(June 30, 1945 – January 24, 2019)

[Caroline and her dear friends, Richard and Trinie Gee, enjoying a BCSS event.]

B.C. Schizophrenia Society (BCSS) long-time volunteer Caroline Cook died suddenly and unexpectedly on January 24, 2019. Since then, BCSS has received numerous tributes from volunteer colleagues and friends. Caroline was respected and admired for her unique commitment and outstanding contributions to both BCSS and the BCSS Foundation.

For over 28 years, Caroline was a dedicated supporter of families caring for loved ones with severe mental illness.

Like many of us, when her daughter was diagnosed with schizophrenia, Caroline and her family found it difficult to obtain guidance and information about the severity and impact of the illness.

Caroline immediately joined a BCSS family support group, and was able to find the answers she needed and more. She met other families who experienced similar challenges, and was able to connect to resources in her community that helped her navigate the mental health system and access appropriate medical care.

Caroline also learned that schizophrenia was more prevalent than people thought, and that fund development was needed to promote and sustain core BCSS programs that provide public education, support, advocacy and research.

This motivated Caroline to become involved with BCSS’ provincial fundraising committee, along the way securing funding to hire a BCSS Family Coordinator to assist families in the Vancouver area. This successful model was soon duplicated in regions throughout the province and continues to exist today.

Caroline also worked to establish BCSS’ first planned giving program, enabling donors to leave a gift in their will for future generations affected by schizophrenia. In 1993, to unite fundraising with effective business practice and build a high level of donor trust, Caroline founded the B.C. Schizophrenia Society Foundation. BCSSF continues to be the fundraising arm of BCSS and recognizes the stability and longevity that planned gifts provide, so that BCSS can continue its critical work.

Over the course of many years, Caroline worked to bring together families coping with schizophrenia, and to further BCSS’ mandate across British Columbia. Her loyalty and dedication for almost three decades merited her reputation as an expert on the short and long-term needs of people with schizophrenia and their families.

Caroline touched the lives of many people – families, friends, colleagues and researchers to just name a few. The following is just a selection of the many tributes that have been kindly sent to remember Caroline and her legacy.

Memorial Service & Celebration of Life
Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 2:00p.m.
Arbutus Club (2001 Nanton Avenue, Vancouver, B.C., V6J 3W1)

Obituary in The Vancouver Sun

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, to please consider making a gift in memory of Caroline Cook to the BC Schizophrenia Society. Donations can be made online at http://bcss.org/donate, by calling 604-270-7841, or mailed to BC Schizophrenia Society Foundation, 1100 – 1200 West 73 Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V6P 6G5.

If you would like to send in a tribute to be added to this page, please email development@bcss.org

"We are profoundly grateful for Caroline’s enduring legacy"

“We remember the critical role Caroline played to ensure that BCSS could be a sustainable organization for families. On behalf of the 48,000 British Columbians now benefitting from the work of BCSS, we are profoundly grateful for Caroline’s enduring legacy to help alleviate the suffering caused by schizophrenia in British Columbia.”

– Dave Halikowski, President, B.C Schizophrenia Society



"A large debt of gratitude to Caroline"

“All of us at BCSS involved in helping families cope with this devastating schizophrenia illness, beneficiaries of the services and programs of BCSS, and researchers doing BCSS funded research owe a large debt of gratitude to Caroline for her hard work, vision, and support that helped make BCSS what it is today. Her passion and hard work to this end is an inspiration to those of us who had the privilege to know her personally. We will surely miss her suggestions and words of encouragement. We extend our deepest condolences to the family of this remarkable woman.”

– Gerhart Pahl, Chair, B.C. Schizophrenia Society Foundation


"To leave this world a little better than you found it may be the greatest legacy"

“Caroline helped found the basic structure of BCSS, and then built upon it further. The initiatives she proposed at the local and provincial level clearly demonstrated her insight and compassion. In addition, her advice to individual family members was always thoughtful and highly practical, her intelligence and humour unique. In all of this, she was remarkable. Her untimely death is shocking, but also brings an example of a well-lived life. To leave this world a little better than you found it may be the greatest legacy.”

– Jane Duval, former BCSS Executive Director and mother of an adult son with schizophrenia

"Caroline was the leading spirit behind the formation of the B.C. Schizophrenia Society Foundation"

“I would like to pay tribute publicly to Caroline Cook, who sadly passed away on January 24, 2019. Caroline was the leading spirit behind the formation of the B.C. Schizophrenia Society Foundation, and worked hard and effectively to bring it alive. Caroline will be greatly missed, but she has left a significant legacy including the development of Wills and Estates seminars and of Planned Giving to help the continuity of funding. She encouraged the funding of schizophrenia research for young B.C. scientists, directly and through matching grants.”

– Otto Forgacs, Former Chair, B.C. Schizophrenia Foundation (previously known as The Mind Foundation of B.C.)

"Caroline was a unique individual, a blessing to the cause, unable to be replaced"

“I knew Caroline as a parent having a daughter diagnosed with schizophrenia. Our conversations always centred on the necessity to keep BCSS funded, enabling them to continue the much-needed ability to influence public policy. Caroline was a unique individual, a blessing to the cause, unable to be replaced, however, will be greatly missed.”

– Fred Dawe, BCSS Board Director and President, Powell River Branch

"What are we waiting for?"

“Caroline was a wonderfully upbeat volunteer for B.C. Schizophrenia Society.

I had the honour of recruiting her services when I first met her at a Vancouver meeting. One of the things she did was to set up a mobile polling station at Riverview with me and we went from ward to ward to allow the patients to vote. It had never been done before and the staff were very helpful. She would study something to be done and then say, “What are we waiting for?”

She was exceptional at analyzing problems and solving them to the benefit of our organization and our family members. She was great contributor to the Norma Calder Foundation and later to the BCSS Foundation. We will miss her dearly.”

– Lucy Waters, Past President, B.C. Schizophrenia Society






"Her importance is without measure"

“Our sincerest condolences to Peter and the entire Cook family on the sudden passing of Caroline. We are deeply saddened upon hearing this news.

Caroline has been a very good friend to our family. She was our first main contact when we sought out ways to contribute to schizophrenia research.

I enjoyed working alongside Caroline and I enjoyed the many conversations we had. Caroline never minced words and was always direct with her impact full words. I will miss her charm and sincerity.

Caroline is a unique caring person that will be greatly missed by so many people. Her importance is without measure.”

– Richard and Trinie Gee

"She told her truth in her own way, and that way was inspiring"

“When first meeting Caroline in the 1980s I hugely appreciated the fact that she did not mince her words; she told her truth in her own way, and that way was inspiring. But underneath that force with the twinkle and the gifted listening ear, one could easily discern her own courage, heartbreak and empathy. I have not seen Caroline for many years, but remain grateful to her for carrying B.C.S.S. forward in many important ways.”

– Jill Brandon, long time BCSS member

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