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 - Teresa Ludvigson
  • Hospice Services Coordinator - Katja Strube
  • 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 and Office Relief - Norma Oppenlander
  • 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 McKenzie - 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.

Matilda Atleo - Board Director


Matilda Atleo is a member of the Tseshaht First Nation and is originally from the Xaxlip First Nations.
Matilda had been employed with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Nursing Department in Health Promotion for 20 years.

Matilda has lived in Port Alberni for the last 41 years. She has two sons, Ken Watts and Robert Watts. Her late husband was George Watts, who passed away in 2005. Matilda has remarried to Cliff Atleo Sr.

Matilda has been an outspoken advocate for healthy living, informing community members of the benefits of a health lifestyle. She believes that if we take our health seriously, we can live healthier, happier and longer lives. And with positive change in the area of smoking, nutrition, active living; we can lower our risk of chronic disease.

She hopes to assist Nuu-chah-nulth communities in developing hospice support in communities.

Dave Ralla - Board Director


Debra Skelhorne - Board Director


Debra was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, where she grew up with her mom, dad and two brothers. Debra moved to Vancouver Island in Spring of 2013. Debra has been the Clinical Services Assistant with the Nursing Department of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for 6 years.

Relocating to Port Alberni once confirming employment with the Council, Debra quickly built roots in the community she chose to make her home. She often says she will work with our amazing organization until she retires. She quickly found lifelong friends working with this close-knit team. She often brings in treats she has baked as she spoils those she cares for.

Debra is very active outside of the office caring for her young dog, Willy and her growing her garden. Debra has recently joined the Funtastic planning committee, which brings an outdoor concert to Port Alberni each year.

In her downtime, you can find Debra rocking out at festivals and other concerts around Vancouver Island and enjoying all that West Coast living offers!

Jeannette Tremblay - Board Director


Jeannette Tremblay enjoyed a successful 47 year nursing career until her retirement 4 years ago.

Jeannette Tremblay nursing career took her from nursing in a hospital medical-surgical area in an Ontario hospital to remote communities of Canada including the Arctic (the land of the midnight sun) plus remote areas of Northwest Coast of British Columbia and Vancouver Island.

Jeannette Tremblay believes all people must be acknowledged, treated with respect and dignity. She also believes a person should always be willing to listen and learn from others.

Jeannette Tremblay enjoys daily walks with her 2 pets, reading.

Margaret Vatamaniuck - Board Director


This is my first year as a Director for Alberni Valley Hospice and am constantly in awe of the dedication, caring and commitment of the staff and volunteers to those accessing the services. I was raised in a household that believed in giving back to the communities I lived in, which is why I love being involved in ‘where we call home’. As a child in a military household, and later as part of my own employment, I moved around quite a bit.

I met and married my husband, Dan in Quesnel, and we were blessed with a wonderful son. Through Dan’s work for the (then called) Ministry of Forests, we moved to Port McNeill, then Haida Gwaii before getting the opportunity in 1998 to transfer to Port Alberni where his family was.

In 2003 I began work for the Chapel of Memories Funeral Directors and have enjoyed working in the valley. We are lucky enough to have our son Willy, his amazing wife Taylor and the ‘most perfect granddaughter in the world’ living here as well.

I recognize I am on the unceded territories of the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples who called this home for thousands of years. I truly love living in Port Alberni and consider myself privileged to be able to be in such an amazing place.

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.

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