If Dorothy Kostrzewa could see the tributes that poured out with the news of her passing this weekend, she would almost certainly be humbled.
She would also probably tell everyone to get over it and not to shed any more tears.
Kostrzewa was a rare combination of incredible sweetness and unwavering toughness.
As a child in 1934, she survived the burning down-probably intentional-of her home and the destruction of all of Chilliwack's Chinatown. She also lived through the great flood of 1948.
She endured and thrived in a community that, at first, seemed to not want her, and one that later seemed it might end up under water anyway.
She had a beautiful family, had a good career and went on to become the first woman of Chinese descent elected to political office in Canada.
That bears recognition even if she thought it didn't. The reason she didn't want any acclaim is because Dorothy Kostrzewa entered politics for the most important reason of all: community.
It sounds clichÃ©, but it's true. She cared immensely about Chilliwack and making her hometown a better place to live.
With utter selflessness, she entered municipal affairs to see what she could do to promote recreation and the arts.
Kostrzewa didn't ask for a lot in her time on city council but if she wanted something, watch out, she was hard to stop.
The Piper Richardson statue is at least partly her doing. Building a cultural centre was a 30-year passion. Adding community sports fields was a lifelong one.
She once said that if you don't laugh, you'll cry. And she didn't like crying.
Chilliwack is worse off now that she's not with us but we are all better for having known her.
Shake off the tears now that she's gone. Let's smile about what she left behind.
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