Obituaries

  • Paul Stephen Wesson

    Paul Stephen Wesson

    Sept 1949 - Sept 2015

    Paul died unexpectedly but peacefully in his sleep at home on Gabriola in the early morning of September 16th 2015, likely due to a heart attack related to the chronic pancreatitis and diabetes that he battled over the last twenty years of his life. 

    Paul was born in Nottingham, England in a working class family at a time when food-rationing after the war was a daily reality. Despite this, he often spoke fondly of his childhood where collecting newts and sailing on the river with school chums were favourite pastimes. After high school, he went on to study physics at the University of London in Portsmouth and completed graduate studies in astrophysics at Cambridge in the early seventies. A highlight of his life was a summer job studying seismic activity in the Hindu Kush Mountains which included travelling overland from England to Afghanistan and six weeks in the mountains. Awarded a scholarship to study in a NATO country, he chose Norway where he lived for several years, learned to speak Norwegian and met his first wife. Moving to Canada in 1975, he worked in Kingston and Edmonton before settling in Waterloo in 1984. In Edmonton, he embraced real Canadian winters, playing hockey and going to Oilers’ games. California was a special place for him and he spent time there whenever he could. Paul loved music (The Kinks, Mahler and Dylan), English comedy (Spike Milligan and Monty Python) and reading old science fiction novels.

    Paul’s life’s work was as a professor of theoretical astrophysics. He leaves a significant body of research in the form of journal papers and nine books but he was also proud of a science-fiction trilogy he authored. 

    In 1975, a visit to Nanaimo to meet a school pen pal introduced him to Gabriola. He fell in love with the island and spent summers here for decades before moving permanently to B.C. in 2004. While Paul never forgot his difficult and humble roots, he loved the outdoors especially the sea.

    Paul is survived by his life partner and best friend Pat, four children: Amanda (Patrick and Sullivan), Emily (Sebastien), Jasper and Sterling, English family (Betty, Aunt Marion and others) and many friends and colleagues both on the island and around the world. 

    Many thanks to the Gabriola first responders, paramedics and Dr. Tracey Thorne for caring for Paul at the end of his life.

    Paul’s life ended way too soon and he will be very much missed by many people, likely most of all by his 11 year old son Sterling.

    As per Paul’s wishes, there is no funeral or service planned at this time, but a celebration of life will be held at date still to be decided.

  • Margaret “Pegi” Coleman

    Margaret “Pegi” Coleman

    1926-2015

    Gabriola lost one of its most elegant hostesses and beloved residents when Pegi Coleman passed away in late-August. Sympathy cards now line the home she built and shared with her husband John, fondly recalling memories of black-tie cocktail parties, elegant, and casual dinners, as well as the ongoing, informal music jam sessions that take place there, every Friday during the summer.

    She lived a life of challenges, stark contrasts and adventures, always in impeccable style and never without a touch of class. The only child of a Welsh coal-miner, Pegi survived the London blitz, climbing out of air raid shelters to apprentice in European salons, earning the status of a certified Couture. She first married a teacher and they lived aboard an elaborate houseboat and owned a traditional English Pub, before emigrating to rural northern Saskatchewan, into a house with no running water or electricity, raising three children there, in Manitoba, and at the Air Force base in Cold Lake, Alberta. Divorced, with children, she opened her own award-winning salon in Calgary, before heading high-end woman’s fashion departments at Woodward’s, in that city and later, in Nanaimo.

    Like so many of her fellow Gabriolans, she first vacationed here, fell in love with the Island, and vowed to return. She became a full-time resident in 1980 and spent 35 happy years enjoying the natural beauty and good company in the local community, extending a warm and well-known welcome at the Coleman home, sharing ideas for fashion and decoration, a love of oil painting, reading, and occasionally, a good Scotch, as well.

    Pegi was predeceased by her son, Mark, and daughter, Shelly, and is survived by her daughter, Selena, seven grand-children and husband, John Coleman. 

    Her family is holding a small private funeral, and is planning a celebration of her life, later in the year.

  • John Higgins

    John Higgins

    Oct 14, 1940 - July 31, 2015

    Our hearts are heavy as John leaves to experience the next dimension. John lived life as his own man to the end. He inspired so many to be more than what they thought they could be.

