Isabel Ramirez, R.I.P., faithful Friend of Garden City and the people of the Downtown Eastside

From the early days of the old Garden City Lands Coalition Society, Isabel Ramirez faithfully kept up her paid membership. It was energizing to receive her neat membership form and annual fees and added donations in the mail. In efforts to save the Garden City Lands and later the Garden City, she was the kind of person I couldn’t let down.

I always hoped to meet Isabel, but cancer took her a month ago. Afterwards I learned of other ways she was special. It turns out she was the kind of person I’d envisioned and even better.

This is Isabel in the photo, giving her time and loving attention at the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House to joyfully teach Mexican crafts.

Isabel Ramirez, Downtown Eastside

Sharon MacGougan, vice president of what’s now the Garden City Conservation Society, knew Isabel well. Here’s what Sharon has shared about Isabel:

I loved knowing Isabel. She was infectiously happy, someone who lived life exuberantly, a good example to us all. She was a kind-hearted and generous person who helped others whenever she could.

Isabel’s life was rich with laughter and family and many, many friends. She was usually the last person to leave a party and also the one who brought the most to it—be it food (always Mexican, and in large quantities) or laughter or her gentle presence.

I remember particularly her pride in her Mexican heritage. It gave her much pleasure to create beautiful Mexican Day of the Dead altars in the Downtown Eastside. She spent many volunteer hours there, sharing the culture she was so proud of.

In Mexico there is a saying that “My house is your house.” Isabel epitomized that saying. She was the most welcoming person I’ve ever known.

And because Isabel really loved a party, there will be a big party for her!

The Carnival Band logoMemorial for Maria Isabel Ramirez

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Watari Centre, 877 E. Hastings St.

Downtown Eastside

People are meeting at the Watari Centre at 1 p.m. and then walking in a procession to Oppenheimer Park, accompanied by The Carnival Band. There will be music and food and a piñata to enjoy in the park.

In one way or another, you will be there, Isabel. Have a great party!

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