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VOL. 79 PART 2 MARCH 2021
days of the AIDS crisis, when little was known about the disease and much
suspicion and fear attached to it, Kelly acted for a father who was HIV-
positive and had been denied access to his children by his ex-wife. Kelly was
able to demonstrate to the court that her client posed no risk to the children
and succeeded in gaining him regular access to his children, a precedent
that was followed in other cases.
As her former law partner Guy Whitman observes:
Kelly had a great deal of common sense, which was particularly evident
at partners’ meetings, where it seems to be such a rare commodity. When
Kelly made a comment, everyone listened. She was just what a lawyer
should be: smart, tough but compassionate, hardworking, always prepared
and thoroughly knowledgeable and, above all, sensible and realistic.
On a side note, she had a very impressive pen collection in her office!
Kelly was very modest about her accomplishments at the bar. She rarely
spoke about her cases and seemed oblivious to the great esteem in which
she was held by the Victoria bar. Her greatest loves were her family and her
home in Oak Bay, where she lived her whole adult life.
Six years ago, while riding her bike to work (which she did every day, rain
or shine), Kelly was hit by a car and seriously injured. She struggled for four
years to recover sufficiently to return to work, which she was determined
to do, and was on the cusp of an almost full recovery when tragedy struck
again with a fatal cancer diagnosis. True to her fighting spirit, Kelly endured
countless rounds of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery only to have the
cancer spread relentlessly throughout her body. She ultimately succumbed
to it three weeks before Christmas in the apocalyptic year of 2020.
Kelly was equally admired among the support staff at her firm. Former
Crease Harman receptionist Wilma Sayer offered up the following memories
I am deeply saddened to hear of Kelly’s passing. Such a tremendous loss.
I doubt that Shakespeare could have written a greater tragedy. I always
admired her sharp wit, her feistiness and that laugh! Hearing her laugh
always made me smile, and it brings me a bit of comfort to think of it.
Strangely enough, I had been thinking of her this past week and wondered
how she was doing since her bike accident. It shook me to the core
when I saw her obituary. Most of you, her colleagues, worked with and
knew Kelly much longer than I did, and I send you my deepest condolences
and hope you find comfort in remembering her uniqueness. I
would like to share a quote I heard recently that I think describes the
Kelly that I remember … “She was a flamboyant streak of lightening that
lit up the landscape, and she didn’t stint on the thunder!” May her memory
bring you peace and comfort in the coming months.
Rest in peace, dearest Kelly.
Catherine L. Woods, Q.C., and Lawrie Spooner