The military community lost an avid supporter and comrade when Raquel Hounsell passed away peacefully surrounded by friends and family on Jan. 2, 2016 from terminal cancer.
One of her closest and dearest friends, Franziska Buri, said, “The warmth of her personality combined with her compassion and selflessness made her an incredible human being that anybody would just want to be around and surely want in her life. I was lucky, and I got to call her a best friend.”
A champion for military family support, Hounsell was described by her loved ones as a compassionate and caring individual who devoted her time to supporting the military community by serving on the board of the Kingston Military Family Resource Centre and working for the organization Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS).
As spouse to a member of the military with an Operational Stress Injury, Hounsell was well aware of the challenges associated with caring for a loved one with an OSI. She used this experience as a family support coordinator for OSISS to help others navigate through similar challenges by lending an ear through one-on-one meetings.
“She had this natural ability to draw people to her. People wanted to open up to her and wanted to listen to her and also wanted her to listen. We saw this just not as co-workers but also as a friend,” noted Buri.
It was during their time working for OSISS that Hounsell and Buri first met.
“We eventually realized we are two peas in a pod, and we need to be best friends,” said Buri.
Much of Hounsell’s compassion and support for the military community came from living most of her adult life as a military spouse.
Born in Victoria on July 21, 1969, Hounsell eventually settled down in Kingston, ON and married her husband Max Hounsell, currently serving member of the CAF.
Hounsell had a degree in interior design and, therefore, was able to dedicate her crafty side to helping military families by contributing to True Patriot Love and the Poppy Fund. She created poppies out of paper or metal clay and donated proceeds to the Poppy Fund.
“Somehow she was always supporting military families, in one way or another, even with the artistic side she had to her,” recalled Buri.
Buri and Hounsell met when she was in remission. When Hounsell got the news that the cancer was back and was terminal, Buri says her best friend was selfless about the news.
“Her big concern was how are others going to deal with this. It was a lot less of ‘oh my god I’m dying,’ which most of us likely would react that way. It was absolutely incredible to see that even in those trying times she supported others,” said Buri.
This past June, Hounsell threw a “celebration of life” party, to celebrate and bring together people from all walks of life in a time of mourning.
The celebration drew together hundreds of people who had all been touched by her in one way or another.
“Her concern was for us and how we are going to be after her passing. So, it just showed me that she was selfless. She cared more about others than she cared about herself and that came with no limits with her and no boundaries. She would have done anything for friends and family, but also just for anyone who was in need,” noted Buri.
Hounsell leaves a void in the lives of the people she’s left behind, those she peered, loved ones and colleagues alike.
“She’s in my heart always with me. It just makes it a lot harder to get used to the fact that physically she’s not around,” stated Buri.
Raquel leaves behind two sons and her husband Max.
Raquel was predeceased by her parents Sherry and Dennis and is survived by her sisters Jodi Thompson, Alicia Lomax and Lesli Gregson.
To honour Hounsell’s love and dedication to the military community, her family appreciates donations made to the True Patriot Love Foundation in her memory.