    He leaves his wife, Jan, daughters Kathleen Higgins of Calgary, Cindy Gordon of Victoria and Kristina Higgins of Boston, USA, grandchildren Rachel and Andrew Gordon, stepdaughters Elizabeth Traer, Janice Hernandez, stepsons Peter and David Provan. His extended family and wide circle of friends across Canada, the USA and Europe will grieve his passing, but please wish John bon voyage as he starts on this the next great adventure.

    Thanks to the palliative care team of Moog House and Dr. Barkhuisen for their help and care.

    No service at John’s request...just take a moment to remember your time with him. Drink a little whiskey and sing a little Willie or Waylon, Gordon or Ian or maybe even some Leonard to bring back memories of good times together.

     

  • Mary Evelyn Shepherd (nee Beaton)

    May 19, 1941 – July 16, 2015

    Mary passed away peacefully in her sleep with her husband Bruce always close by her side. Mary was born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, and later moved to Churchill, Manitoba, where she met and married Christopher (Bruce) Shepherd. It was here their son Christopher Ryan Shepherd was born. Bruce was in the RCN which meant home was wherever he was stationed at the time. 

    Mary and Bruce finally settled on Gabriola Island which is where their son, grandson and daughter-in-law resided. 

    Mary was an accomplished piper whose music will be missed. She loved island life and loved to spend her days outside gardening and, for those rainy days, she would turn to her other love which was painting. Many people would know Mary from GIRO, as she loved to go and poke around every Wednesday and Saturday because you never know when you might find that perfect treasure. Mary is predeceased by her parents Alex and Florence Beaton and her grandson Christopher (John) Shepherd. 

    She is survived and will be dearly missed by her son Christopher Ryan Shepherd /daughter-in-law Lenora (nee LeMaitre) and her husband of 49 years, Bruce Shepherd. 

    Many thanks to Dr. Tracey Thorne and the staff at the Medical Centre on Gabriola and to the doctors and staff at the Nanaimo Cancer Clinic. 

    Special thanks to Terri Stalberg RN, home care nurse. 

    Rest in peace my love. 

  • Christopher (Kip) Plant

    Christopher (Kip) Plant

    Christopher (Kip) Plant, 65, cofounder of New Society Publishers (Canada), passed away peacefully on Friday June 26, 2015, in Nanaimo BC, after courageously living with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and Multiple System Atrophy for the past 9 years. 

    Kip was publisher of New Society Publishers (Canada) until his retirement in 2013.

    Kip is survived by his soul mate and loving wife Judith Plant, and will be forever missed by his family Julie Raddysh (Sandy) and grandchildren Benjamin, Thomas and Hannah; Shannon Dubroy (Ken) and grandchildren Samantha, Connor and Paige; and Will Dubroy (Julia) and grandchildren Isis, Emma and Arya.

    Kip was born to Patricia and Jack Plant in Birmingham, England in 1950. He leaves behind two brothers; he will be sadly missed by his brothers Peter Plant (Sue) and nieces and nephews Robin, Kate, Owen and Jo; and Nick Plant (Sue), and nieces Rebecca, Laura and Sophie.

    Kip dedicated his early life to social justice movements. He organized the first Nuclear Free and Independent South Pacific conference. He worked tirelessly for the independence movement in Vanuatu, working closely with Father Walter Lini, who later became Vanuatu’s first prime minster. Kip attended Simon Fraser University where he completed his Masters degree in Communications and met the love of his life, Judith. They were married on May 7, 1979 in Vancouver BC, and together their passion for a more just and sustainable world grew. In 1996 they incorporated New Society Publishers in Canada, beginning a legacy that will forever carry on Kip’s dream of giving a voice for activists and providing tools to change the world.

    The extended family of New Society Publishers will dearly miss his amazing mind and sense of humour.  He has been an inspiration to so many, and the publishing work he did and cared so passionately about continues.

