Our precious sister, Sabine Tanasiuk, early childhood educator, confidant, and mother that her sons loved so very much, passed away with the grace of the Lord June 17, 2020 at the age of 59. She was Coltan’s and Keegan’s loving, and understanding mother that instilled high standards and values in them, a warm and nurturing grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend.

Sabine is survived by her brothers Steve  and Chris Tanasiuk and sister-in-law Dianne Gardipee, her sisters Lezlie Tanasiuk, Regean Sim, and brother in-law Bruce Sim; sister-in-law Judy Bahry; her children: Coltan and Keegan Andersen, her grandchild Rylan Andersen, her nieces Ashley Tanasiuk, Julia DesRosiers; nephew Dustin Bodenchuk; and numerous beloved aunts, uncles and cousins.

She was predeceased by her father Reg Tanasiuk and mother Murial Tanasiuk, grandparents Julia and Dan Block, Stephen and Ann Tanasiuk.

A Memorial Service will be held at the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church, 49 Boulder Blvd, Stony Plain, AB with Pastor Max Solbrekken officiating, on Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.. Directions: Highway 16A West from Edmonton, past Spruce Grove, turn right in Stony Plain off highway 16A at North Park Drive, 1/2 block North and then Left on Boulder Blvd, Arrive at 49 Boulder Blvd. The Service will be available for family and friends to see by following this link: https://distantlink.com/serenitySG.html.


Directions from Lighthouse to Glory Hills Cemetery may be accessed using this link: https://goo.gl/maps/M5zane1m1De3DyYT7

A Celebration of Life will be held in Vancouver following funeral services in Edmonton, date to be announced in the next week. Let us come together and social distance in this time of COVID-19 to celebrate her life.

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Tribute wall - a place to share your memories and condolences

Sandra Currie

I am shocked, and saddened to learn of the death of Sabine! I worked with her at Crabtree Corner. She ran the child care program and was fierce advocate for mothers and children. Together, we found creative, out of the box ways to serve the community. We had many great strategy sessions over a glass of wine or a beer. Great sense of humour, loads of energy, and a tireless advocate for children and their moms! What a great loss!

Jean Rasmussen

Dear Sabine’s family,

First of all, we want to express our deepest sympathies for this immense loss for all of you, but especially for her two sons – Coltan and Keegan Andersen.

Sabine was a force to be reckoned with!!
The first time I met her she was working at Raycam Community Centre, overseeing the ECE programs there. We were interested in delivering our Get Ready 2 Read (GR2R) family resource program there, one night a week. Sabine was in a hurry to get somewhere, but listened to my pitch and then said “Sure, let’s try it out. Send me the details”.
We started almost immediately and delivered the GR2R program at Raycam for a number of years.

All you needed from this powerful and engaging woman was about 30 seconds of her time and the ability to speak fast and be concise. She’d size you up and decide on the spot if what you were offering would benefit the families she served – because that was what she cared about. She knew what the families in the community needed and always acted with their best interests at heart.

Sabine was a gifted and authentic person when it came to community and family development. She was a lovely person, with a great sense of humour and an open and welcoming presence wherever she went.

When she was seconded to Britannia to fill the role of Manager of Childcare services, I approached her once again, asking her advice about starting an ECEA training program with CFEC’s partners – a program, as it turned out, lasted more than 6 years, with the Native Education College delivering the courses. We trained 185 ECEA participants – most of them were newcomers to Canada and more than half are still working in the field.

All of us, at the Canucks Family Education Centre, and in the field of early childhood education commend Sabine for her passion and caring for our youngest children and in advancing the field of early childhood education in BC.

You will be missed, my friend. Thank you for your service.

Kindest regards,

Jean Rasmussen
Founder & Executive Director
1001 Cotton Drive, Room 110
Vancouver, BC V5L 3T4 Canada
C: 778-321-3487
E: [email protected]

Randi Gurholt-Seary

Sabine and I first worked as colleagues many years ago, when she first came to work at Britannia Child Care Centre. The connection, however goes even farther back than that. We actually worked in Edmonton at Fulton Child Care in separate programs and discovered this connection once at Britannia. We had a laugh over that. Sabine was a tough gal, wore a cowboy hat and buck skin fringed jacket and could give the finger with the biggest smile on her face. She loved a good laugh, a good fight and could utter profanities like nobody else I knew. She was a worthy opponent.

