Shelley passed away peacefully at home, with her family at her side, on Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Shelley loved, and was deeply loved by her partner Gary Vantell. Together, they were part of the Whitehorse community and enjoyed camping, canoeing and travelling throughout Canada and beyond, usually with their dog Diesel. Shelley’s “Giv-er” approach was tempered by Gary’s “No need for a Suffer Fest” style and together they lived life fully.
Family was very important to Shelley. She was predeceased by her parents Maurice and Carole. She was loved and supported by her brothers Robert and Shaun. She was a loving aunt to Jordan, Connor, Tyson and Quassi as well as Quassi’s daughter Camilla.
Remembered by step-sister Barb (Paul Mondor) and the Mondor family; step-brothers Gerry and Robert Prystupa and their families, Aunt Gwen and Uncle Vic Bartnik and their families, the Gellatly families in Manitoba; Kerry and Kim and the Manness families Lori-Jean, Michelle and Ron.
Shelley was a much-loved member of Gary’s family; mother Ina, brother Jack (Spike), sister and brother-in-law Irene and Gord Lubbers, nieces Hilary and Tanya (Les Oulton), and their young daughters Everley, Sawyer and stepdaughter Rylee.
Shelley’s contributions to health and fitness, wellness and active living are well known throughout the Yukon and beyond. Her successful careers with Parks Canada, Yukon Government and as an athletic therapist gave her many opportunities to live her love of nature, of challenge and accomplishment and most importantly to her, making a difference in the lives of others. She loved teaching, coaching and mentoring and she inspired more people than she ever realized.
She was an exceptional athlete, regularly planning for and participating in ultra-marathon runs, hikes of any length and duration, cycling events, multi-day canoe trips and solo paddles, cross country skiing, bike and road relays – just about anything that would let her be out in nature with good friends. As such, she leaves behind many communities and activities that will miss her encouraging and positive presence deeply.
Shelley paddled in the Yukon River Quest for almost 15 years with her long time Team WHOA friends; Noreen, Lynda, Beth, Patty, Margo, Verena, Tunde, Silvia, Yvonne, Julia, Lisa, Christine and many others who joined in over the years. Shelley was training with Paddlers Abreast this past year; Lynn, Richelle, Penny, Tracey, Dawn, Monique and Asa. Shelley also was heavily involved with the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra race from the time of her first race in 2004 and cherished the wonderful friendships with racers and volunteers from all over the world – Robert, Gillian, Jessie, Marianne, Andy and many others. She welcomed racers to the Yukon and shared her expertise, skills, trail knowledge, do’s and don’ts, tips and tricks, clothing choices, overflow skills, and anything else she thought could help you achieve your goals. She also loved to participate in the scientific studies that were being conducted on racers – ever interested in the workings of the human body.
Within her circle of family, friends and colleagues, and in the larger Yukon community, Shelley’s gift was to encourage others to be active, take part and do their best. She shared her knowledge, expertise and equipment kindly and freely, challenging others when she felt it was required, and always doing it with a smile and her wonderful laugh.
She leaves behind a large group of friends from so many parts of her life, and a legacy of enthusiasm for the outdoors, for the Yukon she loved, and for strength, courage and grace.
Shelley’s family is grateful to the healthcare professionals who guided and provided compassionate care and comfort to Shelley over the last months – Dr. Alex Kmet, Dr. Robin Jamieson, Dr. Rachelle Blais and Rapid Response nurse Nikki Desaulniers and many others.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Shelley’s memory can be made to Callanish Society https://callanish.org, Hospice Yukon https://hospiceyukon.net or another charity of your choice. Shelley was enormously grateful that these groups were available to support her.
A celebration of Shelley’s life will be held on August 29, 2021 from 3-6 pm at Meadow Lakes Golf Club (subject to COVID protocols in effect).
Take the time to enjoy the trails, the lakes and rivers, the sky, clouds, stars, the wind, the birds and animals – all the glorious gifts that nature gives us. This will help keep Shelley close and she will continue to inspire us.
Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar
In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.
Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.
- Vote split affected outcome, Conservatives agree (27)
- Yukoners to send another Liberal to Ottawa (21)
- RCMP, government apologize over handling of charges against former EA (17)
- Third dose is for immuno-compromised Yukoners (16)
- RCMP offer residents help to prevent thefts in Whitehorse (13)
- Break-in spurs help for store owner (9)
- More cases reported, alert issued (8)
- Candidates assess Yukoners’ verdict (7)