Remembering Dianne

On 29th August, a large number of people gathered at The Haven to say farewell to Dianne Anderson. Many memories and stories were shared of Dianne, who played a very important role in making The Haven the unique place it is. We are publishing here a poem for Dianne by Dale Partridge, followed by a tribute from Ben and Jock.

She Was A Friend of Mine

Pictures of her were sent to me, a week after her death,
They caught her well, her broad smile, her laugh, her look,
They were iconic in reminding me of her joviality,
Yet some pictures were missing for me,
The ‘harrumph’ looks, whenever she was unhappy
The ‘don’t even think about it’ look, when I risked displeasing her,
And the ‘Ahhh you’re so great’ look, when we struck the same note.

Dianne was a friend of mine, reliably able to say the truth,
Reliably able to risk a friendship for a needed mirroring,
To show me some aspect of me that neither of us liked,
Dianne could light up a room, her presence preceded her,
Likely you’d hear her unique voice, or her laugh, or her joy,
As she’d already be in true contact with someone, or,
She’d be complaining, groaning out her misery, like a song.

Dianne was a thoughtful person, someone who could care,
She’d love to see the very best for people, celebrate them,
Either through her cards, or her eyes, or her testimony,
She was a straight-talking friend of the person who’d hear,
Totally deaf to the person who thought she should be different,
Dianne just kept on living her raucous life and truth to the end,
When all she wanted was all she wanted all her life.

It was a simple thing really, just a smile, a minute and acceptance,
Just the opportunity to help or to cheer or to be with you,
That’s all, it wasn’t much, thankfully found at her beloved Haven,
Dianne understood sanctuary, respect, support and choice,
Yes, even self-responsibility was clearly part of her knowing,
She just lived it and used it all as she could, uniquely,
Like the car she drove, the clothes she wore, the smile she showed.

Dianne was a friend of mine.
I am blessed.

Dale Partridge,
August 17, 2010


Remembering Dianne

Bennet Wong & Jock McKeen

Dianne was with us from before the time of Haven. When we first set up PD Seminars in 1982, and ran our operation out of April Point Lodge on Quadra Island on a seasonal basis, Dianne was Registrar, cook, and co-Manager. When we told her of our thoughts about acquiring a resort to be the home of PD Seminars, Dianne was relentless in her encouragement … she got the idea in her head, and then she would not hear of it any other way. She was with us when we first moved to Gabriola in 1983, and she was a stalwart fixture in the front office.  So, we knew her “way back when …”

In those days, she was a voluptuous stunning beauty – many people said she looked like Elizabeth Taylor, and the comparison was apt. And what a personality! Her loud voice boomed through the lodge, punctuated with humour and acid wit. She was very quick, and very intuitive; she recognized people’s voices on the phone with their first word. She knew everyone, participants and leaders and community people … and she had a word of advice or encouragement or admonishment for every one of them. She enjoyed irreverence, and loved to refer to herself as “the Troll” … to us, she was the “troll with a huge heart.”

She had a remarkable facility for seeing the best in people, and stubbornly stuck by even the most resistant of you, encouraging, browbeating and loving you without reservation.  She accepted you for what you are, and did not linger on either your flaws or your high points.  You knew she loved you for all of you. She did not afford herself the same consideration: she undervalued herself to a fault, and refused to cooperate with the many of you who tried to jostle her out of this self-abusive position.  She was one stubborn woman indeed.

When she decided to do something, it was done. In the early days of Haven, in order to show integrity of the organization’s health and ecological attitude, we insisted that staff members not smoke on the property. Even though Dianne was a longstanding smoker, she quit smoking to keep her job which she loved, and never faltered on this commitment.

She was resistant to change.  When we put in the new computer registration system in the late 1980’s, she insisted on keeping her three-ring books with her handwriting.  She did every entry twice – once in the computer because she had to, and a second time in the fashion she knew with her own script. She did not want to lose contact with any of “her babies” (for that’s what you were, her spiritual children).

She was willing to roll up her sleeves and work. In the early days, she would carry her portable phone to the laundry room where she was doing extra duty washing the resort’s linens. When the floods would come, she was out digging trenches with the rest of us.

We were sad when she chose to retreat in her later years, spending more time at home.  Yet, we respected that Dianne was “being Dianne” and nothing could budge her from what she had decided. We missed her increasingly in recent years as she became more and more private.

We wish her a deep and satisfying rest.  She has made a world a brighter … and a louder … place.

She was deeply loved by many … and we count ourselves in that number.

Dianne … We still hear your laughing voice  as it resounds through Haven.  We are filled with our feelings for you.

Love, Ben and Jock


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