Sabine was a ferocious advocate for marginalized families and a strong supporter for the aboriginal community in East Vancouver. Sabine may not have always been a colleague that was easy to work with, but she was always an advocate for her programs. She was funny, loved to get together for our staff parties and helped make them fun by participating in the organizing of skits and other antics.

When I shared Sabine’s early passing with a couple of staff from the early days, they remembered her love of her Ukrainian heritage. She was so proud of her boys cultural dancing and the foods of her family. They recalled her amazing perogies with white pepper and bacon that she’d make every year. She would giggle and make jokes about Hootch and you knew she enjoyed herself. Having her nails done was a tradition as was her packages of slim cigarettes. I was always amazed that she could have a smoke while walking from the centre to the office building and store the unfinished cigarette back in the pack for the next smoke. Sabine was comfortable being herself. She was tough, funny, strong willed, could stare down a bear and would always have a joke to share. I wasn’t a close friend of hers but our lives were linked through an age that we shared. Work, family, children and East Van.

I’m saddened her life was so hard in the end and that she had leave her family so early. I send my condolences to her children her sister and her family and friends.

Kate Hodgson

It is, of course, the hardest thing to put into words what Sabine meant to her community at RayCam Centre.

Over the past few days, we have been talking and sharing only a tiny part of the work Sabine did and what she meant to the families, staff and supporters of RayCam.

I remember when I first met Sabine, not long after she started at RayCam, after so much work at Britannia Community Services Centre and with a reputation as an advocate and a force to be reckoned with in Early Childhood Education. My first impression was of ENERGY. She was brimming with ideas and plans, and she had the knowledge and experience to back those plans up. She was unafraid of hard work, of rolling up her shirt sleeves and digging into whatever area of advocacy, big or small was needed. Loading up a food bag for a parent, sitting with children waiting for pick-up, speaking in front of government representatives about the needs of children and families in the Downtown Eastside. Nothing was too big or too small.

When we talk about Sabine, a common theme was that Sabine was tough on the outside, and inside she had the proverbial heart of gold. She really cared, she wasn’t easy but she was authentic, real and the caring was deep. Those that worked alongside her talk about how she always took that extra step, to know about them, their family, their lives. And how she always took that extra step for families and folks living in the DTES. She was generous to a fault.She was always willing to help.

She loved to support the Indigenous artists in the community, you could hear her clanging as she walked, wearing the gold and silver jewelry of so many talented First Nations community members.

She was well known in the Early Childhood community for her advocacy and she was outspoken at many multi-agency tables working with other organizations and neighbourhoods to set up innovative programs for families. Her colleagues from those tables, from neighbourhood houses and family places remember her for how very special she was. How she always fought for the underdog. How she always FOUGHT. Till the bitter end. She not only created preschool and childcare programs at RayCam, she coordinated the Phil Bouvier childcare centre, and fought like hell when it was threatened with closure in 2009. Her goal was always to ensure that the most vulnerable children, those with complex needs were first on the community’s agenda- she wouldn’t settle for any less. She was a key part of Network Two, of Network of East Vancouver Community Organizations, of the Windows Table, of the RICHER Social Pediatrics initiative and so many partnerships.

She started careers in Early Childhood Education for so many community members. There are folks working today at RayCam and other organizations that are there because she believed in them, because she helped them access funds or support to go to school, because she worked to set up education opportunities where people lived instead of having to travel to school. She saw potential in people– that is not something that necessarily shows up in awards or on a resume, but that really was at the heart of her career: her belief in the ability of others and that everyone should have access to opportunity. She was a mentor to many, and the outpouring from community parents now is a reminder of how big a part of so many people’s lives she was.

We will remember Sabine, her sense of humour, and we will picture her always leaning over the fence at RayCam, sharing a smoke with someone, joking, planning and helping.

