Veteran Travel Industry Leader Heather Qually Dies

Open Jaw

Heather Qually in 2011 at retirement party at Vanessa Lee’s prior to moving out west.

Poignant message on Heather’s 2011 retirement cake

Described as “a truly impressive woman,” long-time Canadian travel industry executive Heather Qually was taken by breast cancer last Thursday in YVR.

Cruise Strategies Ltd. President and CEO Vanessa Lee was a close friend and colleague over the years, and she wanted to share her thoughts on the sad occasion with Open Jaw readers. Qually retired from the industry just a few short years ago.

“Heather and I first met in 1982 when she worked for Eaton’s Travel and then our careers ran parallel with her at Carousel and Regent and me at Paramount and Encore Cruises,” said Lee.

“One of my greatest feats was to convince her (very slyly I must admit) to come and work with me at Encore on a short-term project basis, which ended up being a lengthy collaboration of many gratifying years and one of our mutually finest career moments in marketing and brochure production. It was a joy.”

Lee continues: “HQ as we called her, was a real character and one of a kind. She was a truly impressive woman. She was literally ‘one-of-a-kind,’ deeply private, strong, proud, very smart, had the BEST stories, and she could write extremely well.

“Heather was never an easy woman, and you had to take her as she came, but in her later years she did mellow (somewhat) and she was always a loving, loyal, generous and trusting friend as well as a marvellous sibling to her beloved “Sister Sandy” who returned the favour in spades.

“And now we are all the poorer for her loss,” Lee concluded. “Brava, Heather, Brava – a life well-lived.” 

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