Rina Honderich was a free spirit, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Rina Bidin (Honderich) was born in Denroche, B.C. in 1914 to Italian immigrants. She spent her childhood in Woodfibre, a small mill town on Howe Sound only accessible by steam boat. In order to complete high school Rina had to leave her family and move to Vancouver for grade eight onwards. She lived with an Italian couple, Frank and Gina Federici. At an early age she did the bookkeeping for Frank’s barbershop in the Hotel Vancouver and later, his other business interests. She made her first of many trips to Italy in the late ’30s, sparking her love of travel to Europe and South America. She was particularly fond of Oahu where she went to escape the coldest winter months for more than 50 years.
Rina developed a passion for real estate acquisition and property management, at which she became very successful. She also loved philanthropy and established the Rina M. Bidin Foundation in 1988 – fund raising and promoting many causes for family and friends.
In the 1990s Rina was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. She immediately began to research the disease and eventually met Dr. Jon Stoessl whom she grew to respect for his dedication and knowledge. She knew of his renown and the researchers he attracted. She kept herself informed and was always asking, “So, is there anything new?”
She had a daily routine of exercise – stationery bike, walking and stretching – and weekly physio appointments. She did hand strength exercises and had weekly voice therapy. She fought it all the way. What was most devastating to Rina through her disease was the slow erosion of her abilities as she had been so independent. In her final years her health failed rapidly and she was wheelchair-bound and required numerous caregivers.
Rina died on April 16, 2011 when she was 96. She had lived life to the fullest. She included a bequest of $400,000+ to the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre in her will – with the wish that the funds contribute toward the knowledge and development of breakthroughs that will battle the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s, and more importantly contribute toward its cure.