‘They were living the dream’: Community reels after Yukon mom and baby killed by grizzly bear

Click to play video: 'Victims of Yukon grizzly attack were ‘living the dream’ says friend.'
Victims of Yukon grizzly attack were ‘living the dream’ says friend.
WATCH ABOVE: Yukon residents in shock over deadly grizzly attack – Nov 28, 2018

The victim of a tragic grizzly bear attack in the Yukon is being remembered as a talented teacher with a love of the outdoors and an infectious smile.

Valé​rie Thé​orêt and her 10-month-old daughter Adele Roesholt were mauled to death by a bear on Monday outside their remote cabin northeast of Mayo.

The child’s father, Gjermund Roesholt, shot the bear dead when it charged him as he was returning from his trap line.

READ MORE: Yukon mother and 10-month-old daughter killed by grizzly bear at remote cabin

In Whitehorse, where the family was based, the community was reeling on Wednesday.

“Disbelief. Like, it’s not true that she’s gone,” colleague Michel Emery told Global News.

WATCH: Memorial service held for mother, baby killed by grizzly bear

Click to play video: 'Memorial service held for mother, baby killed by grizzly bear'
Memorial service held for mother, baby killed by grizzly bear

Friend Rene Lapierre said Thé​orêt was “a magnet to kids,” and always brightened a room with her presence.

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“I don’t know if you’ve seen her picture, but her smile is quite beautiful,” he said. “Always smiling, always a very happy person.”

He said Thé​orêt and her partner had only just hit their stride — after trying for years to have a baby.

READ MORE: Yukon tragedy: Grizzly bear attacks extremely rare, say experts

“When they finally got pregnant, she was so happy, it was incredible,” he said.

The couple were experienced backcountry adventurers, he said, and passionate about their remote cabin, adding, “It looked like a dream place.”

“Every time she talked to me about that trap line and that place, it was like heaven for them. She was always happy and smiling talking about that place,” he said.

“They were worried that a baby wouldn’t fit so much on a trap line, but [the child] was rolling with everything and she had a blast playing outside and in the cabin, and it was natural for her.

“They were living the dream.”

Flags were flown at half-staff on Wednesday at Whitehorse Elementary, where Thé​orêt had worked for more than half a decade.

WATCH BELOW: Experts say grizzly bear attacks extremely rare

Click to play video: 'Experts say grizzly bear attacks extremely rare'
Experts say grizzly bear attacks extremely rare

Vice-principal Bruce Dent said there was an outpouring of support for staff and students from the district and other schools, but that those who knew Thé​orêt are still at a loss for words.

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READ MORE: Dramatic video shows Bella Coola man firing shotgun at charging grizzly bear

“She taught Grade 3 at one point, she taught Grade 6 at one point. And all of those students, they have great memories of her. She really had a lot of success with them,” he said.

“We had kids come back from the high school yesterday who had been in her class years before, and they were shaken by it.”

Thé​orêt’s partner has returned to Whitehorse, where Lapierre said he is being supported by friends. His and Thé​orêt’s parents are flying to Whitehorse to join him.

“He’s probably made of concrete or steel, I don’t know how he can hold his thing together, it’s just unreal,” he said.

A memorial for the mother and child is planned at the Association Franco-Yukonaise for Thursday.

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