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‘Knitter extraordinaire’ Janis Waller has died

Waller was the recipient of the Courier's 2017 Lifetime Senior Volunteer of the Year Award
Janis Waller
Last year B.C.’s seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie (left) presented Janis Waller with the Lifetime Volunteer of the Year award at the Lifetime Seniors Talks + Tables event Sept. 20, presented by the Vancouver Courier and St. Paul’s Foundation, at VanDusen Botanical Gardens. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Between January and September of last year, Janis Waller knit more than 200 baby hats and donated them to St. Paul’s Hospital, with each hat taking about 90 minutes to create.

In addition to knitting the hats, she also delivered them — as well as ones knit by other volunteers, to the hospital.

The “knitter extraordinaire” knit with five different groups in Vancouver and Burnaby and collectively they donated many tiny toques to local hospitals. Waller was a member of the West Coast Knitters’ Guild, which knits items for various charitable projects, including Christmas sales that benefit Nova House in Richmond, a safe house for women and children fleeing abusive situations, and the Purple Hat Campaign, which endeavours to give a purple baby hat to every new mother leaving the maternity ward in October and November to raise awareness about shaken baby syndrome.

It was Waller’s dedication to community that won her the Vancouver Courier’s Lifetime Senior Volunteer of the Year Award last year, which came with a tour to Iceland valued at more than $5,000, courtesy of Ageless Adventures. Waller’s win was announced last year at the 2017 Lifetime Seniors Talks + Tables event, presented by the Courier and St. Paul’s Foundation. Waller knit with five different groups in Vancouver and Burnaby, and collectively donated many tiny toques to local hospitals.

Unfortunately, the Courier received word this week that Waller recently passed away before she was able to take that trip.

Of nominating Waller last year, Linda Hull told the Courier, “She is always willing to share her yarn stash with anyone who needs a ball or two for their projects. I can think of only three things that she has ever knit for herself.”

Waller was also an active member of the St. James Anglican Church where, in addition to singing in the choir, she helped organize the bi-annual rummage sales and, of course, knit many items for the sales that benefit the work the church does with residents of the Downtown Eastside.

Waller’s obituary reads in part, “Janis Waller, knitter extraordinaire and supreme organiser, has passed away in her 72nd year. She will be lovingly remembered by her husband Paul, brothers Philip, Andrew and Henry, and numerous nieces, nephews, aunt, uncle and friends.”

A requiem mass will be celebrated Saturday, Aug. 11, at 2 p.m. (tomorrow) at St James’ Anglican Church, on Gore Avenue at East Cordova Street. Donations may be made to the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, in memory of Janis Waller.

With files from Jessica Kerr.

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