Hospice Staff

Our dedicated staff work with the Board, Society Members, and Volunteers to ensure efficient delivery of all our programs and services to the community.

  • Executive Director - Margaret Vatamaniuck
  • Hospice Services Coordinators - Katja Strube, Moira McNeil
  • Administrative Coordinator - Blair Knoedler
  • Grief & Bereavement Counsellor - Shayleen Bordeleau
  • Child & Youth Grief & Bereavement Counsellor - Brianna Harvey
  • Ty Watson House Coordinator - Mike Paquette
  • Ty Watson House Kitchen Staff - Kim Cameron, Bernadette Dobbyn & Patricia Knodel
  • Ty Watson House Gardener - Valerie Deakin
  • Housekeeper - Norma Oppenlander
  • AVHS Office Staff - Lu Xu
  • Board Meeting Minutes Taker - Jennifer Smith

Board of Directors

Robyn Monrufet - President


I have lived and worked in the Alberni Valley since 1975 and am a recently retired registered nurse with 49years of combined frontline nursing and management experience in acute and community care.

As a health care professional I have long been involved in the development of palliative and end of life care services within the Alberni Valley and the Vancouver Island Health Authority – And, I have been involved with Ty Watson House since its inception in 2007 having been responsible for the organization of clinical services including staffing models, policy guidelines, collaboration with Community Care Licensing, staff training and the day to day oversight of community palliative services.

Over the years I have been involved with many community organizations and one of my passions is to advocate for and improve the health of area residents. I strongly support the need for robust, compassionate end of life services both in Ty Watson House and in the community.

As my new role as President my vision for the society is the growth and the delivery of excellent palliative/end of life care, commitment to community and further developing and fostering solid working relationships with all our stakeholders.

I support the mission, vision and values of the Alberni Valley Hospice Society and am committed to continuously pursue improvements in efficiency, effectiveness and quality while balancing service demands and budget limitations.

Maureen Mackenzie - Board Director


I have always taken pride in being born and raised in Port Alberni. I have a long family history in this community and a vested interest in the betterment of our community. I see the positive work the Alberni Valley Hospice Society has brought to this community. The support and care that is given to the individuals of our city, in what can be the most trying and vulnerable times of their lives, are immeasurable.

I have had the opportunities in my life to develop and build my career and experiences that I feel have made me appreciate the value of “community”. In my current profession as a realtor, I learned the importance of ethics, confidentiality, communication, conflict resolution and comprehension of bylaws. Prior to becoming a realtor, I owned an interior design business. Interior design not only allowed my talent of vision and creativity to unfold, but also allowed me the opportunity to work along with my clients collaboratively, bringing their ideas to fruition. I have also worked in policy and procedure development for safety and environmental standards with Mars Industries as an administrative assistant. I used my experience working at Queen Alexander Centre for Children’s Health and at West Coast General Hospital on the switchboard, the X-Ray dept and admitting, to further my compassion for people and to utilize my organizational skills and my professionalism in very intense environments.

Volunteerism through committee involvement is a value I believe strongly in. When I speak of my belief in the betterment of our city, I am speaking to the amazing work that so many of our committees in this town do for our community. I have been involved in many committees in my life here in Port Alberni such as Safety Days and EFAP. Volunteering on a committee can be hard work but rewarding work. This is so true to the current committee I have founded in Port Alberni, the 100+ Women Chapter which has been a tremendous success and has given me so much pride and pleasure to be a part of as it is incredibly impactful for our city.

Outside of work, I love spending time with my daughter, Sarah, my 2 rescue dogs and relaxing at my favorite place on Earth, Sproat Lake. I also enjoy walking, hiking, going to the gym, playing cards, and DIYing. Most of all I value the time I spend with family and friends.

