Jean was in her 100th year on December 18th when she died with family by her side. She was still living in her home on Tyndall Avenue that she and Geoff built in 1951. Jean was born in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Victoria, on Sunday July 29, 1923, to Margaret (nee Dunn) and Harold Beckwith. She was educated at Sir James Douglas, Quadra and Monterey Elementary Schools, Oak Bay High School, Victoria College (Craigdarroch) and the Provincial Normal School (now the Young Building of Camosun College). She was predeceased by her husband, Geoff in 2000, her sister Sheila Gould in 2015 and her brother John Beckwith, who passed just two weeks before her. She is survived by 53 offspring: daughters Sharon in Oliver, Wendy (Dennis) in Victoria, Heather and Gail in Shawnigan Lake, Stephanie in Metchosin and their sons Ian (Jodi)in Sooke and Michael in Saanichton, 16 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren. She also has many step-grandchildren and their families, her brother-in-law Cecil Gould in Victoria, her dearest long-time friends Iris Tweedy of Osoyoos and June Mussenden in Victoria and several nieces and nephews.
Before she married, she taught at Yount School in Youbou, grades 4, 5, & 6 in one classroom, for two years during WWII. Then one very happy year at North Saanich High School at her first Physical Education job, her specialty. She discovered her love for singing at a young age, with her brother and mother in the choir at Christ Church Cathedral. She followed this up years later, after raising her family, with over two decades singing with the City of Gardens Chapter of Sweet Adelines and many years as an active member of the choir at St. Dunstan’s Church.
Jean loved gardening – weeding was actually her favourite – especially with her dahlias in the last three decades. She has many winning ribbons from showing her lovely flowers. She took great joy in sharing her flowers and plants at her stand and donating the proceeds to various charities. Her love of supporting many local charities brought her great pride and joy as well as many friends along the way. She enjoyed traveling, reading, playing Scrabble and bridge, sewing, weeding, driving, dancing, playing and coaching lawn bowling, among other sports. As one of the five founding members of the Gordon Head Lawn Bowling club, she became a certified Umpire and Blind Bowling Coach. Jean dreamed about flying from the age of 10, she achieved that goal by obtaining her pilot’s licence at age 49. Jean was an avid Toronto Blue Jays baseball fan, making many trips to see them play, including attending games at both the 1992 and 1993 World Series. Tennis was a passion in her younger years, winning many trophies as a teenager and playing as a member of the Victoria Racquet Club. She attended Wimbledon more than once and the French Open just a few years ago, hoping to see her heartthrob, Roger Federer, but just missed him by a day.
She was a loyal member and past president of her Mother’s Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, as well as other local chapters in later years. Her love of flowers, music, children, friends, sports and fitness was lifelong. Many thanks to her devoted family physician of many years, Dr. Kier MacMillan and Dr. Elizabeth Thompson and VGH staff for their wonderful care in Jean’s final few days.
A celebration of Jean’s life will take place at St. Luke’s Church on Sunday January 15, 2023 at 2 pm with a reception to follow. Livestream of the service will be available at https://www.stlukesvictoria.ca
Donations in Jean’s memory can be made to The Cridge Centre for the Family or the Alzheimer’s Society of BC.
Condolences may be offered to the family below.
Ian MacLeod Baird
To the family of Jean McLeod Vantreight
My most sincere condolences. We met at the Victoria Dahlia Society tuber sale. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting her and we met a few times after. She told me stories of early Gordon Head and it turned we knew some of the same people. She will be missed by everyone who knew her. Once again, my most sincere condolences on the passing of a wonderful lady.
Ian MacLeod Baird
Sharen, Wendy, Ian, Heather, Gail, Michael and Stephanie,
I send my condolences to my seven Vantreight cousins and their families on Aunt Jean’s passing. Some of you I have spoken to, and to the others I send my Happiness in knowing and interfacing with your mother. The memories will remain as inspiration for me to live whole-heartedly for myself and for others.
Alison Campbell (2nd cousin)
To all of Jean’s children, please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your Mother. She was a special person, who gave much to her community.
