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Wendy Ladner-Beaudry

April 5th, 2009 · 12 Comments

Many heavy hearts in the city today as people continue to learn more about the death of Wendy Ladner-Beaudry, the sister of former city councillor Peter Ladner. Her murder, on a running trail blocks from her west side home, seems beyond belief. My story — a difficult one to write — here.

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  • Peter Edmonds


    I’m a regular reader of your blog and also Wendy’s nephew. Your Globe article was very thoughtful and balanced, something that all of your readers have come to expect from you and respect you for.

    You and Wendy are women cut from the same cloth: passionate about this incredible city of ours and facilitators of the dialogue that keeps us all engaged in making it a better place.

    We’ve all been spending time to reflect on the gifts that Wendy has given us with who she was.

    We need to reflect on how she was connected to all of us Vancouverites and British Columbians:

    Wendy celebrated every breath of fresh air, every sunny day, each drop of rain on her face, and every opportunity to explore the beautiful world around her (frequently encouraging friends and family to come along). She ran her hands in the dirt, froze her hair in the sharp mountain winds, and found the very essence of life in being outdoors enjoying the precious gifts we are blessed with every day in BC. She cherished every laugh, smile, and hug in the company of family, friends, and strangers alike.

    Wendy was a cautious person and we always made fun of her for being a little bit paranoid. While she was cautious, she was not fearful and had the self-awareness to realize that fear was one part of life that keeps us from living it to the fullest.

    Wendy was diligent about seizing every opportunity offered her and facilitating such opportunities for others. She gave back to the community with dedication, sincerity, and passion.

    I do hope we all can take this chance to reflect on what we have, to not let fear stand in our way, and to start living the lives we are so lucky to have.

    Wherever you are, this could have happened to you or to someone in your family, today, tomorrow, next week, next year.

    The real tragedy here would be if this made us go back inside, lock our doors, and be fearful.

    Hug your loved ones and give them a smooch, then get your asses outside to enjoy this beautiful day….. Wendy would have it no other way.


  • I grew up with the Ladner family; my peers were Nancy and Peter, Wendy’s older siblings. Ten years apart in age, it wasn’t until our adulthood that I came to really know Wendy and appreciate the depth of her character and vigour. She was, above all, a person who was confident in her emotions and never hesitated to demonstrate her fondness for people. She was warm, effervescent, and thoughtful, and shrewd in her dealings with people. Aided by depths of cheeky good humour, and buttressed with steely determination, she gathered people to her for the good of many.
    In the spirit that governed all her family, she believed in ‘giving back’, not as generalized, charitable notion but in the honest understanding that the good we do as individuals matters and when we work together for others the rewards are tenfold greater than personal gain.
    I am not a religious person, but I believe that Wendy has not died but passed from view. She is in that rare category of individual whose life has left such an indelible impression, that she will live on vividly in the memories of a great many. Inside and outside, she was a beauty.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    She really was special. I met her only a few times, but was impressed with her warmth and honesty.

    Wendy exhibited in spades, the great characteristics of being a Ladner: Commitment, honesty, perseverance, humanity.

    However, crimes like these should not go unpunished. Whoever committed such a heinous act must feel the full wrath of the justice system.

    I continue to maintain, that crimes like these, particularly against women and/or children should be met with the death penalty. The murderous bastard who has done this will likely get out in 10 to 15 years, if that. but two young girls, who will grow up into fine women, I’m sure, will do so without their beloved Mum.

    Where is the fairness in this?

    How many more beautiful, giving lives like Wendy’s must be senselessly wasted before we as a society make a tough choice and stop the carnage?

    May God rest her celebrated soul and provide peace to all those who will always love her.

  • Michele

    Well said, Peter. Let people express their personal grief, and celebrate the grace of a beautiful life well lived. It is a time to remember how ephemeral and precious life is, and to reflect on how we can take care to make our own lives matter.

  • Judy Bishop

    The unbelievable tragedy of such an alive woman being violently taken is beyond words.

    Wendy was always a delight and had a warmth and goodness that made her a pleasure to be around. She is all that is described in nephew Peter Edmonds’ post above, and more.

    How truly sad, senseless and shattering for us all, but especially, for the Ladner clan. Blessings to them all…

  • Andrea Eng

    Wendy had a wonderful soul with an open heart.

    How lucky for those of us who knew her. She touched our lives each in different ways. May her soul rest in peace.

  • Julia Tupper

    I didn’t know Wendy personally, though she might have been considered my age mate, and our families were connected professionally and socially. Wendy’s fate falls in the inconceivable realm, probably for most of us. I offer my deepest sympathy to her family and friends, who may well carry the lasting effects of her death for the rest of their lives. This kind of trauma is neither easy to field, nor recover from, regardless of the perception we carry of the victim ( I hear in the article, and so many of the responses that Wendy was a vital woman whose zest for life, and contributions earned her the deep love and respect, reflected here.)

    With regard to this comment column ~ I find it disconcerting to hear (read) the resentment and anger that has emerged regarding the perceived imbalance on the types of deaths reported. While I submit that it may be a subject worth pursuing, I simply cannot imagine that *here* is the place.

