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Jean B. Willoughby

Jean B. Willoughby

Previously published in Vital Signs 2013

A lasting tribute for Jean

While reflecting on key role models in her life, Barb Cavers sees her mother, Jean Willoughby, as the most prominent. “I have come to appreciate that she had a much greater influence on me than I had realized,” she says.

Barb fondly remembers her mother as a patient and strongly committed person. She spent years sewing 2,500 cotton yo-yos for a beautiful quilt that is now a family heirloom. That determination and commitment is something that translated into many aspects of Jean's life. Barb credits her mother for instilling within her similar strong ideals. “So many of my values are those that I learned from her,” she recalls. “Things like the importance of family, unconditional support of your children, always being a learner, community service, generosity, creativity and commitment.”

Jean provided a wonderful example of community service for her family, and was always involved in volunteer work, even into her 80s. She gave many years of service to the YWCA and Barb followed in her footsteps. They were the first mother-daughter team on the YWCA Board of Directors.

After Jean passed away in 2009, Barb began to search for a way to honour her memory. “I wanted to pay tribute to my mother and the many ways that she contributed to her community.” Barb felt that naming a fund at the Community Foundation in honour of her mother was the perfect way to keep her memory alive. The Jean B. Willoughby Fund supports the YWCA Women’s Leadership Fund. This fund remains open for any future donors to participate in as contributors.

“I chose the Community Foundation primarily because of the ability to make the gift last, through investing in an endowment fund,” explains Barb. “I like the idea that my mother will be remembered in the community for generations.”