In Memory of





Obituary for Bernice Claire "Bunny" Arthur

Bernice Arthur died peacefully on August 8, 2022 in her 92nd year in the Oak Bay home in which she lived, loved and made memories for more than 35 years. She passed away in the company of her three loving children, Keith, 72, Paula,71, and Marcus, 66.

Born Bernice Clare McCutcheon in Calgary on May 7, 1931, “Bunny” was a child of the Great Depression, one of eight children in a working class home. As a middle child, she had to meet the special challenges of negotiating and charming her way through the dynamics of a large family, developing a sharp, engaging personality and a determination to speak her mind which served her well throughout her life. Watching her family’s struggles during the Depression and witnessing her father’s involvement in politics and trade unions, instilled in her a real sense of right and wrong. Throughout her life, she was a keen observer – and insightful commentor – on current affairs.

Bunny was a good student, and would return to education later in her life, but fell in love with Arthur Richard Davies when she was 17, and the pair started their family soon after. First came Keith, then Paula, both born in Calgary, before the Art was transferred to Edmonton, where Marcus was born. By 1960, the family was back in Calgary again, though Edmonton was not their last stop. They spent 1967 and 1968 in Houston, Texas, before returning to Calgary again.

The Calgary years were busy ones. Bunny & Art were active curlers at the Calgary Winter Club, and though they never won the championship trophy, they somehow left the awards banquet with it every year. In 1964, Bunny and Art flew to the United Kingdom on a romantic adventure that invigorated the travel bug in both of them. In 1965, they took the family to a largely-undeveloped Maui for Christmas. Summer vacations usually saw the five of them loading up the Plymouth or the Meteor and driving into the hottest places in North America – long before Canadians had ever heard of car air conditioning. In 1966, Bunny sat behind the wheel in her bra as she steered the family across the Nevada desert in blazing 44 degree heat, windows down. This passion for family road trips even included an eye-opening three weeks through Mexico in 1967-68, for which Bunny prepared by taking a night course in Spanish.

The Calgary years also included many raucous gatherings of Bunny’s extended and extensive McCutcheon clan.

In 1969, Art’s health took a turn and he wound down his career in the energy industry. Both he and Bunny began studying at the University of Calgary, where she was drawn to the field of education. When her time to serve her country came, she volunteered: while at university, she was once paid $50 to smoke government-grown cannabis under observation.

In 1973, Bunny and Art “retired” to Victoria, where she would begin her career as a teacher. Fortunately, they bought a large enough house to welcome the children and grandchildren who would soon fill “Nanny & Pumpy’s” hallways with laughter and noise. For the rest of her life, Bunny would continue to provide love and comfort and support to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It is a tribute to that multi-generational love that even her children refer to her as “Nan”.

Bunny became a widow in 1978, but the role she played as the family’s matriarch deepened. When her road trips didn’t take her on visits to her children and grandchildren, they visited her, and her living room regularly became a scene of laughter and occasionally song. Her dining room table, too, was a scene of frequent feasts and fests.

Never one to take the easy path, Bunny focussed her teaching career on children with special needs, teaching at Burnside Elementary, the George Pearkes Clinic and Margaret Jenkins School, all in Victoria. She made deep lifelong connections with her fellow teachers and travelled extensively with them. Together, they became expert on the assets and deficits of each of the world’s cruise lines.

Bunny remarried in 1980 and with husband Clive Arthur, she continued her travelling adventures, spending several winters driving their motor home into Mexico and on other occasions, driving across Canada.

Throughout, Bunny kept her family close, following and supporting her children’s adventures and welcoming each new grandchild and great-grandchild into the fold. Her Oak Bay home became a family destination and the scene of countless celebrations, birthdays, weddings and graduations. Bunny was an integral part of all the family’s important moments. She also found time for her fitness classes and, so importantly, her line dancing.

Throughout her life, Bunny has always had a special place and a special relationship with her dogs. Sassy, Oogie, Blanca, Frosty, Cass, Cariad, Casper, and Sunny were more than just her pets, and more than just companions. Sunny, especially, earned a very special place in her heart.

For the last 25 years, Bunny lived independently in her home in Oak Bay, keeping her hummingbirds happy and her garden beautiful. During the last few years, as the number of health challenges she faced grew, Bunny displayed the grit and strength that those that knew her were very familiar with. Determined to stay in her home, she adapted, and when mobility challenges made stairs an issue, she moved her bedroom to the main floor and installed a stair-lift so she could continue to do her laundry and garden. She was simply an amazing woman who inspired others by her actions.

Bunny passed comfortably and peacefully held by her three children. She departed this world knowing that she was loved and appreciated deeply, and she left no question about her love for those she has left behind.

The family will have a private gathering of commemoration in the future. Donations are encouraged to Dying with Dignity Canada