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Victoria woman who died at Occupy Vancouver was a talented artist

Nov 09 2011

Ashlie Gough, the 23-year-old Victoria woman who died of an apparent overdose at the Occupy Vancouver protest, was just beginning to spread her wings and explore her potential, her stepmother said Tuesday.

"She lived an authentic life — her philosophy was that one should never judge others," said Glenda Mercer, partner of Ashlie's father, Tom Gough.

Ashlie was born in Quesnel and moved with her family to Victoria when she was six months, growing up on Rockwell Avenue near Admirals and Gorge roads.

She attended Craigflower elementary, Shoreline secondary, Colquitz and Esquimalt high schools. "She had a talent for making art out of anything that caught her eye and some might classify her work as whimsical-folk art," said Mercer.

Ashlie broadened her artistic interests to include body piercing and tattooing. She had an "amazing" boyfriend, Kegan Munro, for the last year and a half, said Mercer.

Ashlie loved to travel and hoped to go to Thailand this Christmas. She had explored Mexico, Belize, Turkey and Guatemala. Ashlie visited her father and stepmother in Victoria three weeks ago.

"Ashlie was starting to round out some of the sharper corners, focus herself a little bit more on what was important to her," said Mercer. She had a huge number of friends "who were like family to her," and a dog named Xavier that she adored.

Mercer was reluctant to talk about the grief that she and Tom are experiencing.

"I think anyone who knows what it's like to lose a child knows it's an hour-by-hour thing," Mercer said.

Ashlie's mother and her 27-year-old sister, Tiffany, live in Red Deer, Alta. The family is planning to get together for a private service to celebrate Ashlie's life.

smcculloch@timescolonist.com

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