Salon 22

Julie (Elliott-Smith) Giles

July 30, 1931 ~ December 2, 2021 (age 90)

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A mother to five, grandmother to 16, great-grandmother to 12, sister to one, long-serving occupational therapist (OT), and community and church volunteer, Julie passed away peacefully in Lethbridge, Alberta on Dec. 2, 2021 with her husband of 64 years (David) and youngest daughter (Helen) beside her.

Born in London, U.K. in 1931, she was evacuated from the city during the air raids of the Battle of Britain in WW2 and later slept on the sidewalks of downtown London with friends for two nights to hold a "front-row" spot to watch the post-coronation parade of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. After training to be an OT in London, she met David in Northern England, while working in her professional role, and they were married in 1957. Living and working in Manchester, Durham, Long Eaton and then Harrogate, while welcoming three children (Mark, Robert and Nicola), the family emigrated to Canada in 1966 -- travelling to Montreal by ship and then taking the train to Calgary, a 10-day adventure almost halfway around the world in an era without today's telecommunications.

It was a bold move and one where Julie's tenacity and dedication were key to success – with the expected job and rental accommodation gone upon arrival -- as the family struggled financially and otherwise (initially) to settle in a very different environment, far from family and friends. After short stints in Calgary and West Vancouver, the family settled in North Vancouver in 1967, purchasing a house (for $17,000!) in Pemberton Heights. As the anchor for a young growing family, Julie welcomed a fourth child (Jennifer) in 1967, while supporting a wide variety of memory-building activities, including regular trips to Ambleside Beach, Stanley Park, and Mount Seymour -- as well as the annual family vacation to Nelson, B.C. -- and working in various part-time OT roles.

Moving to Maple Ridge, B.C. (east of Vancouver) in 1971, the family and Julie welcomed the youngest of five children (Helen). Working in various occupational therapy and church leadership roles, she was well known for her reliability and caring touch -- both professionally and as a volunteer -- and as a rock of stability who could always be counted on to support family and others during good times and bad.


The family moved to Raymond, Alberta in 1981, and a few years later into Lethbridge, where Julie set up the first OT department at St. Michael's Hospital and was later a founding staff member of the Lethbridge home-care program. She was also a volunteer with the Lethbridge Police Service Victim Assistance Unit.

Incredibly artistic, Julie expressed her creative abilities through painting, sewing, needlepoint, drawing, knitting and calligraphy – sewing personalized quilts for each of her grandchildren. Also, a lover of animals, she always had a family pet – or even two or three.

We celebrate the impact she had in the lives of so many in her family, church, OT and other roles. Julie will be remembered by many, but especially her brother (Richard) in the U.K. and family across North America. From that bold move in 1966, Julie leaves a legacy and children; Mark Giles, Robert (Tami) Giles, Nicola (Abbie) Wagner, Jennifer (Tod) Jenkins, Helen (Greg) Sheen,  grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Alberta, Ontario, Arizona, Idaho, and Mexico – as well as other loved ones, family and friends in the UK. She was pre-deceased by her parents (Fredrick and Mollie Elliott-Smith) and a grandson (Devon Giles).

We are very grateful to all those who have sent their support and condolences, and all those who knew and appreciated her during her life.  Thank you to all who have cared for Julie over the years, most recently the constant love and care from the amazing staff at St. Therese Villa. 

A private family celebration of life will be held on Sunday December 12, 2021. If you wish to honor her, please consider a donation to a charity of your choice. 


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