Smith, Vivian Olivia Alexander

April 28, 1919 – May 18, 2021
at the age of 102 years:

Vivian Olivia Alexander Smith passed on May 18th, at the age of 102.

Born in Kingston, Ontario to loving parents Gertrude and Raymond Farley, Vivian was close with her sister Flora June throughout her life. The sisters shared a love of travel, but were equally content with an afternoon of Scrabble on the deck. They were known, on occasion, to make each other laugh to a point of needing a chair to keep from tumbling over.

Vivian spent her childhood in Kingston before attending Queen’s University, located on her doorstep. She majored in both English and History. It was at Queen’s that Vivian met her husband (Russell) John Alexander, a medical student. After graduation, marriage, and John’s time spent in the service, the couple moved to Kamloops with their first two children.

In 1948, Vivian and John moved to Salmon Arm, where John served the community through his medical practice. Vivian found many friends in the United Church, and in the community of Salmon Arm, which she would grow to love. Vivian and John had two more children.

Vivian and John provided a carefree childhood for their children, filled with happy memories of time spent at the family cabin on Shuswap Lake.

Sadly, John passed far too soon.  Vivian then returned to university, where she obtained a teaching degree.  She taught business subjects at SASH for several years.

Vivian left Salmon Arm to marry Jack Smith, whose engineering career led them to Montreal, Oakville, and finally Calgary.

Vivian and Jack retired to build a home on Shuswap Lake at the site of the cabin that created so many happy memories for her children.  All Vivian’s grandchildren have great memories of childhood summers spent swimming and enjoying campfires on the beach. Shuswap Lake will forever be known to those close to Vivian as “Grandma’s Lake.

Vivian enjoyed needlework, sewing, and knitting throughout her life. She exercised her lively mind with countless jigsaw and crossword puzzles. A superb cook, she was renowned for her pies and baking, which were anticipated by all guests. She spent many happy hours playing bridge.

Vivian loved the community of Salmon Arm, and brought her generous spirit to countless church and community causes over the years. Vivian was fortunate to maintain an independent lifestyle until her final years, even passing her driver’s test in her nineties.

Vivian is predeceased by husbands John and Jack, and is survived by children Joan (Joe) Chacko, Ralston Alexander, Daphne (Rob) Bickford, and Ann (Dave) Gilliland. Ralston’s wife Karen predeceased Vivian. Vivian has ten grandchildren living across Canada, the United States, and Ireland. Her great grandchildren number a dozen. Jack has two surviving children, and one deceased. Their families remember Vivian fondly.

Vivian’s entire family wants to thank all the incredible caregivers at Shuswap Lodge and at Hillside Cottage One for giving Vivian comfort in her later years.

Vivian was buried in a private ceremony and a memorial service will be held when restrictions allow.


  1. My condolences to all Vivian’s family. I have missed my many visits with Vivian at her home and then at Shuswap Lodge. I met Vivian many years ago at First United and then sold Avon to her for many, many years. We had many discussions about her knitting projects. A very special Lady.

  2. In Barrie, Ontario, we are so sorry to hear about Aunt Vivian’s passing. I as a kid, remember their endless laughter during time spent together with my Grandma, Flora Charles, whenever they were together, either at Halford Ave. in Toronto or up north at Twelve Mile Lake. More recently when my now wife and I stopped to visit in Salmon Arm while my Grandma was already out west visiting, the pair were the exact same as I remembered when younger. Lots of great, happy memories.

  3. Our heartfelt condolences to the family during this time of sorrow. May Vivian live on in your wonderful memories of all the good times at the lake.

  4. Mrs. Alexander (as I knew her) was my Pitman Shorthand Teacher at Salmon Arm Senior High School (SASH) in Salmon Arm. I went on to use the Shorthand skills she had taught me while working as a Legal Assistant during my career. She was always very encouraging and interested in each of her students. I agree that she had a wonderful sense of humor and also had a beautiful smile. My deepest sympathy to each member of the family at this sad time. So sorry for your loss.

  5. I remember Vivienne telling me that growing up in Kingston there were weeping willows beside the lakes and water snakes Would be hiding in them! She had a great sense of humour and lived life large!

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