Wowww Jean was an amazing woman !!! We were so proud to know you! A big hug to all her sons & daughters. Yola & Jorge (parents of Joel ) Mexico
What is stronger
Than the human heart
Which shatters over and over
And still lives
so many wonderful adventures of a full life lived will always be in our hearts and will always be part of cherished memories. My thoughts & prayers are with you
So sorry to learn another cousin has died. Jean had a good and long and interesting life. Hugs to that huge family of hers .
In seeing Jean’s obituary, I was moved to share the story of my brief yet never-forgotten connection with her many years ago. In what was probably one of many ways in which she supported the arts, Jean contributed to an annual award for a student studying voice at the University of Victoria, and a couple of decades ago I received this award. Recipients of scholarships often received requests to write thank you notes to their benefactors, but for the Jean Vantreight award the request was that she be able to meet the student who received the award – so off went 19-yr-old me to her house for a tea visit. I remember her being a gracious hostess and having a truly lovely time with her – and I have always remembered the tour of her spectacular dahlias. In fact, my fondness for dahlias continues to this day, and my gardening plans at our recently-moved-to forever home include a riot of dahlias, which I always associate with that lovely afternoon visit with Jean so long ago. Jean kindly attended some of my student concerts around that time, and her support was meaningful at the start of a lifelong journey, since my path did indeed lead me to be a professional singer and teacher. If she made such a lasting impression on me from so few moments spent together, I can only imagine how treasured she was by family and friends. I send my condolences to all in memory of a special lady.
Mary Ann Griffin
Greg and Mary Ann Griffin
What a wonderful life your mother lived.
Our thoughts are with you.
An exceptional beautiful woman.
Thinking of all of you.
Rest in peace Jean
There are some who bring
so great to the world
that even after they
have gone the light
So very sorry to hear of Jeans passing. My husband and I came to know Jean through the Victoria Dahlia Society, in which she always had great input in volunteering, growing and showing her beautiful blooms. We will miss her enthusiasm and her gardening knowledge, always passing on her worthwhile tips. Jean will be truly missed by so many, we will cherish all the wonderful memories. With our sympathy to the whole family.
Teresa & Phil
I had the pleasure and delight of singing with Jean in the City of Gardens Chorus. When I first joined she took me under her wing and showed me the ropes. Jean had a long active life and leaves many good memories behind to spread her sustaining warmth and love. My sincere condolences to the family.
Christine Daniels, Pacific Edge Chorus,
It is with very sad hearts we hear this news of Jean,
Jean has left so many wonderful memories with our chorus. One having a plane full of daffodils on our way to contest. There will always be a place in our hearts for Jean our singing sister. Our love, prayers and thought go out to the family at this sad time.
Thanks for the memories Jean.
Pacific Edge Chorus
Re. City of Gardens Chorus
Piet& Dit van Gelderen
Stephanie & Casey,
Stephanie, I’m sorry for the loss of your Mother; and Casey your Grandmother.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.
To all 7 of my Vantreight cousins and families–
I am so sorry and sad to hear of Aunt Jean’s passing. Sending love, peace and comfort to y’all. I will be watching the live stream and thinking of y’all during this difficult time.
Caroline (Loker) Noya
Dear Vantreight cousins (S, W, I, H, G, M, S),
I am so sorry to hear about Aunt Jean’s passing. I have so many fun, funny and fond memories of her from our childhood visits to Victoria from New Orleans as well as my visits up there until 2010. I remember her visits to us in New Orleans as well! She certainly lived a very full life and had many adventures to tell us about over the years. She will be missed and remembered fondly by so many. I’m so sorry that I won’t be able to attend her services, but I will plan to tune in. Hugs and prayers! ❤
Jim or Joan Rogers
Special friends do not go away, they stay beside us every day. Always in my heart ❤️
What a wonderful woman she was. She stayed at our house in Mexico City. She loved Mexican papaya fruit and she wanted to eat it every morning. We had a gardenia plant and that remind her of her wedding bouquet. She was full of love and energy.
She will be missed. We send a big hug from our heart to all her siblings.
Yola and Jorge Castel (Joel’s parents)