In Memoriam: Lt(N) Cynthia Ann Lawless

Lt(N) Cynthia Lawless, CD

Lt(N) Cynthia Lawless, CD

Sept. 5, 1972 – Nov. 22, 2018

Cyndi passed away in the company of her family after a challenging fight with cancer. She is survived by her loving husband Michael, and her three incredible children – Patrick, Brian and Erin – as well as her mother Diane (Doug) and father Stew (JulieAnne) and her siblings, many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Cyndi was born in Vanderhoof (because Fort St. James did not have a hospital at the time!) and is the younger sister of Maria and older sister of Sean and Michael Coulter.

After graduating from Fort St James Secondary School, she attended BCIT where she earned a structural and architectural drafting certificate.

Cyndi enrolled in the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Program as soon as she was permitted and quickly demonstrated the leadership, interpersonal, and citizenship skills that have served her and others so well.

As a cadet she was engaged in all aspects of the program and developed many strong friendships that continued throughout her life.

She served in her local community and at the national summer training centre HMCS Quadra reaching the rank of Chief Petty Officer First Class.

It was at Quadra that she met her husband Michael and, after marrying in 1992, they served together at RCSCC Captain Vancouver as well as HMCS Quadra.

As Cyndi and Michael started a family, they moved to Victoria, which has remained home ever since. With three incredible children, Cyndi was active within her school community and served on the board of St. Patrick’s Elementary School and later volunteered at St. Andrew’s Regional High School. She was a very talented artist; it is rumoured that her husband once, at great peril to himself, had to ‘steal’ one of her artworks away from his mother-in-law’s house so he could proudly display it at their home (where it remains to this day!)

Cyndi enrolled in the Royal Canadian Navy as a CIC officer in 1991 and continued in that service until her death. She had the privilege of commanding three different Sea Cadet Corps (RCSCC Admiral Budge, RCSCC Admiral Waller, and RCSCC Beacon Hill) where she was an inspiration to all who had the opportunity to serve with her.

She was a passionate and effective mentor, coach, instructor and leader. She ensured that each cadet and officer was empowered to achieve success in a respectful, positive, and safe environment.

Frequently, former cadets would approach her years after they had left the cadet program to thank her for her personal commitment to their development and to share their successes.

In addition to her work at the cadet corps, Cyndi was employed full-time at the Regional Cadet Support Unit (Pacific) in various roles directly supporting the Canadian Cadet Organization.

The depth and breadth of her skills allowed her to succeed as an instructor at the officer training school, the administration officer for the Army Cadet program in B.C., the movements/transportation officer for B.C., and in her last posting as the Sea Training (Plans) officer. At Sea Training she was truly there to help and she actively empowered sea cadet corps to deliver dynamic and effective training in support of the aims of the cadet organization. (She sometimes described herself as the ‘moneybags’ and her goal was to spend every possible dollar in support of program delivery at each cadet corps and through RCN and international training deployments!)

Cyndi was a tireless and passionate advocate of the cadet program who spent countless hours outside of work to ensure that each cadet and officer was challenged to meet their potential. In this respect she was the consummate professional and a critical contributor to not only the cadet community, but the wider Canadian community.

The cornerstone of Cyndi’s life has always been her family. She treasured her children and was incredibly proud of them. They each carry with them the very best attributes of Cyndi – her passion, intellect, humour, and commitment to serve others.

Cyndi’s legacy lives on through not only her children but also each person whom she has inspired, mentored and guided throughout her life.

A celebration of Cyndi’s life will be held on Friday Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. in the Gunroom at Work Point.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the HMCS Quadra Scholarship Fund (c/o Regional Cadet Support Unit (Pacific)) in memory of Lt(N) Cynthia Lawless, CD.

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