With great sadness we announce the passing of our dearest Mary, who gently died in VGH on September 21, after suffering a major stroke at home.  She leaves behind her niece Pam and great nieces Paula and Kirsty in South Africa, Victoria family Andy, Deb and Callayna her best friend and housemate of 27 years.  Also, four treasured godchildren – Calum, Emma, Phoenix and Bruce and countless friends across Canada and the world.

Mary was born and raised the youngest of three children in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Upon completing university, she worked briefly as a Nanny in London before emigrating to Prince George, BC, to begin her career in teaching. After relocating to Victoria in 1965, she remained a passionate and dedicated educator who further served as President of the Sooke BCFT and Director of Instruction at the Sooke School Board, prior to retirement.

Mary had a wide range of interests, which lead to many friendships and community connections. She was a lifelong sportswoman who loved kayaking, grass hockey, distance hiking and tennis. She completed a solo walk of the Camino De Santiago at age seventy-five and continued to win competitive medals in swimming, well into her eighties.

Mary was also committed to community engagement and social justice.  As a longtime member of St John, the Divine, she worked tirelessly over the years on projects benefitting the congregation and community, including St. Johns walking group, youth homelessness, peace initiatives and conflict resolution.

However, as her many friends will attest, Mary also enjoyed a great zest for living, along with a dry sense of humor.  She had an abiding affection for animals and received great joy over the years from her many pets, especially her two beloved Airedales, Tessa and Sophie. She traveled extensively and had an epic reputation as a hostess, including her decades long Annual Easter Egg and Bottle Hunt parties. Mary’s generosity was further seen in the shelter and unfailing hospitality she offered to all manner of travelers, itinerant artists, strays and fellow pilgrims.

Our Mary was much loved by her family, friends and faith community and will be deeply missed. We give thanks for her life and wish her love and godspeed.

Funeral service will take place at St. John the Divine Anglican Church, 1611 Quadra Street, on Friday, October 1, 2021 at 2:00 pm.  Due to COVID restrictions, space will be limited and registration is required. We request attendees be fully vaccinated and wear masks. To reserve a space please contact the church office admin@stjohnthedivine.bc.ca or 250-383-7169 ext. 226.

The service will also be live-streamed at https://www.stjohnthedivine.bc.ca/live

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens







  • Garth MacPhee

    I had the good fortune to share in friendship with Mary during my time as Music Director at St John the Divine Church. Along with our good friends Diana MacDonald and Helen Money, we often played spirited games of doubles tennis. Mary was also an enthusiastic member of the 9.15 Family Choir at SJD, and hosted lovely choir parties at her home. Mary was tremendous fun and amazingly energetic. She was a thoughtful, compassionate individual whose wit and joie de vivre were unforgettable. Those whose lives she touched will carry her memory with them always, and I count myself among them.

  • Laura K. Bird

    I met Mary through St. John the Divine. She had so many gifts. She would construct challenging questions in a discussion, and her smile and laugh were truly soothing. She opened her home so often, to so many. My sincere condolences to all of her family, those who are related and those that she found and chose. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

  • Scott McKinnon

    Saddened to hear of Mrs Alfred’s passing..there weren’t many teachers in my upbringing that had influenced me as she did, I remembered her fondly as my grade 9 history teacher who definitely had her own style and grace..and after reading her obituary of her life I realized that what she taught,she lived.

  • Adrien Brown

    Mary was an educator ahead of her time and Sooke School District was the benefactor of her many gifts. She was creative, dynamic and energetic in her leadership. She jumped on board finding the funds to offer Conflict Resolution Training for all school administrators before other districts had even heard of it. She was an inspiring mentor for me and and I’m deeply appreciative of working with her during the Sooke chapter of her life. Mary enriched and impacted so many lives.

  • Linda Burton

    I met Mary at the Crystal Pool and at bridge games. It was a privilege to know such an interesting lady.

  • Les

    What a friend she was – and a very active, creative member of the very successfup Murder Mystery Weekend group which I was fortunate enough to belong to when Mary was a very stimulating contributor. Back then I was the only up-Island member of the troupe but Mary welcomed me warmly for each new ‘murder’……….
    Condolences to members of the family.

  • Carol Christensen

    I have known Mary for over 40 years, beginning when she was a feisty little red head teaching at Belmont High School. She was supervising student teachers and I came to visit her classroom. What a treat! As it turned out, we ended up working together for 10 years in the Sooke School District board office. I had the special task of finding her car keys. We used to go to the opera together, but for me it was just a time to spend with Mary. I will miss you, Mary.

  • McCall Gardens

    Condolences sent from Elinor Powell

  • Susan Warren

    I know I am speaking for all of Silver Streaks Swim Team at the Crystal Pool to say how much we all miss Mary. She was always such a cheerful, humorous person to have around, even if her 2 arm back stroke drove her fellow lane swimmers to distraction, worrying that they might soon get hit by the Silver Bullet swimming towards them. She loved her dogs and fellow human beings and was loved in return. We will all miss you Mary.

  • Marie Stevens

    Mary touched every heart that was blessed to be in her company.
    I’ve only seen her smile over the years, and that twinkle in her eyes is everlasting in my memory above all else.
    My thoughts are with all her family, loved ones and friends.
    I take this moment knowing Callayna, Andrew & Deb so well may I send you my heartfelt condolences and love.
    Godspeed Mary … until we meet again.

  • Caroline Frank, Ce’Nedra, CaitLynn and Justin Mutanda

    Our deepest condolences to and prayers to the family and friends. Our prayers are with you all

  • Christine Stewart

    I worked with Mary at Sooke School District until her retirement. She was a lovely, smart and generous lady. Mary, you left a mark on the earth and so many will miss you.

Leave Condolence

Type your condolence message into the box below and click "Submit". It may take up to 24 hours for it to appear. Your email address will not be published.


Search Website