Catherine Chard WISNICKI
1917 - 2014
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WISNICKI, Catherine Chard: Our beloved Catherine passed away serenely on October 21, 2014. Born in Winnipeg in 1917 she was raised in Montreal attending McGill University where she became the first woman to graduate from McGill's School of Architecture. In 1945 she married Paul Wisnicki a former aeronautical structural engineer in the Polish Air Force. In 1946 they moved to Vancouver where she became the second female member of the Architectural Institute of BC and worked as senior designer with the prestigious firm of Sharp, Thomson, Berwick, Pratt. Somehow she also found time to start a family with the twins Nina and Michael arriving in 1946 followed by Julia in 1949. In 1963 she began a career as a lecturer and assistant professor at the UBC faculty of Architecture. In 1996 McGill University conferred an honorary degree of doctor of science upon her. On her retirement Catherine and Paul moved to Naramata BC where they designed and built an innovative passive solar house. Paul jokingly called Naramata his "white elephant" while for Catherine it was "a land for the eye," hence the name Elephant Island. Catherine was predeceased by her husband Paul and her great-grandson Rex. She will be sadly missed by her children Nina, Michael (Bev) and Julia Griffith (Rhys), grandchildren Morgan Griffith and Miranda Halladay (Del) and great grandchildren Finn, Mya and Grady. A celebration of her life will be held at Elephant Island Orchard Wines in Naramata when the cherries blossom in the spring. Donations in Catherine's name can be made to Because I am a Girl at

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Published in Okanagan Valley Newspaper Group on Nov. 1, 2014.
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2 entries
July 20, 2015
I will always remember Aunt Catherine's (and Uncle Paul's) kindness during my visit to Naramata during the summer of 1979.
Michael Chard
December 18, 2014
sorry for your loss .i wished i met my aunt Catherine. sounds like an inspiring women.
Theresa Chard
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