We Remember

WINSBY, Alice Miriam

The family of Alice Winsby is saddened to announce her passing on July 5, 2023, at the age of 101 in West Kelowna, BC.

Born in Winnipeg to Bill and Minnie Thompson, Alice grew up in the Dunbar area of Vancouver, BC. She married her husband Roy in 1943 while he served in the Canadian Army. Following the Second World War, the couple moved to Kelowna, BC, where Roy worked as a pharmacist for Willits Taylor Drugs and Alice worked for several years at the Daily Courier.

Subsequent moves took them to Port Moody, BC and Comox, BC.

The newspaper job wasn’t something she’d planned. Her real passion was theatre. She’d taken on publicity for a Kelowna Little Theatre production. Armed with actors’ photos and stories she had written about each cast member, she marched into the managing editor and asked if the theatre group could get some publicity. The managing editor asked her how long it had taken to write each story and was told 20 minutes to a half-hour. After three requests, she consented to working at the paper, but on condition that she could find help to look after her young school-aged children. What she hadn’t been told was this was no simple writing job. The ‘women’s editor’ was retiring and Alice would be taking her place.

One of her favourite stories about the paper was the opportunity to cover Princess Margaret’s visit to Kelowna for the opening of the Okanagan Lake Bridge in 1958. There was to be only one “official” description of how the Princess was attired. Alice wrote it and media all over the world used it.

During her years with Kelowna Little Theatre, she won a Best Actress and three Best Supporting Actress awards in regional festivals. Kelowna wasn’t the only place she performed. She started at 16 with the Vancouver Community Players. On the Courtenay Little Theatre website, you can still see Alice’s name listed for 8 plays she directed in the 1960s and 70s while living in Comox.

She has been a director, production manager and front-of-house manager.

Her background in acting no doubt stood her in good stead when she entered a different type of theatre — politics. She’d say there’s nothing more effective than a dramatic pause, a measured turn of phrase, or a double-take to get your opponent’s attention. Alice was elected to the Comox Valley School Board and served for 13 years, then sat on the Comox Council for 2 years before returning to the Okanagan. She was also a long-standing member of the Women’s Liberal Commission.

Although Alice was active with community theatre when she retuned to Kelowna, she traded in the acting stage for the music stage. She got involved with the Kelowna Philharmonic and spent 6 years as its president. Never seeming to get enough of the arts, she donated her time and experience to the board of the City of Kelowna Arts Foundation and as a liaison to Theatre Kelowna and to the Festival Singers.

Alice is survived by her sons Bryden (Colleen) of West Kelowna, Malcolm (Edna) of North Vancouver; grandchildren Bryden John and Meghan, and their mother Deb; step-grandchildren Tira and Trina and their families; and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents; sister Muriel; and her husband Frank.

The family extends sincere appreciation to the staff of Lakeview Lodge in West Kelowna for the wonderful care she received during her 10 years there.

Time and location of a remembrance gathering will be announced at a later date.

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

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