    A Celebration of Life was held on Friday July 6, 2015. The outpouring of support and love from family, the Gabriola community and from publishing colleagues was tremendous -- a truly amazing celebration for a wonderful man who lived a short but powerful life. In lieu of flowers or cards, please consider instead a donation in Kip Plant’s name to GERTIE, Gabriola’s Community Bus Service: www.gabriolacommunitybus.com  or gabriolacommunitybus@gmail.com.

  • Ronald George (Ron) Peters

    Ronald George (Ron) Peters

    June 25, 1931 - July 5, 2015

    Ron passed away peacefully in Langley, British Columbia, with his family at his side. He was born and raised in Regina and later moved to Duncan on Vancouver Island, where he met and married Cynthia Rosamund Sherrick. Ron and Cynthia raised their three children in Maple Ridge before returning to the Island to live in Ladysmith. 

    After Cynthia passed away, Ron spent a number of years on Gabriola Island, a place they both loved. 

    Ron was active in the Unitarian Congregation, where he gave lectures on cosmology and evolutionary biology. 

    A man of eclectic skills and interests, he taught both English and math, had an abiding interest in the sciences and was a talented builder and craftsman. 

    He also had a great sense of humour, which served him well when he became a resident first at the Renaissance Seniors Home and then at Magnolia Gardens Care Centre. He was predeceased by Cynthia, his parents Ernest and Veronica and his brother Ted.  He is survived and will be greatly missed by his sisters Joan and Marie; his children Ken (Helen), Evelyn (Andrew) and Laura (Steve); and his grandchildren Jeffrey, Nick, Keegan and Gavin. 

    Many thanks to the excellent staff of Magnolia Gardens, who gave him professional and loving care throughout his stay.

  • Gustaaf Wilhelm Lund

    Gustaaf Wilhelm Lund

    Jan. 25, 1935 – May 15, 2015

    Gus was born and raised on a farm near Beaufort West, South Africa, and earned a B.Sc. from Stellenbosch University. Although he grew up in the semi-desert Karoo area, Gus loved the sea and built a 38 ft. sailboat which he and his wife sailed across the Atlantic in. In 1973 they moved to Gabriola where Gus designed and built houses until he retired. After retiring he built driftwood furniture and sailed and kayaked around southern BC.  

    We are so grateful for the wonderful care he received from his doctor Francois Bosman and the rest of the staff at the Gabriola Medical Clinic, and the compassion and skill of the doctors and staff at the Victoria General, Royal Jubilee and NRGH was truly amazing. He died in the palliative care ward at the Nanaimo Hospital.  

    He is survived by his wife Gail, sons Andre and Gerhard, daughter-in-law Cris, and grandchildren Kayla and Aidan, and in South Africa, brothers Pieter and Andre, their wives Anna and Martie and their families. We are very thankful to the Gabriola community who are supporting us with their friendship and love at this sad time.  

    A celebration of Gus’s life will be held at the Community Hall on Sunday, July 12, at 3:00 p.m.  

  • Gerald (Gerry) Sayers

    Gerald (Gerry) Sayers

    July 4, 1937 to June 19, 2015

    Gerald (Gerry) Sayers, July 4, 1937, to June 19, 2015, passed away peaceful in Victoria General Hospital comforted by the presence of his loving family. He was the beloved husband of Grace, his wife of 52 years, and caring father of his two sons, Jeremy and wife Catherine, and Christopher; he was also the doting grandfather to Christopher’s two sons Garrett and Rowan. He is survived by his sisters Innes Roberts and husband Brian, Millie Sloan and her husband Bill, and many nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind numerous cousins in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, where he was born.

    Gerry graduated from Queens University Belfast in 1961 with a degree in Civil Engineering and immigrated to Canada the same year. After several years working on diverse engineering projects in Ontario he moved his young family to BC, establishing his own engineering and consulting company in Vancouver. 

    He retired from his successful career in 1997, moving to Gabriola Island where he enjoyed the rest of his life in beautiful surroundings.

    Gerry was blessed with a keen intellect and enquiring mind, which led him to many pursuits throughout his life. As a young man he attained his pilot’s license as a volunteer with the Queens University Air Squadron. His first love was flying and later in life he applied his interest to airflow over a sail rather than a wing. Many enjoyable years were spent on his sailboat with friends and family, exploring the BC coast.