I strongly believe that the end of our journey in life should be filled with comfort, love and support. End of Life Care and support should be, and can be, as beautiful as the life we bring into the world. I feel that the AVHS has ensured this to happen for many people, both directly and indirectly, in our community. I understand the importance of working in the best interest of the society and community. I stand proud of our “Community with a Heart” and feel that my forward thinking and inclusiveness of others would be an asset to assist in community events through the AVHS.

I am honored to be on the Hospice Society Board of Directors.

John Kuch - Board Director


I’m a proud Port Alberni resident for the last 26 years , I’m in a long term relationship with Deborah Kruks and have 3 children but only 2 Grandchildren so far.
I was born in Winnipeg Manitoba in June of 1954 making me 67 right now. I’ve had a varied and quite eclectic life and to paraphrase the immortal Jerry Garcia “what a long strange trip it’s been”.

In the summer of 1970 when I was 16 I came to Victoria to visit an Uncle, I knew right then that there had been a terrible mistake made and that I was never meant to be in Winnipeg Manitoba but belonged on Vancouver Island.

Even though up to that point I had a been a good student I couldn’t get Vancouver Island out of my brain. I quit school in Grade 10 and hitchhiked to BC in January of 1972.
Fortunately I had some outdoor skills and somehow survived that first winter living in a pup tent North of Campbell River and then with a group of mainly US draft dodgers on the North Island. It was a pretty severe winter.

In the spring I managed to get a job planting trees, which progressed to logging and the logger lifestyle. I was married to the first of 3 wives in January of 1976. I worked in various logging camps mainly around Vancouver Island. In 1977 I was badly injured in a logging accident and spent about 1 year in the hospital.

After I recovered I tried logging again but had lost the ability to step up onto logs from my injuries. I eventually moved to the log booms and became the boss at a log sort in Gibson’s. I also had taken log scaling and had a log scaling license. 
Unfortunately I was involved in the party lifestyle with alcohol and drugs. My life began to spiral down. By 1984 I was divorced and heading toward the bottom rapidly. Somehow I managed to keep working. In 1986 I decided to go to UBC Forestry, I was accepted for some reason but only did 1 term as I was still partying. My life really went downhill after that and I was close to living on the street, very close! In 1987 I called AA and by the grace of God I met 2 men at my very first meeting that took me under their wing and made sure I stayed sober.
I’ve been sober since.

I did go back to school , BCIT Wood Products Manufacturing, and upon graduation got a job at Tolko Merritt as a sawmill foreman. I was there for 5 years but always wanted to be back on Vancouver Island. An opportunity came up to be a Superintendent at Field Sawmill in Courtenay which I took and got back to Vancouver Island. In 1995 I was hired by Wayne Coulson to manage his mill in Port Alberni. I worked there until 2012 as the General Manager of Coulson’s manufacturing operations, when I left and joined my current group at Trapa in the custom cut business.

We have worked closely with the Coulson’s and now the San group as well as the local suppliers and have become quite successful.

Due to or in spite of the life I’ve had I have great empathy for people and have a love for Port Alberni as both have helped me on my journey to where  I am today.

Nancy Wilmot - Board Director


Nancy Wilmot was born and grew up on her family’s farm in rural Manitoba. She attended Brandon University on a full scholarship, took a year off to travel Europe, and upon returning transferred to University of Calgary where she pursued a BA in English & Political Science.

It was in Calgary that she met husband, David Zryd, who currently works as a Clinical Counsellor for the Nuu Chah Nulth Tribal Council. After several years living in California She and David returned to Canada in 1991 to start a family. They moved first to Tofino, and later to Port Alberni, with Nancy staying at home with their two children, Jonah and Annie. She began working with Shaw TV Port Alberni as an on-producer, a position that she continues to hold and enjoy.

In 2014 Nancy was named “Citizen Of The Year” at the Chamber of Commerce Excellence Awards, an award that was largely inspired by the community work she has done with Shaw, and the relationships she has formed with the city’s many community groups and organizations.

Board Login

Board Members are provided login access for additional resources.