Holly Louise Elizabeth Keith
April 5, 1979- May 8, 2019
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our sister, Holly Keith, aged 40.
Holly leaves behind older sister Shannon, younger brother Graham & sister-in-law Amber and their children, Emma and Jack; younger sister Chelsea and her sons, Aiden & Kingston; uncle Michael (Trish) Buhr; aunt Susan (Ron) Burns, as well as many cousins.
Holly was predeceased by her father Murray Keith in 2017 and her mother Geraldine Keith (nee Buhr) in 2018, as well as by her two beloved cats, Smokey and Sasha.
Holly was a born fighter. At birth, she was diagnosed with a rare and severe form of Spina Bifida, which left her paralyzed from the waist down for life. Doctors warned our parents there was a good chance that Holly was not likely to survive infancy and if she managed to live, she would be profoundly disabled, both intellectually and physically.
Undeterred, our parents brought her home and did their best to raise her as they would any other child. Holly consistently beat all of the tremendous odds against her; she fought through countless operations and medical procedures throughout her life, and came out stronger every time. Starting in childhood, she fought to prove that she was no different from anyone else and that her disability did not define her, nor did it prevent her from doing everything that other people do. Even though she required the use of a wheelchair, Holly never let that stop her. One of her favorite sayings was, “Don’t look at the chair, look at me.” She never took ‘no’ for an answer and used her incredible will and determination to accomplish whatever she set out to do.
Holly proved her doctors wrong; she had no intellectual disabilities, and attended school with her siblings, earning high grades and praise from her teachers and classmates. She participated in school plays and musicals, and enjoyed being in the spotlight.
Holly graduated from River East Collegiate in 1997, and shortly afterwards, she moved into her own apartment to start her life as an independent adult. She followed her passion for social justice and went on to earn a Bachelor of Social Work degree at the University of Manitoba. Holly’s other passion in life was music. She loved country music, and wrote numerous songs, both solo and in collaboration with other songwriters. She loved the process of writing and seeing her songs take shape.
Holly also loved to travel. As a teenager, she spent a week each summer at a summer camp in BC, and as an adult, went to cities all across Canada and in the United States, mainly to attend concerts and country music award ceremonies. She loved to tell stories about her travels and her experiences in different cities.
Holly was a proud auntie to her three nephews and her niece. She delighted in their growth and successes, and shared their pain during their challenges. She loved to watch them play and ask them questions about everything going on in their lives. Hugs and kisses were always plentiful when they visited Auntie Holly.
Holly faced her final battle with courage and determination. She did her best to stay strong and persevere. A born fighter never stops fighting, and Holly stayed true to who she was right up until the last moment. We miss you, Hol, and love you always.
We would like to extend special thanks to Homecare nurse Kevin and the nurses on the E5 ward at St. Boniface Hospital for their excellent care and concern for both Holly and ourselves. You folks made a difficult journey easier by knowing Holly was in such caring and capable hands.
Flowers are gratefully declined; in lieu, we ask that you consider donating to the Canadian Cancer Society, Society for Manitobans with Disabilities, or a no-kill animal shelter of your choice.
Cremation has taken place, and a celebration of Holly’s life will be held at Gilbart Funeral Home at 309 Eveline Street, Selkirk, MB, on Wednesday, May 15, at 1:00 PM.
Condolences may be left on her tribute wall at www.gilbartfuneralhome.com
Gilbart Funeral Home, Selkirk in care of arrangements.
To send flowers to Holly's family, please visit our floral section.