Trailblazing lawyer labored till she died at 101

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Trailblazing lawyer worked until she died at 101

Constance Dora Isherwood, a pioneer for women in BC’s legal profession and the oldest practicing attorney in the province, was still working two hours before her death Tuesday at the age of 101.

“She worked that day and was very, very concerned about closing real estate deals by the end of the day. She didn’t want to take anyone out and died at 6pm, ”said son George Isherwood on Thursday.

Connie, as she was called, celebrated her 101st birthday with a dinner at Moxie’s on Jan. 19, Isherwood said.

She had slowed down lately. She suffered from heart failure and became difficult to breathe.

“She never complained about anything. So when you asked her how she was doing, she would always say, “It’s all right here.” But on the last day when I went to her she said, “Well, I can’t say today that everything is fine here.” I knew something was wrong at the time, so I got the doctor out there, ”he said.

George was at the Royal Jubilee Hospital waiting for Connie to be rushed to the ambulance when her doctor James Cox called him and told him to come home quickly. Connie died peacefully, he said.

The family will celebrate Connie’s life if the pandemic allows, her son said.

“She really touched a lot of people. She was a local. She was born in Nanaimo and is just here forever. “

Connie had a large group of friends. “She was really a big part of her whole life. She was her advocate for everything. They just think she’s the greatest. She was an amazing woman and an incredible person. “

Connie, whose maiden name was Holmes, initially had no passion for law. She played drums in an all-girls band and would have liked to play in an orchestra. But she was working as a legal clerk for a lawyer in town who encouraged her to enroll in the University of British Columbia law school, and she agreed it was a good idea.

When she studied law at UBC in 1948, she was one of only eight women in a class of 208. Two of those women had dropped out when she graduated from the top of the class in 1951.

After graduation, she returned to Victoria to work with her mentor Ernest Tait, with whom she founded Tait & Holmes.

In 1963 she opened Holmes & Isherwood with her husband Foster Isherwood. He died nine years ago at the age of 92.

In 2016, Connie, who practiced in real estate, family and civil law, became the first woman to receive the Law Society of BC’s highest award for Lifetime Achievement.

Through December 1, 2019, she drove five times a week from Otter Point in Sooke to her office in a historic 1887 home on Fort Street. When she moved to a house in Broadmead, she drove on and even drove to nursing homes herself to give legal advice to those unable to get out.

In an interview with The Times Colonist on her 100th birthday, Connie said her philosophy is to keep going and being with people. “Be approachable. Let them come to you and you will help them. That’s a good recipe. And I’ll finish by saying, “Think.” That always gets you through. “

Constance Isherwood is survived by her sons Charles and George.

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