Felicity

SMUS-Views-Bob

I might be the only member of staff who once taught Latin, but I should check with my colleagues in the Language Department just to make sure. An acquaintance with Latin makes the easy connection with the name “Felicity” and its Latin root, felicitas, meaning “happiness”. Parents take a risk naming their offspring after various virtues or abstract ideas. But in the case of our very own Felicity, the fit was harmonious, her parents were prescient.

Felicity Tallboy-Gall, our colleague and teacher in the School’s Learning Resource Department, passed away on Wednesday night. Everyone who knew her remembers her radiant smile and sparkling eyes, a reflection of the joy she took in her students and in education. I first met Felicity after the School’s Annual General meeting in her son’s first year at the School, when she stayed behind to ask some educational questions. Her own broad and deep learning was clearly the result of her constant curiosity about the world and the people in it; many times she would approach me with the phrase, “I was thinking about what you said the other day…” and begin an exchange that demonstrated she really had thought about it; she wasn’t just being polite. Another colleague of hers observed that “her approach with students came from such a loving place and her unwavering support for each was so natural and genuine.” Working with students as closely as she did, she became their guide and mentor, certainly, but also their wise and affectionate friend. To those of us who worked with her, it was clear she had a special gift to support students in ways that we did not. If we put together all the images and phrases that attach to this memorable, good-natured and intelligent woman, we might start to erect the memorial that her full and generous life deserves. Felicity lived up to her name, and spread her happy nature and lively mind among all those who knew her: colleagues, friends, family, and, most importantly, students.


You can share your thoughts and memories of Felicity on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/yoursmus.

 

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Bob Snowden
Bob Snowden is Head of School at St. Michaels University School.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I first met Felicity as a school parent when I was teaching at SMUS. What struck from the very outset was her genuine interest in the learning process and her fascination with ideas. I’m sorry that I didn’t have the opportunity to work with Felicity as a colleague, but will remember her with great fondness and respect.

  2. Felicity
    The Star and Bridge.

    They say that as one stares upward to the heavens at night that some of the stars that sparkle, have in fact died out, perhaps even thousands of years ago.
    I find that very cool and perhaps it explains my disbelief in Felicity’s departure early. For I still see her twinkling eyes reflecting a genuine soul at the border of adoring mother and excellent teacher.
    Felicity worked with as much genuine enthusiasm as any student could muster, an enduring learner by her passionate quest for knowledge and understanding.
    I was lucky to have her come into my classroom very often to listen, learn and to discuss educational ideas, theories and content. She came to the classes to better help her students and as a result I became a better teacher. For her it was not knowledge that mattered alone but the deeper understanding that gave it emotional resonance. When you have the opportunity to chat with a truly loving and kind soul it is exquisite.

    She believed so very deeply in the awe inspiring uniqueness and potential in each student. I made her tea in a cup and saucer with a biscuit one class. She was delighted.
    Everywhere she went she was the bridge between staff and student between ideas and their fruition. A happy joyous bridge between the old world teachers and the modern ones, she could do it all.
    And she would never stop beaming when questioning or helping, a smile of love that carried with it the patina of that belief in your worth, young or old.

    Two great metaphors a bridge and a star.

    Buddha said, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
    Felicity bridged the past and the future in her teaching so by logic is forever with us in the present. That is cool too as it makes it difficult to see her gone in any way.

    The romantic in me is inclined as I look heavenward to try and see the brand new star that twinkles quietly in the background but in the forefront of my delightful memories forever.

    With genuine love
    Douglas

  3. I second my sister Ruth’s comment, that once you met Felicity, you would never forget her. Our path’s didn’t cross often, but the first thing that I would see was Felicity’s wonderful hair and her eyes. She was one of those people that you meet up with, say in Oak Bay or somewhere and just stop to chat ‘for a sec’ and before you knew it, you would have been deep in conversation for at least 1/2 an hour. Everything that she said was interesting. To Clarence and William, you were so lucky to have been with Felicity and to share an interesting and eclectic life as a family.

  4. Felicity was someone who once you met her, you would never forget her. They did break to mold after Felicity. She was one in a million and her space on this earth, will not be filled easily. My heart felt condolences to Clarence and William. You were so fortunate to have shared her life and she fortunate to have had both of you in hers.

  5. I enjoyed watching the recording of this service to a special person in our midst. What a wonderful world was the perfect tribute. Last June my car was broken into and a bag of music books and photographs stolen. Days later a call came from Felicity saying she had found the bag and all its contents discarded in bushes. She delivered it to me in person. A negative situation turned positive by Felicity’s thoughtfulness. And I think I was not the only one who received such generosity of spirit from her. My caring thoughts to Felicity’s family and I think we all know the depth of this loss to our community.

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