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November 29, 1945 - November 1, 2013

Jessens, Ieva Astride, died very peacefully at the Victoria Hospice, Victoria BC on November 1, 2013, of lung cancer.

She was born on November 29,1945 in a refugee camp in Germany, of Latvian parents fleeing World War II. The family immigrated to Antigonish in 1948. She graduated from St. Andrew Rural High (1963) and from Mount Alison University (BA 1966, BEd 1967), where she received the Francis S. Alison Award as Outstanding Female Student.

Her long and satisfying teaching career spanned St Andrew Rural High, Graham Creighton High, Waldorf schools, schools in southern Manitoba and fly-in villages in Northern Manitoba as teacher and principal. In the world of women’s volleyball, she coached at collegial, provincial and national levels, and served as director of Volleyball Nova Scotia.

With her exuberant extrovert ”can do” attitude, she was often bigger than life, and made the impossible possible, and thereby was of great benefit to others. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and she will be greatly missed.

She was predeceased by her parents Andrejs Jessens and Mirdza Riekstins (born Riga, Latvia); first husband Larry Blaxland; second husband Stan Hildebrand; nephew Andrew (“Chuckie”) Jessens. She is survived by her partner Alan Rorke of Qualicum Beach, BC; sisters Zane (Michel) de Noncourt of St.Joseph’s; Inta (Daniel) Lessard of Enfield, Connecticut; brother Andrew (Heather) Jessens of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Also many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends coast-to-coast and in USA, Latvia, Australia and Nigeria.

Ieva asked in her last days that it be known: “ I died happy, even though they told me I was sick.” Ieva’s family expresses gratitude to the many who helped her sustain this mantra right to the end.

Cremation has taken place. The Nova Scotia Celebration of Life will be held at St. Joseph’s Lakeside Community Centre, Antigonish County on Thursday November 14 at 2PM. Family flowers only. Donations in her memory can be made to the charity of your choice. Messages of condolence may be posted at

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