When people talk of Kitty Niiranen, it is with much love and admiration. They speak about her as having grace, aplomb, fortitude and an indomitable spirit, a force in the community. She will be greatly missed by all as she ventures forth on a new journey to Quesnel B.C.
“She is an amazing woman and dear friend,” said longtime friend Debbie Hansen. “Basically if there was something going on in Harrison and they needed volunteers, Kitty was right there.”
Kitty was involved in the community choir, dragon boating, hiking, Communities in Bloom, Canada Day in Harrison, line dancing, Festival of the Arts, Beer Fest and Wine Fest.
Friends and acquaintances would describe Kitty as someone with an enthusiasm and zest for life, so much so that it could be called wildly contagious, and fun to be around.
“Most folks in Harrison and many in Agassiz, know Kitty as someone who is authentic, warm, outgoing and energetic,” said Hansen.
The avid outdoorswoman always had time for people in the community and participated in various groups who will miss her greatly as she prepares to join her son in Quesnel B.C., who is coping with MS.
“When she puts her mind to something, that’s it — she has a way of making the universe listen. She’s very strong and opinionated but loving and just a hoot,” said Hansen.
Her laugh is memorable and her sense of humour infectious. Physically beautiful, Kitty, also has an inner beauty that emanates.
“She was always telling jokes,” said friend, Karen Buckley.
A pillar in the community, the brave and independent Kitty, immigrated from Holland with two children in her early 30’s and completely embraced the Canadian way of life.
She was active in a quite a few Dutch speaking clubs and has many Dutch friends, though, she considers herself a Canadian first.
The widow is self made, and everything she owns she has acquired for herself, through a lifetime of work in a multitude of vocations.
Most recently she was a councillor on a crisis line.
“She touched so many people here and she was so giving,” said Buckley. “She’s a force to be reckoned with — she takes risks, is fearless, brave, and bold.”
Before her late husband succumbed to Lupus, they packed up the kids and moved to Mexico for a year, a move that many would find daunting, but not Kitty.
“If Kitty wants to do something she does it, if she wants to sing she will sing, and if she thinks of someone she will pick up the phone. She goes that extra mile and we will miss her — there will be a big hole for Kitty.”