December 19, 1927 – February 9, 2019
Maria Van Bibber, 91, peacefully passed away on Saturday, February 9, 2019 at Copper Ridge in Whitehorse. Maria was a woman full of grace and wisdom. She lived a good life working hard but always taking time to appreciate and enjoy life. Maria was never one to sit around she always had to be doing something or going somewhere. She was a dedicated matriarch even in her late eighties she was like a mother bear when it came to caring for great grandchildren. She was always busy and wanting to help in any way she could. Maria lived through many changes in the north from steamboats and dog teams, all the way to the era of computers and smart phones. Maria was an avid reader and had a love of learning new things. She loved to travel and loved to curl. She lobbied hard to get a curling rink at Pelly. When she was no longer a player, she became a big fan, watching all the tournaments on TV.
Maria worked many different jobs starting with trapping and cutting wood for the steamboats in her teen years, later she became a community health representative in Mayo and Pelly. After her retirement, she then launched a new career as an interpretative guide at the Fort Selkirk Historic Site, where she would “talk to the tourists” about growing up there and the Northern Tutchone way of life. Maria was a good hunter, getting her first moose at age 13 and later became the principle hunter in the family when George lost the use of one arm during the 1953 polio epidemic. Even in her eighties, she liked to go hunting with her sister Betty.
Maria will be forever remembered by all who knew her for her sense of humour and generosity of spirit. She is survived by her sister Betty Joe (Danny), daughters, Joanne (Chris), Jean (Graham) and Marilyn (Paul) and many grandchildren.
The family is very grateful to the amazing staff of Copper Ridge, unit D, and Dr. Quong for their kindness and their care. Thank you to the staff at Whitehorse General Hospital.
Funeral services will be held at Pelly Crossing on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 2:00 pm at the Eliza Van Bibber School gym. Burial will be at a later date. Potlatch to follow. Everyone welcome.