Jill Calder's death from a falling tree during an early morning windstorm Thursday was met with disbelief and shock by her colleagues and her community.
The large tree, one metre in diameter at its base, smashed through the roof of Calder's home in Port Moody, B.C., while she was in bed. Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay said the tree was located on a green belt behind the house.
Calder had been the executive director of the New View Society, a Port Coquitlam-based community mental health organization for the last 16 years.
"It is with extremely heavy hearts, the staff and board of directors of the New View Society announce the sudden and shocking loss of their executive director, Jill Calder," said the society in a statement.
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"Jill will be remembered for being loyal, dedicated, fair, caring and extremely humble. She will be dearly missed by everyone who had the privilege of knowing her."
The society said Calder had previously worked in the mayor's office in the City of Port Coquitlam, as well as with the provincial government in Manitoba and other non-profit agencies.
It said Calder "possessed an open management style with a team approach to her leadership."
"She created a caring and warm atmosphere which allowed her staff to deliver the best possible support services to the members they serve."
The Lower Mainland chapter of United Way also issued a message about Calder's death, saying she was an "active supporter" of the organization for 16 years and that she would be "greatly missed."
Condolences came pouring in on social media from the many organizations and people Calder had worked with and contributed to.
So saddened to learn of Jill Calder's death - my deepest condolences to her family.— @FinDonnelly
Sad to learn of Jill Calder's untimely death this morning during the windstorm. She was a true community leader. https://t.co/SapadP0jyO— @davedotca
My sincere condolences to Jill Calder's family and the New View Society. This is truly a huge loss for the #TriCities.— @aaronmdrobinson
I am saddened to learn about the passing of Jill Calder this morning. This is a loss for our community, especially the clients at New View.— @GregMooredotca