The teacher who was killed, along with her baby girl, in a bear attack in the Yukon on Tuesday was passionate about the outdoors and graphic design, and could speak multiple languages.
Grief counsellors were made available to students and staff at Whitehorse Elementary School after Valérie Théorêt, 37, and her daughter, 10-month-old Adele Roesholt, were killed in a remote area of central Yukon.
Théorêt’s husband, Gjermund Roesholt, had been returning from a trapline to their cabin in the Einarson Lake area, northeast of Mayo near the border with the Northwest Territories, when he was charged by a grizzly bear. He shot and killed the animal.
He then found the bodies of his wife and child just outside the cabin.
In an “about your teacher” section on a student website created for the 2017-18 school year, Théorêt, who, at that point had taught at Whitehorse Elementary for six years, wrote that she was born and raised in Quebec before moving to the Yukon in 2005.
“My mother tongue is French and I am very grateful to be bilingual now,” the Grade 6 late French immersion teacher wrote. She said she also spoke basic Spanish and was learning Norwegian because her partner was from Norway.
“I am also passionate about outdoors, sports, nature, arts and music,” she wrote. “This is what my summer revolved around so I am starting the year rested and full of energy.”
Théorêt wrote she had also studied and worked in graphic design for 12 years. She was the art director for Whitehorse’s Aasman Brand Communications for close to five years, leaving the company in 2010 to pursue teaching, according to a blog post on Aasman’s website.
She also appears to have been an active in her partner’s company, Wildtracks Adventure Services. The company’s website advertises guiding services for trapping, hunting and fishing in the Yukon, and also sells custom fur and animal products. Gjermund is listed as a wild guide and consultant; Théorêt, a designer and artisan of fur products; and Adele, a fur lover.
Fatal bear attacks are rare in the Yukon. One of the last documented human deaths involving a bear encounter took place in October 2014, when 42-year-old Claudia Huber was mauled by a grizzly bear outside her home near Johnson’s Crossing.
However, a coroner’s investigation later determined that Huber had, in fact, been killed by a stray bullet that her husband had fired at the bear during the attack.