More than 200 Chemainus and Crofton youngsters benefited from having Joke Slater as a teacher. (Photo submitted)

Devoted citizens worthy of praise

Valued community members will be missed

The great thing about living in a smaller community is how certain people stand out from the crowd.

Chances are you’ll run across the most active residents in some facet of their lives just because they’re involved in so many things and don’t get lost in the shuffle like they can in a big city.

Two people from different ways of life who died recently are a case in point. Joke Slater and Pnina Benyamini were well-known and admired from the many people they came in contact with during their regular endeavours.

More than 200 children who went through the pre-school system in Chemainus benefited from Slater’s teachings and have come to know the impact she made on their lives as they’ve grown older.

Slater, according to all who knew her, just had the right personality that made her a great educator. It takes a special person to get through to young children and maintain their interest so they‘re continually learning and evolving. Slater managed to accomplish a valued connection with kids.

Benyamini’s story crosses many lines because of her past and a sense of adventure that not only brought her to this country in the first place from Israel, but also served her well in everything she did during her many years in Chemainus.

Benyamini loved people and loved to teach them the things she knew best – whether it was yoga, belly dancing or cultural cooking like she did during her early years in the valley on a TV show. Her knowledge in those areas and others was unsurpassed, but she also thrived from seeing how people responded to her teachings.

It kept her motivated, even when her fight with cancer persisted for 16 years. It never stopped Benyamini because she was determined to live her life to the fullest and give back something to the community.

And we should also mention in the wider context of the Cowichan Valley about Bhagwan Mayer, who died Nov. 12. He was instrumental in bringing the World’s Largest Hockey Stick and Puck to its resting place on the Cowichan Community Centre in the late 1980s.

To such valued citizens, we’re grateful for the memories and contributions to our communities.

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