We Remember


September 10, 1958 — March 11, 2024

The family of Leena Phillips is sad to share that after a stoic and courageous fight with cancer, Leena passed away at home on March 11, 2024, in her 65th year.

Leena was born in Toronto, ON to Roman and Aino Poldes and was their “gift to Canada” after they emigrated from Sweden and their homeland Estonia. Her youth experiences included attending an Estonian World Jamboree for Estonian Girl Guides in Sweden, volunteering at Mosport and Shannonville racetracks in Ontario, and attending Lawrence Park Collegiate for high school.

Leena met and married Don while earning her Bachelor of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo as part of the co-op program. After graduation, they settled in Ottawa, ON, where Leena worked for Coopers & Lybrand, Ottawa Cablevision, Rogers Cable, and finally Cognos where she was a financial analyst. During their 22 years in Ottawa, Leena and Don welcomed Sarah and then Scott into the world and the growing family moved twice into new homes. Leena’s Ottawa years were busy, both kids were engaged in multiple sports activities, and both Leena and Don had challenging career responsibilities. Memorable sports weekends had two cars with a parent and child in each travelling to different towns to play. There were also happy family times at home and memorable travel experiences. Somehow, Leena also found time to serve as a board member at Gloucester Childcare Services.

In 2003, Don’s work took the family to Kelowna, BC while Sarah moved to the U.S. for high school, university, and eventually her career and permanent resident status. Leena and Don built a lovely home on the west side of Dilworth Mountain and enjoyed the wonders of Beautiful British Columbia, while Leena continued her career at Oakridge Accounting and The News Group. Her Kelowna years brought opportunities for outdoor recreation, seeing more of the world, relaxing in warm places during the winter, dinners on the deck enjoying Okanagan wines, and season tickets to the Rockets.

In the fall of 2022, after a memorable trip to Northern Europe including a visit to Leena’s parents’ birthplace of the island of Saaremaa in Estonia, Leena was diagnosed with stage four cancer. In 2023, during chemotherapy, Leena and Don embarked on an ambitious and memorable series of vacations, including much of Leena’s bucket list and over 60 nights camping in their RV. She courageously lived life during this time as normal and positive as possible, and rarely let her cancer get in the way of adventure or dominate her life. Leena faded quickly in February 2024 after returning from a final visit to Maui but was still smiling to the very end. She died at home, as she desired, under the care of Don.

Leena is remembered as being quiet and a good listener, loyal, generous, practical, positive, and loving. She was so very proud of her family and loved watching them developing and nurturing their own families. Leena was predeceased by her parents, Roman & Aino, and her sister Madli. She is survived by her husband Don; her daughter Sarah, Sarah’s fiancée Kaitie, and Kaitie’s son Miller; her son Scott and daughter-in-law Hailley, with a grandson on the way; and her sister Anu.

Leena’s family would like to thank the staff members at the BC Cancer – Kelowna – Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior; the Kelowna General Hospital; and the Palliative Care Team from the Central Okanagan Hospice Association (COHA), who all helped with Leena’s treatment and care. Leena requested that (if desired) memorial donations be made to BC Cancer Foundation, www.bccancerfoundation.com.

At Leena’s request, there will be no funeral or celebration of life.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.

Share with Others:

Share on Facebook
Share Via Email

BC Cancer Foundation Link: www.bccancerfoundation.com




  • Anna Iaconelli says:

    My deepest sympathies for your immense loss. Leena was always so kind and helpful. My heart goes out to you all.

Leave a Condolence Message for the Family

» To share your condolence on this page please fill out the requested fields.
» If you have a photo to share, please do so as families appreciate it. To share a photo (please note, just one photo per condolence please), click the 'Choose File' button and select a photo from your computer.
» Once you are done, click the 'Share' button.
» Your email is never published or shared. Your name and email are both required.

NOTE: all messages will go through an administrative process before being posted.