Rachel Folster or “Rae” and lovingly known as “Mama” to many, passed away early Monday, March 30th, 2020 at home, exactly as she had wanted. She leaves behind the pride and joy of her life, her four children: Christine, Linda, Sandra and David, her 13 grandchildren Jason, Cameron, Alexis, Mitchell, Samantha, Sydney, Katherine, Daniel, Adam, Maya and Noah, and her sisters Margaret, Yvonne, Rose and Sally. She is predeceased by her sisters Janet and Tilly and her grandchild, Shoshana. Rachel “Shayla” Lilian Cohen, the middle child of seven girls, was born April 27, 1933 in Cairo, Egypt to Shehata and Zakea Cohen and emigrated to Eastern Canada at the age of 24. Rae was a remarkable human being, with a bright smile emphasized by her trademark lipstick, a natural charisma and approachability that caused both women and men, young and old, friends and strangers, to gravitate toward her, and an elegant and vibrant sense of style. She was a strong, kind-hearted, gentle, witty, curious and intelligent woman with a grateful heart and an enormous capacity for loving others. The latter being her special gift.
With just a grade two education she taught herself shorthand and to type more than 100 words a minute and we would ask her to type for us just so we could watch how fast she was! Highly competent and possessing a strong work ethic, Rae was always highly respected in the workplace. After moving to British Columbia Canada, she secured a position at United Way of the Lower Mainland where she served as an advocate for her community both professionally and personally, while single-handedly raising her children.
Upon retiring, Rae busied herself with gardening and spoiling her grandchildren. She loved to learn and was part of writing and public speaking groups, she volunteered on various strata councils and was an active and dedicated member of St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church.
The family would like to extend special thanks to Andrea Folster for regularly checking in on Mom and weekly visits with grandchildren, dedicated caregivers Leila Reshid, Richard Moreau, Kailey Henderson, Kelsey Friesen, her health care team Dr. Meera Anand, Loretta Melonson, Greg and Jennifer Bay and Cindy Gilray, her niece Carol Lange, Belinda van der Zweep, Owen Barclay, Carmen and Amila Attara, Karen Tyrell, Jackie Green, Lynn LaRose, the Vancouver Thunderbird Chorus and Second Inversion Quartet, The Jammers, especially Ray, Bud, Gordon, Mary, Gloria, Daniel and Cindy, and so many others who enriched Mom’s life and allowed her to enrich theirs.
With heartfelt gratitude, we also wish to thank the people of St. Herman’s, Holy Nativity and St. John of Shanghai parishes, who’ve prayed faithfully for Mom throughout her 13 year battle with Alzheimer’s both in services and at home, as well as visited, forming bonds of friendship with Rae and looking beyond the symptoms of her illness to the extraordinary and whole person inside. In particular Father Lawrence Farley, Father Justin Hewlett, Father Richard Rene, Deacon Zacchaeus and Julia Green, Krista Ganes, Christa Price, Sid Ketel, Tammy Armstrong, Deanna Chattaway, Sister Angelina, Monica Olteanu, Christina Cribb, Herman Campbell, Maria Campbell, Susan Stavrakis, Kai and Theresia Lerche, Dr. Ed Hartley and Svitlana Gryshchenko.