Family and friends of the late Sophie Thrasher are mourning her passing, and remembering her as a caring woman who never cursed and was always willing to help others.
Thrasher was a regular in downtown Yellowknife, often donning a puppy hat with ear flaps.
Born in Inuvik in August of 1963, Thrasher passed away Sunday at the age of 55.
In the days following her wake, a woman named Corrine stood on 49 Street, holding a small cut out with Thrasher’s picture. In the photo, Thrasher is wearing a pink shirt and with a wide smile and bright skin, looks directly into the camera.
“She is so beautiful,” said Corrine, holding the photo out for others to see.
Thrasher would sing for people, said Timothy James Base, who met Thrasher at the day shelter. On a day Thrasher was feeling sad, Base gave her a hug and she sang him a song.
“She always would sing. She even told me that she could play guitar.”
“She sang for me, she made my day,” said Base. “When she passed away, it just started hurting. We always help each other out one way or another. That’s what she did for me,” said Base.
“She’s still alive in here,” said Base pointing to his heart, “and in here,” pointing to his head.
Sitting on a bench, John Smallgeese and Florence Woodson reminisced about Thrasher’s sense of humour.
“I still got a big heart for her,” said Smallgeese.
“She was kind. She had a big heart. She’s really comical too. She’d make a joke,” said Smallgeese.
Woodson jumps in, “always jokes that made people happy … people on the street.”
Outside of Centre Square Mall, several of Thrasher’s friends circled around a phone to watch a clip from a video documentary of Thrasher playing guitar in Aklavik with a man on the fiddle.
Several of Thrasher’s friends oohed and aahed at their late friend playing a joyful tune on what looks to be a warm summer day in the Mackenzie Delta.
In an 2015 interview, Thrasher said, “We never wanted numbers, we just wanted to live out in the bush camp.”
In life, Thrasher was a vocal advocate for street involved people, and loved to lend a helping hand.
“I like to help out people. There are hungry people out there,” she said.
Thrasher spoke often to local media about the hardships she faced while living on the street, after fleeing to Yellowknife to leave a violent relationship in 1999.
At one point, Thrasher was employed at Stanton Territorial Hospital.
In 2014, she helped add more than 50 names to a petition through Amnesty International, demanding action on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“I’m a granny, I’m a mother. Nobody wants to be on the street, but they got no choice. You know that, you see it,” said Thrasher.
She praised kindness and compassion towards people experiencing homelessness.
“When you’re homeless, it hurts. I thank God for another day. I thank Jesus for another day,” said Thrasher.