A short but full life

Tuula Opheim made a big impact in a short time in Ashcroft.

Tuula came to work at The Journal in August or September of 2006. Former publisher Judy Stuart was trying to retire, but the company kept persuading her to stay.

Judy told me they’d finally found someone to take over from her – a sales rep at our Williams Lake Tribune office – and she really wanted to come here.

Nothing got Tuula down for very long, even though she had her own personal challenges. Perhaps it was because she was too busy helping others sort out their problems. She made friends here easily and volunteered her time with groups like Soups On and Communities in Bloom. She supported even more than that. She loved this town and its people.

Tuula came up with some great ideas to keep us all busy in the office. I remember a series of ads she worked on with Gerry Anderson at Ashcroft Work Wear to sell Crocs footwear, featuring silly take-offs on the word Croc. She never did use my contribution of Croc-a-Shih Tzu, but we both thought it was funny.

Wherever Tuula went, Chewy was right there with her. They were inseparable. If you wanted to ride with Tuula, you had to make room for Chewy.

We were driving back from a conference in Kelowna in 2008. First a quick stop at Tim Hortons for her coffee and we were on our way. Except for the part where she missed the turnoff and I got to see a wee bit of the Historic O’Keefe Ranch by mistake. And then we had to stop at the antique shop in Falkland. And then we had to stop at her sister’s house (and pick up Chewy) in Kamloops. There was always time for a little side trip.

Tuula could sell just about anything. “I’ll give ya a smokin’ hot deal,” I’d hear her tell customers on the phone – sort of an ironic choice of words, since she quit smoking in 2006 just before she came to The Journal.

She was offered another publisher’s job in Prince Rupert in 2009. I think she always intended to return to Ashcroft, maybe after she retired. She never sold her house, although I guess her family will now.

She has no more need for it. She is in a better place.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

Just Posted

Graffiti Days 2019 a huge success

Hundreds of cars and spectators — including a History channel TV personality — turned out for the event

Bus company fears for future if another licence issued for Interior routes

Adventure Charters waiting to see if Ebus BC is approved for Prince George-Kamloops run

Sea Cadets wind up another year with Ceremonial Review

Corps is fundraising for a trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2020

WorkBC helping break down barriers to employment

Office offers a wide range of services to help people find sustainable careers

Local News Briefs: Get garden ideas with Ashcroft tour

The Rivertown Players are back, invasive plant management, reduced tipping fees, and more

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

30 years later: B.C. woman uses sidewalk chalk to reclaim site of her sexual assault

Vancouver woman didn’t think her powerful story, written in chalk, would ignite such support

Slain friend motivates rookie football player to make it with hometown B.C. Lions

Jaylen Sandhu, stabbed to death in 2014, a source of inspiration for promising RB Jamel Lyles

Home care for B.C.’s elderly is too expensive and falls short: watchdog

Report says seniors must pay $8,800 a year for daily visits under provincial home support program

B.C. ‘struggling’ to meet needs of vulnerable youth in contracted care: auditor

Auditor general says youth in contracted residential services may not be getting support they need

Pair of B.C. cities crack Ashley Madison’s ‘Infidelity Hotlist’

Data from the website reveals Abbotsford and Kelowna hottest spots for cheaters

Life’s work of talented B.C. sculptor leads to leukemia

Former Salmon Arm resident warns of dangers of chemical contact

Billboard posted along B.C.’s Highway of Tears to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women

Billboards featuring Indigenous artwork to be placed in Surrey, Kamloops and near Prince George

Most Read