Retiree still tickling the ivories with her students - International Women's Day

·2 min read

Marvel Strutt has been an active member of Merritt’s community for more than 25 years, and in that time, she has helped many people both in her career and her personal time.

A Registered Nurse, Strutt spent 17 years working at Coquihalla Gillis House, where she was responsible for the care of many patients.

“I really enjoyed it, I enjoyed my time there,” said Strutt.

“We had a good team; they were good years.”

Following her retirement as she approached her 65th birthday, Strutt continued to serve her community by providing piano lessons to children, something she began in 1996 and continues to do today.

“I really enjoy it, that’s why I still do it,” said Strutt.

“I just turned 70 this year, but I thought, I still love teaching piano, so as long as I have students, I’ll keep teaching.”

Although her students typically play for enjoyment or as a hobby, she has had a few advance and become excellent players. One reached Grade Four through the Royal Conservatory of Music. Another now sings and plays piano in her church, something Marvel supports as a piano player for her house of worship, the Merritt Baptist Church, where she also occasionally volunteers as part of the soup kitchen.

The Herald published an article in January about a virtual cooking class that was delivered over Zoom in partnership with the Lillooet Better Living Centre. Strutt helped pack the meal kits and deliver them door to door for Merritt residents so that they could take part in the free class.

Her advice to other women is simply to help out wherever they can.

“Whenever I see a need anywhere, I like to be able to meet those needs, in the community,” said Strutt.

“Reach out to community and reach out to people in need. Wherever you see a need.”

Strutt would like to thank her neighbour for nominating her, and appreciates the wonderful friendship they have shared for many years.

“I was quite shocked and honoured, I just felt really surprised,” said Strutt about her nomination.

Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald