Jill Thorne Rhynard

Jill Thorne Rhynard



My family: Divorced in 2002 (never thought I’d be a statistic!), but I have two wonderful, loving, and supportive sons. The oldest, Chad, (spouse – Jessica and 8 month old twin granddaughters) lives in Walla Walla, Washington. Paul, the youngest (spouse – Deanne and 2 year old grandson) lives in Seattle, Washington. I live in a Senior’s Residence in Vernon, BC.

My work: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (Walla Walla University) and a Master’s degree in Public Health (Loma Linda University). My career focus was in health promotion. I had a cable TV program that aired weekly in the Okanagan Valley, wrote a health column for over 30 newspapers, was involved in community development, and planned many community health events over the years. At the age of 58, I retired and went on disability. That brings me to my health. I have a rare, hereditary neuro-muscular illness called Spino-Cerebellar Ataxia, type 3. I had my first symptom when I was about 42; the illness progresses slowly but I am always in decline. Although I use a walker in my apartment, I have a power wheelchair for getting around the building, etc. My life has really narrowed as it is increasingly difficult to get around and I certainly can no longer travel. In spite of the challenges I am exceedingly blessed with a loving family and many, many friends who are always there to help. Having said all that, unfortunately I can not attend the reunion. And as much as I would love to see everyone, I will be there in spirit.

My life moto: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Most interesting place I have travelled to since high school: The ruins at Ephesus, Turkey.

Favorite CUC memory: Going to a Junior-Senior function in Les Mackett’s Mustang. When I got out of the car, I didn’t see Mr. Mackett climb over the driver’s seat to get out the passenger side and I slammed the door behind me getting Mr. Mackett squarely in the head. He was okay, but I was pretty chagrined! Soooo many memories . . .

The books on my bedside table are: In His Presence (devotional for women), The Mother Heart of God (spiritual), Justice Denied (novel)

I can never have too many: Friends! (They are the unique flowers in my garden of life).

Biggest surprise about life: That life at 67 was NOT what I envisioned at age 17 . . . however over the years I have seen how God has given me coping skills, strength, and resilience to deal with all the ups and downs and challenges that I have encountered in my path.

Advice I would give to a graduating senior: Continue on with your schooling! Whether it is trade school or an advanced degree, knowing you are employable will make dealing with life’s twists and turns that much easier.