Animal Advocates of B.C.
A COOPERATIVE OF ANIMAL-LOVERS AND ACTION-TAKERS        
"Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace." Albert Schweitzer 1875 - 1965

Elizabeth Georgina Eckert (nee Fairbrother)
October 13, 1951 to July 16, 2002

ELIZABETH - BEST FRIEND AND DIRECTOR OF AAS
Elizabeth's long career - her life at Norco bikes

Elizabeth, Brian and Dogs.JPG (34143 bytes)
Elizabeth and Brian with Stella and Sheba.   Stella is an AAS rescue.  The family was increased by one more black dog last year
when Elizabeth and Brian took another
rescue, a near starving pup, now named Sammy.

Brian has raised many fences at AAS foster homes and donated one of his beautiful watercolours of a North Shore creek to an
AAS raffle.

Elizabeth has done so much for AAS that it is hard to know where to start.  Perhaps with the things she has given to AAS that are beyond measure - the cheerful way she just pitches in and gets it done, her ready ear and sympathy, her years of completely uncritical support, her sense of humour.  She is a rock, and AAS has called on her kindness and good sense many, many times.  It is always there, and has kept us going more times than she would ever believe herself.

Elizabeth was born  an advocate for the underdog .  Even as a child she would stand up for others less fortunate and was never tolerant of cruelty towards people with disabilities or who had challenges or trouble fitting into whatever the "norm" was deemed to be.

She has a natural  affinity for all creatures.  She feels their pain as if it were her own pain. She was born an advocate for the underdog.  Even as a child she would stand up for others less fortunate.  She would not tolerate cruelty towards animals nor people with disabilities who may have had trouble fitting in to what the norm was deemed to be. She had a natural affinity for all little creatures.  Her love of animals led her to change her lifestyle by becoming a vegetarian  rather than to further contribute to the unnecessary slaughter of animals.  Her vegetarian lifestyle was in keeping with her compassionate views towards animals

People like Elizabeth are born that way. 

Elizabeth, Monica, and bike.JPG (39231 bytes)
In practical terms she's no slouch either! She is generous and she has talked her employer into being generous to AAS too.  In fact, she used the esteem she is held in by her firm to get bikes for AAS raffles, three of them! The photo shows the bike won by Monica Magnetti's son.

And she did all the hard work of helping Pandora's Vox to put on a terrific fund-raising concert at the Centennial Theatre in North Van, and she did it while flying back east for her job and taking care of her family and her dogs! 

She and Brian have fostered for us, adding crazy AAS dogs to the dog pile, and coping without complaint.

It's true - if you want something done - ask a busy person!

No charity can do much without people like Elizabeth, and there is no way of saying adequately what she means to us. You'd have to meet her.

Elizabeth Memoriam 2003.jpg (24710 bytes)

July 16, 2003 In Memoriam: Sun and Province:

Your beautiful smile is forever etched in our memory.
The wisdom, courage and grace bestowed on us all by you during the last months of your life will always be treasured.
You strived to make the world a better place by contributing generously of your resources and time towards abused animals.
Even as a young child, you made a difference by standing up for those less fortunate, overriding cruelty or unkindness. Always unselfish.
You were uniquely Elizabeth – the love and lessons you imparted to us all will be carried deep within our hearts.
One year ago today, you left on a hot summer morning – a few wispy light clouds streaking the deep blue sky. With you, you took a piece of us all.
Elizabeth, a beautiful face, shining eyes, a heart as big as gold, forever youthful, truly an inspiration.
As my only sister, I dedicate the song “Forever Autumn” by The Moody Blues to your memory...You will always be with me, Love Margaret.
 
Sadly missed, With Much Love –Mum, Dad, Ralph, Margaret and everyone in the family.

ECKERT, ELIZABETH (Sun and Province: 2004)

Two brief years ago today, your spirit soared.  You were in my dreams, you gently kissed my face and disappeared into the wind.  You now are the wind, sun, moon and stars!

Your memory is everywhere; in the bright bold yellow sunflowers, black dogs, Norco’s logo, crisp white jeans, a sunny morning, Starbucks coffee, the North Shore Mountains, music, and in shining silver jewelry, which we both shared the love of!