Sandra Primrose

My name is Sandra Primrose. I worked with Sabine at Britannia Community Services Centre in 1981. Sabine worked in the Child Care Dept and I was in the Clerical Dept. I found her to be very intelligent, kind, fun, loved kids and loved working at Britannia. Sabine and I became close friends and we treasured our friendship that has lasted 29 years. I will always cherish our time we had together. Sabine was a beautiful person with a loving heart and soul. “Rest in Peace” my friend, Your friend, Sandra Dee.

Lorine Scott MN NP (F)

Hello Leslie,

I am so saddened to hear this news about Sabine. She and I worked closely together for over 10 years, along with Chris in the project she has described below. Sabine was force! She was the voice for all who had challenges raising their voice. Her commitment to improving the lives the children in the community, and her strong belief in the strength of the family unit was evident in all her undertakings. There was no problem or barrier that she wouldn’t tackle.

For me personally, her wise counsel, and expertise allowed my work to be better, and to meet the needs of the families we served in ways that actually worked for these families. She was such a huge part of making our RICHER health care service truly beneficial for the families and kids.

It was wonderful to have been able to know and work with her, and more importantly to consider her a friend. She was a force! With the best memories. Lorine

Lorine Scott MN NP (F)
Nurse Practitioner Consultant: FNHA

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 604 -315-0750

Rose Postalian

Sabine. Without a doubt you were instrumental in changing the trajectory of my life. I was a struggling single Mom when my 3 children attended Britannia Preschool and right away you noticed I had a challenge with my twin sons. You worked tirelessly with me to get the diagnostics done so that when they entered the school system resources would be in place for them. When those resources didn’t come you helped unleash the advocate in me and thus my life’s passion began. For 2 years we worked with many others to establish the Inner City Strategy for Supported Child Care. You always had a vision and were ferocious in making it come into reality! The vision was always squarely aimed at getting children what they needed and deserved in order to thrive. And thrive they did. So so many families are indebted to your uncompromising fight to put early childhood education as a priority in a child’s life! You knew what an impact and difference it could make if the child’s needs were being met from the start of life. You brought many many community members into the field and always believed in the capacity of the community to care for its own children. That may not sound like much but it was huge! You had the rare gift of knowing what a person’s strength was and brought it out in them! You had a vision for the children of the DTES and you went after it. The Phil Bouvier Family Centre would never exist without your tenacity to bring it into existence. Your passion became our passion. To stand up for our children, to demand what every child in Canada deserves… a good start in life.
You gave city politicians and provincial politicians a good run for their money and I was in awe of how many of them knew you by your first name! Who could forget you? You were a force of nature!
I will miss you my friend and colleague and the ECE field owes you a great debt of gratitude
Rest In Peace Job well done

Christine A. Loock, MD, FRCPC, DABP

Dear Lezlie

Your sister, Sabine, and I worked closely for many, many years, starting at YWCA Crabtree Corner in the 80s and for the next 3 decades. I followed her footsteps, as she moved east down Hastings, to work at Raycam and Brittania Community Centres.

I am writing as the medical director of the RICHER Social Pediatrics program to send our love and condolences to you and the rest of her family. We will carry her in our hearts forever.

Sabine was a key force, contributing to the development of our integrated program to “keep families together”. Sabine was integral in the planning of our first conference in the downtown Eastside, with the Vancovuer Health Department, YWCA and RayCam, on preventing FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) and creating services for substance withdrawal including NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) to prevent separating the “mother baby pair”. We worked together to develop the 1st of its kind in Canada perinatal harm reduction service, the Sheway program, which opened in 1993.

And one of her most lasting contributions was her determination to develop available, accessible and sustained special needs daycare and after school services, integrated within the inner city neighbourhoods, that also trained and hired staff from the community. The YWCA, YMCA, Phil Bouvier Center, RayCam, and Brittania Centres all benefitted from her passion, compassion, and inclusion of community voices in the process.

Sabine watched with pride as her DTES families grew up. I will forever see Sabine standing at the west door of RayCam leaning over the community garden fence, laughing and chatting with longtime parents, opening her arms to greet them, sharing a smoke, and helping solve problems. They also carry her in their hearts forever.

She was very proud of her own children, sharing their adventures and accomplishments. She was intensely proud of all her community kids as well. She helped so many parents reconnect with their kids. And she helped staff stay connected with the community and each other.

