the same again because of her positive impact.

A group of Maureen’s admirers have organized an informal Afternoon of Remembrance in her honour for next Thursday. This will be a time to drop in and socialize around the wit and wisdom of a community leader who inspired prosperity through praise, whose style was kindness, and whose life philosophy, like that of the Scouts whom she so long served, was “Look wide.” And it will provide folks an opportunity to share in writing (and possibly video) some of their memories to send to Maureen’s daughter Kathy Wills, out of the country at the moment and unable to attend.

Upon learning of this heart-warming gathering, I spoke with two of the organizers to hear why they were so passionate about holding it.

“Maureen really was a ‘big picture’ person,” Margaret Peach said. “She was always open, always looking beyond her small portion of the world. She could have made a successful career in England, but she was looking wider. Once she found her true home in Cochrane, though, she could give her talents free rein. There’s a saying that goes something like this: Some people see the world as it is and ask ‘Why?’ Others see the world as it could be and ask ‘Why not?’  That was Maureen. She totally believed we are in this world to help each other. Her quick mind was always looking for ways to improve our growing community.

“Maureen was a visionary. Something would catch her attention and she’d say, ‘What we need here is …,’ but she used her wit and charm to inspire people around her to work on the details. She was a delight to be with because she was always positive, always quick to praise others, always open to new ideas, and always ready to have fun.”

Town Councillor Susan Flowers agrees: “Maureen had a heart for helping the underdog,” she told me. “She also wanted volunteers to be treated like gold and made sure they got the recognition and support they needed.”

Many of you must also have some great memories of your own you’d be happy to share around tasty snacks at Frank Wills Hall, Nov. 21, 2:00–6:30 pm. I hope to see you there. Also, be sure to check out Chrissy Da Silva’s outstanding feature article on Maureen in the Oct. 24 Eagle.


© 2019 Warren Harbeck

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