    Darcy ~ I believe we have met many years ago, and if that is so, I have recalled you as a rather wise and caring individual, who would be well above the insensitivity you have shown in this this particular place that seems as if it is serving as a place for people (who otherwise might not get a chance) to express their grief in losing a beloved member of their community, and (perhaps peripherally) their grief that such a thing could happen in their community, and in this particular place which has held an important role in their lives.

    While I have no doubt that you have a perfect right to air your concerns for what you perceive to be a bias in the types of things reported, surely there must be a more appropriate forum than this?

    I no longer live in Vancouver, so cannot speak to the physical, or communal setting that Wendy’s tragic death occurred in, but I can iterate that emotionally, the impact is (and will continue to be) enormous.

    We all need to be gentle with ourselves and each other, lest we compound the complexity of the wounds that emerge during times such as this.

  • Wendy’s death is an unspeakable tragedy, which has touched many people. My condolences go out to the Ladner family, and especially Peter Ladner who I got to know very well over the past year.

    I thank Peter Edmonds for his beautiful words and hope that others who knew Wendy will share their thoughts.

  • Loren Plottel

    For those of us who knew Wendy Ladner Beaudry as a wife, mother, sister, aunt or friend the grieving knows no end. The senseless tragedy of her death makes reconciling this situation nearly impossible. Her family and friends have lost a cherished soul and the community she served so selflessly has lost a tireless advocate for youth and sports. But there is another, much larger constituency also grieving. The sisterhood of the woods.
    Pacific Spirit Park is a very female place. Every weekday morning you will find women of all ages walking dogs, pushing strollers, running, walking, meandering with sisters, friends, mothers, daughters and grandmothers. We have been going into the woods for so long there is a certain camaraderie that has formed. When you pass someone on the trail that you don’t know, you smile anyway and say ‘hi’ because you probably know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows them.
    I came to know Wendy through my sister-in-law Celia, and when our kids were little we’d drop them off at playgroup and hit the trails for a run – often the only sane time in a child-centered world. It was Wendy and Celia who introduced me to the magic of the trail system in Pacific Spirit Park. We’d pass other mothers on their journeys through the woods. We’d share our life’s stories – as the other women we passed were overheard sharing theirs, and I’d be so grateful for this place, these woods and my “sisters.” It was before the days of Eckhardt Tolle and Oprah and “living in the moment.” Wendy already knew how to live in the moment and she made the most of every single one of them.
    As our children grew and life became differently defined for each of us, I saw Wendy much less frequently. But sometimes I would pass her in the woods while running and the “Hi, how’s it going? Great to see you…” greeting would put a smile on my face and an extra bounce in my step as I remembered the old days which have now become the good old days. Wendy could make you feel like that.
    The sisterhood of the woods has been shaken to its core by the violence that deserves no place here. Perhaps we allowed ourselves a false sense of security because these trails knew all the intimate details of our lives and had become – in a weird way – a silent sister.
    The sisterhood of the woods has lost one of their own, and she will be forever missed.

  • John Lund

    I knew Wendy Ladner and family from Whistler Mountain’s beginnings. She was a joy to us all even then. The world is a sadder place without her in it.

    My deepest condolences go out to the Ladner-Beaudry family.

  • I am devistated by the death of Wendy. I now live in the Bahamas, and up until 6 weeks ago when we moved here, I too would have been running in the wood alone. I love those woods like they are part of my soul.
    I knew Wendy through my son who has grown up with her nephew Tom Ladner. I know her to be an athlete and a communtity leader and very involved in the schools in our area.

    I am sad that running solo is no longer an option for women in those trails. It is a tragedy that the place of peace is now a place of fear, for now anyway.

    I am not asking the torturous question, Why?, but rather What is this for?

    For me it is to be a bit more careful where I run, to make sure I can hear when wearing an ipod, or not wear one at all, to invite others to run with me instead of solo. And mostly to remember that life is precious, that this moment is all we have and to treasure everyone that we share it with.
    I hope the death of Wendy can all help us remember to hug our loved ones a little tighter and connect a little more.

    Love and healing to the Ladner-Beaudry family from the beautiful Bahamas.

  • Danielle Huggan

    Thank you Peter E. (who I went to high school with and haven’t seen since!) for your beautiful words. As well, thank you Lauren P. for your apt description of the sisterhood of the woods. I grew up near 41st and crown and had the joy of walking with my dogs, brothers, parents and friends in the endowment lands. The most special times of all were when my girlfriends and I would go walking, choose a place to sit down amongst the decomposing flora and listen to the sounds of the birds and the little streams that run through the park. The sun would shine through the trees in sparkly light beams and we would consider ourselves to be touched by magic. To be able to experience such peace and serenity in the middle of a large city and not hear a sound other than nature was and still is the closest I have ever felt to the divine.
    I felt a peice of my heart go dark when I read about Wendy’s murder. I feel that this evil person took a small part of my childhood as well. Even though I walked alone there until recently, I haven’t the courage to go back again yet. Soon, I will make the pilgrimage and make a wish for her spirit and family. I hope all of us women can feel safe knowing that she is looking out for us as we continue our journeys in the park.