Gloria Taylor Will Be Remembered
Gloria Taylor of Westbank, BC, died on October 4, 2012. Diagnosed in 2009 with ALS—a fatal degenerative disease, Gloria died suddenly and unexpectedly in Kelowna General Hospital, due to an infection. Gloria will be remembered for her courageous participation in a landmark constitutional court case for the right to die with the assistance of a doctor. She won a special right to receive court authorization for either physician assisted suicide or euthanasia.
The oldest of four girls, Gloria grew up in Castlegar, BC. She married, had two sons, and divorced. In her younger days Gloria enjoyed motorcycling and rode a Harley Davidson. Gloria established the Interior Association for Injured Motorcyclists, which provides aid to fallen bikers. She considered herself a fighter, refused to be bullied, and was known for standing on principle. She was frustrated that as a non-native living on First Nation’s land she had no voting rights, so in 2009 she stood for election for a position in the Westbank First Nation council.
Gloria’s career included working for the post office, residential care, and property management. Despite the progressive disability due to ALS, Gloria continued to live independently in her own home with the support of family and professionals. She told the BC Supreme court that one of her greatest fears was being reduced to a condition of dependence on others to meet her needs.
In a statement published by the BC Civil Liberties Association, Gloria’s mother Anne Fomenoff, remembered her legacy: “Gloria will be dearly missed by her devoted family and friends, but we are grateful that Gloria was given the solace of knowing that she had a choice about how and when she would die. Thanks to the ruling of the B.C. Supreme Court, Gloria was able to live her final days free from the fear that she would be sentenced to suffer cruelly in a failing body. The exemption she was granted allowed her to face her illness and death with dignity and grace. In the end, Gloria was spared a long and painful death from ALS — she was able to die peacefully surrounded by her friends and family. Until the moment she died, Gloria firmly believed that all Canadians should have choice in dying, and we, her family, completely supported her in that belief. I am so proud of my feisty, determined daughter – she struggled to make the world better for Canadians. I speak on behalf of my entire family when I say we are so proud of her legacy. We are blessed to have known and loved this special woman.”