After 33 years with the Interior Health Authority, Linda Lillie completed her final day last Tuesday before retiring.

She took a well-deserved early day after serving in health care for 40 years.

“I think now I’ll just take six months to enjoy friends and family,” she said. “Those are the things you tend to miss when you are busy with work.”

In 40 years of service, Lillie has seen a considerable amount of change in the health care industry. She said she mostly noticed that patients are much more able to monitor their own health, by using electronic devices.

“People are much more aware these days,” she said. “There have also been great improvements to tertiary hospitals.”

Early in her career, Lillie travelled to various locations throughout the area while she worked as a human resources representative.

She performed administrative duties throughout her tenor, including program administrations, human resources and then managing.

During her last years with the IHA, Lillie worked as a commuity integration consultant and was influencial in the launch of the online patient communication information tool “Connect.”

She said the various divisions of employees in the health care field have become much more united since she started her 33 years in Merritt.

“At first, I came to Merritt for the job,” she explained. “But then the people and the valley really grew on me.

“And it’s such a great opportunity to live in the rural environment, but to have access to the city.”

Her daughter, April Garcia, was raised here, and she credits her mother for raising her while studying and working full time.

“Linda is a true inspiration, as for the first nine years of my life she raised me as a single parent while working full time, as well as going to university to further her career,” her daughter Garcia, said. “She is a very special lady and I am so very proud of her for what she has accomplished.

“It is a perfect example to all aspiring professional females in particular that you can do anything you put your mind and heart into.”

After her education, Lillie entered the human resources field at Interior Health in Kamloops, but she travelled throughout the region, attending various health centres during her tenor.