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A Final Farewell to Alice and Michael Tickner

Celebration of life to be held July 6 at Village Hall


Michael and Alice Tickner

For decades Alice and Michael Tickner were fixtures at every Lions Bay event, from bonfires to Santa visits to Art in the Garden. Michael died in April, following his beloved Alice who died last summer. Michael and Alice's son Richard will be holding a celebration of his parents' lives at the Village Hall on July 6, and is offering an open invitation to share your memories that day.


Michael Lee Tickner was born in London, England on January 14, 1947.


"When my father was 17 years old, he heard about open submissions to the London School of Art, where potential students were invited to submit a portfolio of work they had done over the past year. After completing a year's worth of work in two days, he entered his portfolio as a submission. The school interviewed him and loved his work, but as he was slightly too young at the time, he was told to return the following year."


In the end, Michael turned away from art, working his way up to a corporate position with a furniture shipping company. It was there he met Alice.


Alice Madeline Potts was born in Port Alberni, BC on May 14, 1949. As a young woman, she made her way to London, and in 1974 took on some temp work for a shipping company.


"They fell in love immediately," says Richard, noting they married on Valentine's Day.


Alice was captured by the drawings Michael did as a hobby, and became his biggest promoter and fan. Shortly after they met, Michael left his corporate position to be with Alice and he started his professional art career painting at the seaside in Brighton. 


When Alice returned to British Columbia in 1975, Michael came with her and they moved to a home in Squamish. Their son Richard was born in 1978.


Losing their home to bankruptcy some years later sent them off in a different direction.


"They began to seek out a spiritual path, believing what your reality will be, it will be," says Richard.


By 1988 they found their way to Lions Bay, where Michael began renting space for his studio beside the store. Michael's trademark colourful style of artwork became popular and for the first time, the family had the financial flexibility to rent a nice home in Lions Bay, in addition to the art studio.


This nearly came to an end in 1990, when the house they were renting caught fire due to faulty wiring. When people learned the family had no insurance, the community rallied to support and help the Tickners rebuild.


Michael and Alice were known for their parties and gatherings, always embracing new friends or new people to the village. Long-time resident Trudi Luethy remembers a particular event:


"Where does one begin to pick up the threads of the shared stories of the Tickner Team?" she says. "I remember Alice called me one day to ask for my help with Michael’s 50th birthday party. We assembled the three-tiered Styrofoam cake in secrecy in our living room, and then schlepped it across the street and into the Community Hall. On the night of the party, with lots of laughter and total surprise, the almost impossible happened. In came Harold Gienger dressed up as a logger, with a real chainsaw in hand. He fired it up and cut a piece of the cake."


"To everybody’s amazement, out stepped a very tall, gracious, gorgeous looking woman, in high heels, full makeup, wig, and a set of 'you-know-whats' that dazzled us all. It was typical of Alice’s fun-loving way of presenting a one-of-a-kind evening. Michael was so surprised, I'm not sure he ever quite recovered!"


The Spirit of Lions Bay

She also notes that Michael originally created the “Spirit of Lions Bay” as a painting. Before the 2010 Winter Games, a group of novice carvers under the leadership of Darrel Loppe depicted the image in wood, and it was given a final home by the Lions Bay Village Office.


Myron Loutet remembers Alice and Michael from their time in the village, and for Michael's love of depicting Lions Bay and Howe Sound.


"Michael kindly sent our daughter and son-in-law a print of the Bay, which is hanging proudly in their home in Toronto," he says.


In addition to his own work, Michael designed the original logo for the chamber of commerce in Squamish, and, as with the 'Spirit of Lions Bay', was always ready to lend a hand. He coordinated the loggers' sports parade in Squamish one year, and was the first to don the Garibaldi Eagle mascot costume. He designed banners that were displayed around the village, and on the day the Lions Bay flag was first hoisted, he shouted the news from the rooftops as the Town Crier.


Michael was a regular contributor to many children's charities including Ronald McDonald House and the Kids Help Phone. He also was a frequent visitor to local schools, inspiring kids to have the confidence to enjoy making art on their own.


Most memorably for the children of the village, Michael served as Santa Claus for more than 20 years, with some of the first children to sit on his knee bringing their own children to repeat the experience years later.


"I remember many times friends coming to stay with us just for the opportunity to have some discussions about life and healing." says Richard. "My parents were instrumental in helping and inspiring so many people, throughout the Sea to Sky corridor and beyond."


He calls his parents a true team, adding that Michael would never have achieved the level of professional success he attained without Alice's support and tenacity.


Alice and Michael Tickner's Celebration of Life will be held July 6, beginning at 3 p.m. at the Village Hall. "Feel free to to bring an instrument," says Richard. "Remembering all the parties over the years, any sort of musical art is definitely encouraged."


He also invites anyone with an interesting anecdote or amusing story to share it at the event. The celebration will be potluck, with a focus on recipes shared with and by Alice. Wine will be available and BYOB is encouraged.


"This is a very open event, and guests and friends are definitely invited," says Richard.


He encourages anyone with photographs of Michael and Alice over the years, or with questions about the event to email him at richard.tickner@gmail.com.


"Lions Bay is a better place for the many gifts we received from Alice and Michael Tickner," says Trudi Luethy. "Thank you for leaving us with your beautiful and lasting memories."





Have memories to share? The Watershed welcomes your thoughts. Leave your comments below, or email us at editor@lionsbaywatershed.ca 


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