Tribute to Virginie Dufour, the Secretary General of The Global Community organization, who passed away April 28.
These Proceedings are dedicated to you Virginie.
Virginie was a distinguished Canadian artist who painted under the artist name Airaca B. Dalen. A prolific painter who exhibited frequently, her work is noted for its vigorous rhythms and joyous colours. Her large watercolour studies of flowers are bold and free, exploiting the wet-on-wet technique with considerable skill. Pastel compositions of groups of children were favourite subjects, as were landscapes in various media, especially of the Rockies, whose untamed savagery she strove to capture. Her large abstract pieces, usually in oils, show originality and a strong sense of design.
She was born Aubrey Virginia Schneider (later shortened to Snider) at the home of her grandfather, John L. Schneider near Moorefield, in Wellington County, Ontario. She removed at a young age to Fergus, Ontario, receiving her basic education in the excellent schools of that place. Here, her artistic precocity became apparent.
She worked at first in Hamilton and Windsor, Ontario in advertising copywriting and layout design; painting at the Doon School of Fine Arts was a favourite holiday pursuit, with exhibitions at the ABS House of Art and Crafts in Amherstburg. It was Leonard Johnson, Art Director of the Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.A., who first recognised her unusual talent and urged her to take up the study of painting seriously. Virginia Conn, as she was known (having married Edward Conn, a printer of Windsor, Ontario) practical as always, first obtained professional teaching qualifications at the Windsor Teachers College, B.Sc. Ed., winning the Hon. John Prince IODE prize for her classroom skills. Only then did she realise a long-held dream, obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. A career in art teaching now followed, first in Windsor, and later as an Art Specialist in Mississauga, Ontario. After some years, she determined to paint full time; in 1978 she purchased a Camper and travelled the continent from coast to coast, painting as she went, first in the Maritines and New England, then across the prairies, finding at last her spiritual home amongst the trees and mountains of Alberta and British Columbia. She settled finally in Calgary, Alberta.
She now adopted the professional name of "Airaca B. Dalen" and continued to paint, exhibiting regularly in Calgary and beyond; an appraisal of her work appeared in Artwest in June, 1983. She was widowed in the following year. Multi-exposure photography as a form of artistic expression occupied her later years. In April, 1998, we married. She took my name Aubrey Virginia Dufour. Several more oil paintings were completed afterwards.
Virginie was a great being and my spiritual support all along without whom the World Congress and The Global Community organization could not have been created. She was an enlightened one, an inspiration, a gentle person, a wonderful creative mind and the supporting loving heart that made things happened. We shared a profound affinity with the natural world. Her insights will last the millennium and beyond.
Virginie has been a faithful and loving partner. The love that sustained us both will go on undiminished and is imperishable. We are soulmates.
Virginie and I shared a common higher purpose in life that of helping humanity and this purpose has not changed, will not change.
Virginie's contribution to the welfare of humanity and to the children to be born is infinite and as such will always be with those who have really known her. The work to make a better world endures. Her part is spun into a great fabric and will be a factor in the continued efforts of humanity to better itself. I promise her to continue our work and do my part here to keep up our mission and higher purpose in life.
Virginie made thousands of friends around the world. They have heard of her passing away and felt a terrible loss. Their feelings for her are too overwhelming. They are all aware of what she did for humanity. In her creative work on the Internet for the world to see, and the countless letters she wrote, members have felt her warmth and friendship. They have appreciated her sense of professionalism, her determination and perseverance in achieving her ideals for the good of all humanity. She gave us a sense of direction for the better.
Suddenly stricken in her full vitality, this accomplished artist and wonderful mind and heart died on 28th April 2000. She died of a brain tumor (glioma astrocytomas) that could not be cured. She struggled against the cancer over the past eight months before her death. Her ashes have been interred in Ontario, in the Bethesda Cemetery on the 10th line of Maryboro; her Great-Grandfather, William Mitchell, deceased in 1906, in 1849 one of the first settlers in the Queen's Bush, gave land to the Methodist Mission to erect a church. Through her maternal Grandmother, Virginie was directly descended from Mayflower Pilgrim, Edward Doty, from Jacob Janse Schermerhorn, one of the earliest Dutch settlers in the New Amsterdam (later New York) and from the United Empire Loyalist Samuel Welch of Connecticut and Napanee. Her sisters Eileen Roberts, Redbourn, England, Jolly, Edmonton, Alberta, and a brother Gland Schneider near Moorefield, in Wellington County, Ontario, and her daughters, Lucy Jane Wilson of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Atherton Drenth of Guelph, Ontario and Althea Tymec of Leamington, Ontario, all grew up in Windsor and, survive her.
Virginie's passing away is an irreparable loss to the Sustainable Development Community, and to The Global Community organization she and I have created. Members are experiencing a deep sense of mourning. The Global Community thanks you Virginie with all their hearts. Our members will keep your Vision alive and continue to work to create a better world. We will miss your guidance and enlightenment in each step that we’ll take for the World Congress in August.
Our remembrance of you will be eternal. You have been an inspiration for the world and will be sorely missed by the thousands of lives you touched. Your work will remain a guiding hand for The Global Community.
May God rest your Soul in eternal peace.