Widdop, Valerie "Toni"

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Valerie Antoinette “Toni”, née Proyer, died on March 1st, 2012 at the age of 81 years.

Born in England, Toni graduated from the I.M. Marsh College of Physical Education and taught for four years in England and Wales.  Before emigrating to Canada, she gained a Proficiency Certificate (Lawn Tennis Assoc.); was a qualified Track & Field coach in eight events (Women’s Amateur Athletic Assoc).; gained several Royal Life Saving Certificates and Proficiency Teaching Certificate (Amateur Swimming Assoc.).  She took part in a one-mile open sea race from Charmouth Beach to Lyme-Regis harbour steps.  Toni represented clubs in tennis, badminton and field hockey.  She was a member of the Denbighshire County, North Wales, field hockey team.

In Canada she was the first non-British-Columbian to be selected to the Canadian Women’s Field Hockey Touring Team and the first from Nova Scotia.  She played for the Province of Quebec in 1969; was an ‘A’ umpire and a selector for the eastern Canadian Team and for the Canadian National Team.  She was the first non-British-Columbian to be elected President of the Canadian Women’s Field Hockey Association (1968).  She was a qualified ski instructor (Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance) and was elected the first Director of the Wentworth Valley Ski Club in Nova Scotia.  She was also an ‘A’ umpire in basketball and volleyball.

As a volunteer, Toni was on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Hearing Society; a member of the Special Education Advisory Committee to the Lakehead Board of Education; the first President of the Kaministiquia Community Support Group; an instructor for the Thunder Bay Equestrian Association for the Disabled at which two of her horses were used; and a member of the Spiritual Care Committee at Pinewood Court Home for the Aged, where she was also a Palliative Care giver.

Toni was a teacher and supervisor of Physicial Education in Nova Scotia; on the Athletic staff of McGill University, where she coached the women’s tennis team; Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education on the MacDonald campus (McGill) at which institution she was Warden of Residence (Laird Hall), coached the women’s Field Hockey team and gained her M.A.

Toni came to Lakehead University in 1969 as Associate Professor and helped her husband-to-be set up the School of Physical and Health Education (now the School of Kinesiology).  She introduced Field Hockey to the Thunder Bay area and coached the Lakehead University’s Field Hockey Team.

A former active member of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Toni moved to St. John’s Anglican Church when, due to her C.O.P.D., she could no longer drive across town.  She then moved to St. Michael & All Angels Church.

Toni was predeceased by her brother, Lt. Comm. P.A. Proyer  R.N.A.S., killed during flying exercises (aged 34); her father, Pierre Antoine Proyer, her mother Ruth Louise Proyer and her beloved husband, Jim.

Cremation has taken place.  There will be no Church service.  There will be a private interment at Sunset Memorial Gardens. 

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Widdop, Valerie "Toni"

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