Elizabeth, a wonderful mother to Chloe and Chandra.  Your family and friends have their own special memories of you, these are treasured.  Your love was the greatest gift of all!  Your early departure left a deep sadness in our hearts.  You are to me, “Forever Autumn” by the Moody Blues. 

Always will love you, 
Your sister Margaret

In memory of Elizabeth: her dignity, humour, loyalty, work ethic, and unselfish nature, the following kind people made a donation to Animal Advocates Society for the
Elizabeth Eckert Memorial Fund for Animal Welfare:
(click here for the stories of the animals Elizabeth's fund is helping)

Bartels Family (California)
Bay Cycle and Sports (Ontario)
Bayview Cycles (Ontario)
Donna Boone
Boyd Family (California)
Bow Cycle and Motor (Calgary)
Elizabeth Bradley
Heather Carruthers
Merle Cobbe
Bettine and Ken Cramner (England)
Credit Concept (Quebec)
Credit Institute of Canada (BC Chapter)
CUPE local 389
Heather Dockrill
Myrna Eager
Brian Eckert
Julie and Ray Eckert
Catherine and Ralph Fairbrother
James Fraser
Carole Gamley
Margaret and Ed Garrison
Sheila Gibson and Paul Snazell (England)
Jane Goto (Seattle)
Gladys Grey
Linda Walkem Hall
Jim and Pauline Harmon
Jutta Hieber
Mieko Hino
Lisa Jaggard
Peggy Kuzniak
Marian Lesser
Bert Lewis
McCoustra Family (Scotland)
Dorothy McDonald
MacKenzie Family (Scotland)
Audri Makowy
Mabel Marriot
Jean and Norman Marley
Sarah Middleton
Joyce Miko
Gail Moerkerken
Marlene Morris
Mayme Morris
Louise Nagle
Hiroko Nakagawa
Florence Newman
Norco Products Ltd
North Vancouver City
Asako Ochiai
Carol and Brian O'Hanlon
Ann Pennant and Vern Thotzky
John Petrie
Jeri-Lyn Ratzlaff
RCMP North Vancouver Rec Club
REDL Sports Distributors
Margaret Redpath
Roberge Trucking
Jocelyn Rocheleau
Maureen and Norman Root (England)
Chrissie and Cyril Root (England)
Sams Family (California)
Lana Simon
Smith Family (Scotland)
Mohan Soor
Sports Industry Credit Association
Debbie and Mario Stefani
Alexandra Stolte
Judy Stone
Skip Swain
Greg Tait
Roberta Tottle
Valdez Family (California)
Barbara Verhaeghe
Trevor Walden
Margaret and Frank Warder
Barbara Welonek and Yves Barillec
Julie Wiebe
Winnifred Williamson
Nate and Sam Zalkow, Taymor Industries
Lavone Zeviar

Elizabeth's Eulogy,  given by Judy Stone, AAS president
and  friend of Elizabeth's

When Elizabeth asked me to speak at her service, I said I would but that she had to write it with me, so I sat beside her hospital bed and took notes and  Elizabeth and I wrote this eulogy together.  We did lots of things together, so it is very fitting that we decided to do this together too.     We did so much work together:  and we talked and planned and giggled and gossiped together so many times, usually early in the morning.   Both of us are early birds: so when I would see “Eckert” come up on call display at the crack of dawn, I’d think, Oh, good! Elizabeth! 

Now it’s Elizabeth’s turn to speak, but first I have to tell you that it was darned hard getting Elizabeth to talk about herself at all.  I wanted her to talk about her feelings for animals and how she came to love them enough to work so hard on their behalf. 

 She wanted to talk about how proud she was to be a director of Animal Advocates Society, and to be able to get to know people involved in animal welfare, and what, in her words, was “an honour and a blessing”. 

 So here is our compromise.   Here are Elizabeth’s words about a part of her life that had great meaning for her.