One of my forever memories is the day I called Sabine in 2006 and asked if we could couch surf for a couple of months to help get our UBC- BC Children’s Hospital RICHER Social Paediatrics outreach community partnership off the ground. We needed some safe space at RayCam to establish a foothold for enduring, trusted community connections.

That “couch surfing” in 2007 led to our program finding its forever “townhouse clinic ” home at 410 Campbell Ave in 2013, nested between Raymur and Campbell Ave within the “RayCam” neighbourhood, and integrated with all the inner city schools, Brittania and Strathcona community centres, YWCA Crabtree, and Sheway and other public health programs.

All she said to me that day was : “You betcha! Just come on down, Dr. Chris. We’ll find some space for you and your team.”

And space is more than what we found. We joined a “responsive, intersectoral community home (RICH)“ that welcomed our “health, education and research (HER)” services. Our “RICHER team” has now grown and multiplied, from 3 back then, to way over 30, and we meet weekly at RayCam every Thursday morning.

We will share a virtual toast to Sabine at one of our upcoming Thursday kitchen table meetings in July after the long weekend.

Please include us in any community plans for a celebration of life. If you or the family would like to join us for one of our RICHER kitchen table gatherings, please let us know. We will “zoom” you in.

With condolences, respect and love for all of Sabine‘s family and friends. She has made a difference to so many.


“Dr. Chris” and the RICHER-RAYCAM community kitchen table

Christine A. Loock, MD, FRCPC, DABP
Developmental Pediatrician
Associate Professor, UBC
Medical Director, BCCH Cleft Palate Program
Specialist Lead, BCCH RICHER Program
ph 604-453-8383 fax 604-453-8338

Lezlie Tanasiuk

i wrote this flying home to AB, Westjet, of course, on my iPhone as i reminisced about my sister, our childhood, adulthood and sisterhood. My parents allowed Sabine to go out with me when she was younger because we were so close in age, 1 1/2 years, as long as i took care of her, they told me!

We went out on the town in Edmonton one summer night, I bought what i thought was an original outfit, it was a cute black and white polka dot dress with a sweetheart neckline and peplum waistline.

To my surprise, as we entered the establishment, all the waitresses had my dress on! Sabine almost fell over laughing and said “hey Les, must have been a bargain!” We laughed and laughed about it for years.

Bean, I will miss your spunk, your quirky sense of humour, your sensitivity, kindness and sisterhood. Rest in peace, i love you!

Maria Cervino

I learned today that you left this world. Such sad news!
My adult children went to Britannia preschool when you were there. You welcomed us every day with open heart, open mind and a big smile. Each child was treasured and respected; each child was loved. You were fun and funny, in a good way. Your joy of life was contagious. You were real. I am grateful for the fond memories. My condolences to your family and friends. Rest in Peace, Sabine.

Gini Bonner

Akaal Akaal Akaal- Sabine.
I will always remember and appreciate how you guided me through the challenges of working at RayCam….a newby with no experience of the DTES. You were kind to share your knowledge, your time and your office. We had lots of laughs in that little office and we shared many successes! My heart goes out to your family and close friends – you will be missed but may you rest knowing you did your part!
Love Gini


I WILL MISS YOU GIRL, MY BFF, mentor, sisters, crazy lady that I enjoy being with and shared some laughs, awesome human being to many.

Diane Hesse

Sabine, you touched my life and gave me hope in friendship at a time in my life when I really needed to be accepted. We met in grade 6, you taught me to love the county life and gave me an appreciation for animals too. We took many horse and buggy rides with a good helping of laughter and sarcasm. I could be myself and you accepted me for who I was. I have alway cherished our friendship in those young formative years. You had such an impact on my life Sabine. Thank you for being you! It’s like that show “Touched by an Angel” because that smallest things in life that you did brought lasting results. I can picture you laughing about that too! May God administer to your Family for their loss.
Rest in peace Sabine.


Rest In Peace Sabine, thank you for being a great mentor, for your honesty, for your candidness, for the laughs, and for being around to help watch and take care of the community’s kids (including myself, many, many years ago.) You will be remembered in the lives of those you came across, those you’ve helped over the many years while working in the downtown east side, and those who experienced your kindness, laughter generosity and friendship. You will be truly missed, by many.

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