    Injuries from his earlier athletic pursuits precluded continuation of his accomplished squash game in middle age, but he learned to enjoy the game of golf in later life. He was an avid reader and as a consequence possessed a prodigious general knowledge. In addition, he had an abiding interest in current affairs and was continually abreast of the issues, expressing his views with great pragmatism.

    Gerry always held a genuine interest in peoples’ lives, and this, together with his amiable nature, considerate manner, and not the least, conversational skills, resulted in a wide circle of friends from all walks of life.

    Gerry was a kind, generous man, and there are many people whose lives will be diminished by his absence.

  • David Lloyd Dewinetz

    David Lloyd Dewinetz

    Dec. 16, 1941 – June 7, 2015

    It is with great sorrow we announce the sudden passing of David at his home on Gabriola Island. He was born in Canyon Creek, Alberta, to John and Violet Dewinetz and grew up in his hometown of White Rock, BC. He is pre-deceased by his parents and his brothers Mel, Gordon and Kenny. He is survived by his loving son Troy (Katharine), Troy’s mother Lori, his former wife Bernice, his brothers Don (Jody), Richard (Evelyn), and Bill (Joan), his sisters Judy, Yvonne (Mike Meyer), and Dianne (Dave Swansburg), many nieces and nephews and a multitude of friends that loved him. 

    David’s remarkable work ethic led him to have a very successful 45-year career in the grocery business. Starting as a clerk for Super Valu, he worked his way up to Vice-President of Kelly Douglas. He later owned and operated his own supermarkets where he mentored and started many employees on their own career paths in the industry. Guided by a faith in God and his own generous heart, he found much happiness volunteering in the communities in which he lived. He was a loving father that was always there for his son. David enjoyed being social and spending time with friends and family. He had a soft spot for children and animals, and enjoyed cars and Elvis. His BBQ salmon was legendary. He was an excellent fisherman, enjoyed golfing, and coaching and watching hockey. He is still waiting for his Canucks to win the Cup.

    A Funeral Service will be held at 1:00 PM on June 23rd, 2015 at Victory Memorial Park Funeral Centre, 14831 28th Avenue in South Surrey. A small Celebration of Life reception will be held on Gabriola Island on Saturday, June 27 at 1:00 PM at the Gabriola Golf Course. 

    In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of BC or a charity of your choice. Condolences may be offered at www.victoryfuneralcentre.ca

  • Peter Heinz Max Lissack

    Peter Heinz Max Lissack

    March 31, 1928 – June 8, 2015

    Peter passed away peacefully at home on Gabriola Island with family by his side. He considered his 26 years living on Gabriola the best years of his life. He was a dedicated parishioner at Our Lady of Victory, which included being a former lay presider and member of the church council. Under the umbrella of the island’s Agricultural Society, he founded the Gabriola Garden Club in 1991. Starting with only 12 members, it currently boasts over 150 dedicated green-thumbs. 

    Over the years, Peter contributed many humorous articles to our island paper, regaling the locals with antics of his many pets. As a youngster in Berlin, Germany, Peter enjoyed biking extensively throughout the city and could frequently be found visiting the Tiergarten and local zoo. By age 16, he was sent to join the war where he was captured by the Russians. After returning from the Eastern Front, Peter apprenticed in agriculture. In 1951, upon completion of his apprenticeship, Peter immigrated to Canada. His first employment was on a farm in New Brunswick followed by landscape gardening in Montreal. In 1952 Peter headed west to Vancouver. After an assortment of jobs, he acquired his first service station in 1954. An interest in machinery and mechanics led him to a 33-year association with Shell Canada until his retirement in 1987. 

    Married in 1963, Peter and his wife, Sue, raised their family in Vancouver before moving to Gabriola in 1989. Predeceased by his parents, his sister Anita and brother Karlos, he is survived by his wife Sue (nee Lawrence), son Stephen (Melissa), daughter Kathryn (Barry) and granddaughters Isabelle Lissack and Ruby Nelson. He will be greatly missed. 

    Funeral mass will be held on Saturday, June 20, at 1:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Victory church (the log church at Silva Bay) followed by a reception at the Gabriola Golf Club from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.