McNish Hazel Cunliffe
Hazel passed away peacefully on November 19, 2012 at Nanaimo Senior’s Village. Pre-deceased by her husband Alexander (Sandy) in 1972, and her brother Edward and sister-in-law Alison. Hazel leaves to remember her: 2 stepsons, Jim and Gordon, and stepdaughter Heather; also, residing in the United Kingdom, nephew Donald Peck, and nieces Rosamund McFarlane and Sylvia Wyatt and their families.
Hazel was born in Somerset England on August 29, 1921. At a young age, she moved with her parents and brother to live in Montreux, Switzerland where she spent most of her childhood, and began her lifelong love and appreciation of mountains, nature and especially wild flowers. Hazel later returned to live in Lincoln, England to complete her high school education.
In the summer of 1939, Hazel came to Canada on vacation. With the outbreak of WW2, she decided to remain in Canada and attend University of Toronto where she became one of the first graduates in physiotherapy. Following graduation, Hazel enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces Medical Corps. She was deployed to Italy and was present at the liberation of Rome. After the war, Hazel came to Vancouver where she was Chief of Physiotherapy at Shaugnessy Veterans Hospital. Here she met and married Sandy. Together they returned to the UK for several years, living and working in London, Dunoon and Greenock.
Hazel and Sandy returned to Canada’s west coast in the late 60’s, settling in Nanaimo where Hazel worked as a physiotherapist at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. She specialized in orthopaedics, and spent several years as Chief of Physiotherapy, during which time she started Nanaimo’s Red Cross Loan Program. Hazel was widowed in 1972 and continued to work at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital until her retirement.
After retirement, Hazel had more time for travelling. She returned to Switzerland, England and Scotland and made camping trips through Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, BC, Alberta and several US National Parks. She also travelled to Iceland, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand and Kenya. Hazel’s other hobbies included photography, stamp collecting, knitting; studying wild flowers and geography. She was a member of the Nanaimo Field Naturalists for many years and took several trips with them. More recently Hazel belonged to the Post Polio Support Group, and the Better Breathers Group.
Hazel lived independently in her own home until 6 years ago when she moved to Nanaimo Senior’s Village. There she made and enjoyed new friendships and received the support, companionship and care with dignity which she had always shown others during her life. Donations, in memory of Hazel, may be made to Nanaimo Community Hospice, or the Canadian Lung Association.