  “I have been so blessed by getting to know so many good people over the last six years that I have worked with Animal Advocates.  I was blown away when I discovered all these people who felt the same way that I did.  Brian and I had our dear Sheebie,  who we got (I now know) from a back yard breeder, and when we decided to get a friend for her we didn’t want to do that again, we wanted to give a home to a homeless dog, so we phoned AAS and ended up fostering the famous Sabrina.  Sabrina was a little shepherd cross who had never been in a house, and had barely been touched in her life, so she was almost like a wild creature. She became famous when Brian took her for a walk at Mosquito Creek and she twisted her head out of her collar and ran away, up the mountain.  Poor Brian came home with a leash attached to an empty collar!  For ten days, a network of hundreds of dog-lovers on the North Shore looked for Sabrina, and after being spotted many times up and down the creek, Sabrina finally found her way back – to us!  We knew we weren’t quite up to handling a dog with Sabrina’s needs (not yet anyway), so Sabrina went to a foster home that had more experience.  But we were in it now, and I realized for the first time how many good people were trying to prevent animal suffering and I knew that I wanted to keep helping.

 As a child I was so drawn to animals, I could not bear to see one dead or injured, it would be devastating.  That is why I became a vegetarian. And that is why I wanted to get involved with people who felt the way I did.

 So when Judy told me about a young dog that looked just like Sheba that needed fostering, Brian and I said, Yes.  Judy told us that this dog was a real “keeper” and she was!  That was  Stellie, our second black dog.

 By now I realized that black dogs are not as valued as other dogs and are so commonly “thrown away”, so when we saw poor skinny black Sammy, who was such a handful, we knew that he might end up in the wrong place, so Sammy joined our black-dog family too. 

 Working with other animal lovers and getting to know so many selfless people has been such a blessing and an honour. I felt like I was really doing something important.”

The honour was on my side – I was so proud to have a woman of Elizabeth’s calibre a part of AAS.  And I am the one blessed  – to have had a friend like Elizabeth.

 Aside from those precious early morning phone calls, Elizabeth helped me with the fiddly financial details of running a society.  She delighted in rolling up her sleeves and getting the numbers all in order.  She would come early to my house with Beans Around The World coffee and muffins and we would work at the boring paperwork details. Elizabeth would write cards and address envelopes in her beautiful handwriting and we’d talk about animals, and our lives, but we always got a lot of work done, because Elizabeth was a worker.

She organized all the business details of the concert that Pandora’s Vox held for us at the Centennial Theatre and she sold more tickets than the rest of us put together. It wasn’t easy to turn Elizabeth down when she told you how important it was to buy a ticket and attend the concert!

 And she provided three gorgeous bikes from her generous employer,   Norco, for raffles, and she sold hundreds of raffle tickets too – the same way she sold concert tickets, quietly but determinedly convincing you that it was important to buy the tickets.

 In fact, that was the way that Elizabeth fulfilled another job she did for AAS.  She was the “follow-up person” for many of our adoptions, going to the dog’s new home, talking about the dog’s needs and behaviours, helping to get the dog settled in and everyone feeling comfortable, getting the papers signed and getting the adoption donation.  Who better?   She was a genius at politely but firmly extracting the money! We had so many laughs about sending the “collector”!

 Elizabeth Eckert is still my friend, and she will always be my friend.   She gave me all the things a friend is supposed to give:  laughs, sound advice, quiet affection, loyalty, common sense ideas, hands-on help, and non-critical, always kind, support.  None of that is gone -  it is all in a reserve of friendship, a magic well of Elizabeth-ness that is never empty.   I can draw on it anytime, night or day. I am drawing on it right now – she would not cry at what can’t be helped; she would just deal with it; find a solution; get it done; and have a laugh while doing it.

Elizabeth and I talked about how the rescue work will go on and that every time we help a black dog it will be done in her memory. 

Elizabeth, your love and help for animals lives on in your dogs you loved so much and understood so well, Stellie, Sheebie, and Sammy, and in all the other animals that you will go on helping, because of the foundation work you did to make AAS the Society you were proud of. 

 I have a framed motto at home that describes Elizabeth perfectly to me:

“Life is mostly froth and bubble,

Two things stand alone:

Kindness in another’s trouble,

Courage in your own."

