‘She was happy’: Illegally evicted Nanaimo woman dies in hospital

'She was happy': Illegally evicted Nanaimo woman dies in hospital
Sharon Kowalchuk is pictured.

Gerry Casey says he’d give anything to hold his wife one more time – but can’t. Sixty-six-year-old Sharon Kowalchuk, who was illegally evicted from her Nanaimo apartment while she was dying and touched thousands with her story, died on Sept. 22.

“All of a sudden she’s not there, and it’s hard to swallow, hard to swallow,” Casey told CHEK News Friday.

“We’ve been through so much.”

Kowalchuk’s sisters say the 66-year-old got her spark back and was even flirting with doctors when she died.

“We were there at the end and she went her way and she was happy. She was OK,” said Kowalchuk’s sister, Kathy Zimmer.

“She laughed right to the very end,” said sister Debbie Jackson.

In March, when the Nanaimo senior was facing a terminal illness and given just weeks to live, she was illegally evicted from her Nanaimo apartment. Kowalchuk told CHEK News, that the reason her landlord gave her was that her medical treatment were causing disturbances.

“Because I had ambulances come,” Kowalchuk told CHEK News on March 2.

She lived months longer than expected, when CHEK News viewers rallied to help her and raised $30,000 to ensure she was safe and without worries in her final days.

“It meant the world to her, Nanaimo came to her,” said close friend Tracey Kemp. “She didn’t think she deserved it, she didn’t think anyone cared. We all cared,”

“She had a good quality of life because of the viewers. Thank you for that. Very much so, the bottom of our heart and certainly the bottom of her heart,” said Zimmer.

Kowalchuk never lived to see the landlord who evicted her fined heavily by the BC Residential Tenancy Board.

Duart Rapton has been ordered to pay nearly $18,000 for the illegal eviction. Yet, Kowalchuk’s family is confident she’d be happy with the ruling.

“Yes. I’m going to miss her but I know she’s in a better place and is no longer struggling,” said Zimmer.

Casey says he is still trying to retrieve his late son’s ashes and pictures back from the landlord who evicted them. A memorial service for Sharon Kowalchuk is being planned for mid-November.


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