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Judith Rivinus Fuller

Born: July 2nd, 1946

Passed on: April 19th, 2008

July 2, 1946-April 19, 2008 On a bright sunny afternoon, April 19, 2008, Judith Rivinus Fuller died peacefully at home in the embrace of family and friends. Her wishes were to spend her final days in full view of her gardens and the blue waters of the Bras d’Or Lakes. On April 17, 2008, being of sound and a most determined mind she resolutely marched outside to sit and bask in the bright warming sunlight to reaffirm the ‘renewal of life’ as her early spring flowers commenced to bloom. Her extensive gardens gave deep meaning and enduring sustenance to her spiritual life as well as a release from the mundane affairs of every day life. Judith was born July 2, 1946, in Boston, Mass. She grew up in Philadelphia with her parents and six siblings. She attended the Springside School in Chestnut Hill, Pa. She graduated from Milton Academy in Milton, Mass. in 1964. She graduated from Boston’s Children’s Hospital Nursing School in 1967. After her graduation she nursed in Boston to get her nursing feet wet. In 1968 she picked up and drove across the United States to San Francisco where she worked for over a year at the Haight Ashbury Clinic that provided medical care to the growing counter-culture in America. She also worked at the University of California’s San Francisco neonatal ICU. In the fall of 1969 she again crossed the USA to nurse in Boston and to be closer to family and friends. In September 1970 she married Henry Weld Fuller in Philadelphia. The wedding took place in her parents’ back yard. This was the beginning of a 38-year marriage of which the last 35 years were spent in Big Harbor overlooking the waters of the Bras d’Or Lakes. The years 1970-1973 were spent in England and Newfoundland. Judith worked at a hospital in Clapham Common, London UK (1970-71) and at the Janeway Children’s Hospital (1971-73) in St. John’s, N.L. In June of 1973 Judith gave birth to Susanna Drake Fuller in St. John’s, N.L. Six weeks later a big move was made to Cape Breton to a 100-year old subsistence farm property. This was the beginning of a life she had not planned! In 1975 Michael Rivinus Fuller was born in Sydney, N.S. She now had a ‘Newfie’ and Cape Bretoner in her fold. What more could you ask for! In 1979 Judith decided that she needed to embellish her nursing education. She moved to Halifax to attend Dalhousie University. She completed a BN in 1981 and then her MN in 1983. Her MSN thesis was on affective maternal child bonding. She then taught nursing at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S. from 1984 through 1989. Her mentor there was Ria Rovers who died in a tragic accident in Mexico in 1988. In 1989 Judy returned to Baddeck where she was the driving force in creating the Victoria County Hospice Society. She was the energy for gathering the funds to start a local hospice care center. She served as the Victoria County Hospice Director from 1989 through 2001. From 2001 until September 2007 she was Baddeck’s Continuing Care Co-ordinator for deserving clients. Both jobs provided her with an office in the Victoria County Hospital. Her work in hospice and continuing care has made a huge impact on the lives of those she cared for and worked among. She will not be forgotten. Nor will she forget those she helped. Outside her professional career she involved herself fully in the local community. She acted with the St. Ann’s Bay Players. She provided advice on the ‘art’ of her gardening to others. She was always there for her friends with timely consultations and care. She was full of energy and vitality that infected all who knew her. She gardened, made quilts and was a weaver. She was an inspirational force behind the ‘Rolling Crones’, a disparate group of lady bicyclers. We can unreservedly say that she was, indeed, larger than life itself just through her pure force of character. Judith leaves behind her mother, Ann Rivinus; two brothers, Timothy and Mark; and three sisters, Sally, Susy and Mary and their respective spouses. Her father, Francis Markoe Rivinus died in 2006. Judith was on hand to care for her father when he decided to take leave of his life. She was predeceased by a third brother, Michael in 1973. She has a large extended family of cousins who are hugely fond of her. Judith is also survived by her mother-in-law, Marion Fuller Brown of York, Me.; and three sisters-in-law, Alexandra, Martha and Emily and their spouses, Jock, Geoff and David. On both sides of the family there are numerous spouses of siblings, nieces and nephews who will continue to bask in the joy that Judy created. All reside in the United States. She leaves behind her husband Henry Weld Fuller and her two children, Susanna and Michael. Both children reside in Halifax. She will be deeply missed by them as she provided the stability and nurturing that allowed their family life to flourish far from extended kin. There is indeed an insurmountable abyss to be filled, but we know that life must go on. Judith will be greatly missed by all who knew her. She made a real difference not just in her professional life, but in the lives of her wide range of diverse friends and extended family. We have witnessed testimony to this by the recent kindnesses extended by all those that loved her. Because of the distances involved and the time parameters, a celebration of Judy’s life will not take place until a specified time in the summer of 2008. Judy did not want a funeral. She wanted a celebration of her life. She wants people to smile and show a joyous countenance. She worked very hard over the last 12 months to become a ‘Triumphant Patient’. She endured her illness with a positive demeanor that rode high on ‘dignity of self presentation’ and a commitment to lead by example. We are all indebted to her spirit and her unique force of character that will indeed be a hard act to follow. She was triumphant right to her very last breath! In our memories she will always remain so as embodied in the quote below. “In the pool that is encircling you now I just want to tell you something. As Judy lay dying, I closed my eyes and thought of her in all her guises I have known, from when I was tiny to last year. I prayed for you and Susanna and Michael to have the strength to bear you through whatever comes, with peace. As I opened my eyes, the sun came through a low overcast sky with summer-like heat. I heard the birds singing and the sound of children’s voices and thought, ‘Just as she would want it to be.’” (From Genevieve Anderson, a niece) Judith requested donations made to the Victoria County Hospice Society to help carry on the good work she started. Donations in her name may be sent to: Victoria County Hospice Society, P.O. Box 279, Baddeck, N.S., Canada, B0E 1B0.





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