Elizabeth’s remorseless cancer finally took her body – but it did not have a hope of taking her spirit. Up to the very end, Elizabeth did not talk about herself, did not impose her suffering on others.  She worried about others’ suffering, her family’s, her friend’s and animal’s.

Elizabeth is a person who I have been honoured to know, and her example will be a blessing and a strength to me until we walk our dogs together again.

ELIZABETH'S CAREER - HER LIFE AT NORCO

Elizabeth’s career at Norco started on March 30th, 1970 when she was 19 years old, after she graduated from Gladstone Secondary School in 1969.

What a wonderful 32-year career she has had at Norco. And what an amazing contribution she has made to Norco, her co-workers, and our customers.

When Elizabeth started at Norco, in their 1st. Ave location, there was only a staff of 4-5 people .

In the beginning Elizabeth’s duties included  invoicing, general office, phone sales, order packing and shipping, and more importantly, politely listening to salesmen’s bad jokes or patiently trying to balance sample accounts.

This was a very different Norco from the company today. When the pipes froze in the early 70’s we all had to walk two blocks to the washroom at a nearby gas station. Still Elizabeth persevered.

In 1973 Norco moved to the Lake City location in Burnaby, and it was after this move that Elizabeth wanted to work in credit. As her responsibilities grew, Elizabeth felt it was important to continue her education and she started on that long-term goal by taking courses at the Canadian Credit Institute.

She graduated in 1986 with the MCI designation winning several awards including the highest honors mark for Mercantile Credit.

The credit dept responsibility was then handed over to Elizabeth who continued to improve on the company’s track record.

Norco continued to grow and so did Elizabeth’s responsibilities as branches were opened across the country and in Seattle.

As the Corporate Credit Manager she was responsible for granting all company credit. A very difficult job, with huge responsibility, which she always handled very professionally.

 It would be very hard to find a person that deserves and has earned more respect in our industry than Elizabeth.

She was the utmost professional in an often difficult position. She treated all people fairly and with respect. That respect came back to her ten-fold. She could very graciously communicate Norco’s viewpoint and at the same time be very compassionate to a dealer or co workers concerns.

 To all at Norco and the Industry she was a good friend, co-worker, and mentor. She was my sounding board for difficult situations. She was a great judge of character, and she always found the positives in people, and made you understand and think about those positives.

At the same time she never let any of us rest on our laurels. She always challenged us to improve and work harder. The strong energy that she possessed was a lesson and inspiration to us all, and will live on in our hearts.

Elizabeth wanted to win, but she was a team player willing to help in any situation.

When Norco moved into its current building in 1995, with the many challenges that moving a warehouse involved, and the warehouse staff had logged a lot of overtime, Elizabeth went downstairs after hours and began washing plastic parts bins.

Elizabeth loved to meet our customers and enjoyed the many relationships she had with them. She liked to get out on the road, have a good laugh, and enjoy a glass of wine.

In Quebec she had an amazing ability to look like she understood French!

Even in her last few months with us she made a made a point of letting us know her ideas concerning a number of customers. When we to the hospital for visits she wanted to talk shop. But that was Elizabeth; she loved her job.  She told us how much she had missed work when she was off ill. She couldn’t wait to get back. It was an important part of her life.

The Norco family was very fortunate to have someone with her ability, loyalty, and integrity for the past 32 years, and we, like everyone here, will miss her profoundly. From the very start Elizabeth was one of a kind, whether you knew her as a friend or business associate. Since her beginning at Norco she was one of our prized jewels that most companies only wished they had. There aren’t many examples in any company of  the dedication and pride to do things with as much accuracy and care as Elizabeth.

Elizabeth enjoyed talking about her love for the simple things in life, and the importance of appreciating them. Spending time with family, a good cup of coffee, a walk with the dogs, a relaxing breakfast on the weekend, or spending time in the garden.

She cherished all of these times.

A few months ago Elizabeth was given Lance Armstrong’s book, “It’s not about the bike.” Elizabeth fought a courageous fight against this horrible disease. It was a fight she fought with grace, class and dignity, the same way she lived her life.

What a wonderful legacy she has left for all of us.

Skip Swain,
National Sales Manager


© 2002  
Animal Advocates Society of B.C. Canada