Obituaries

  • Franciscus (Frank) Johannes Cornelius Van Amerongen

    Franciscus (Frank) Johannes Cornelius Van Amerongen

    Mar. 24, 1924 - Sept. 17, 2013

    It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our father, Franciscus (Frank) Johannes Cornelius Van Amerongen. He passed away peacefully on September 17, 2013 at age 89. He is predeceased by his wife Margaret, and infant daughter Ingrid Mary. He will be greatly missed by his sons Alex (Jan), Robert, Frank (Judy), daughter Yvonne, grandchildren Angie, Bradley, Matthew, Lynsey, Austin, Selena and great-grandson Roman.

    Many will remember him for his love of tutoring students, young and old, in mathematics, his favourite subject. He had a keen mind and loved to learn (except anything to do with computers), and always enjoyed sharing stories of his life growing up in Indonesia and Holland, his careers with the Dutch Merchant Marine and the CPR. He enriched the lives of those who knew him with his wonderful sense of humour and love of life. He especially enjoyed the years he lived on Gabriola and the many friends he made there. 

    The family wishes to send their heartfelt thanks to the many people who assisted Frank in his final years on Gabriola Island, as well as the dedicated staff who took care of him at Oak Tree Manor, at Nanaimo General Hospital and, during his brief stay there, Malaspina Gardens.

    There will be a celebration of his life on Gabriola Island, Saturday, October 19, at 5:00 p.m. at Mad Rona’s Coffee Bar.

  • Bennet Randall Wong

    Bennet Randall Wong

    July 16, 1930 - Sept. 25, 2013

    Ben passed away peacefully at the Nanaimo Palliative Care Unit from the complications of a hip fracture and Parkinson’s disease. Ben had a remarkable career as a psychiatrist of adolescents while living in Vancouver, BC during the 1960s and 1970s before establishing himself as a leader in the human potential movement. This was initially at The Cold Mountain Institute, Cortes Island, BC and then, along with his partner Jock McKeen, Ben co-founded The Haven, Gabriola Island, BC in 1983. He is survived by his life partner Jock and sons Kevin, Randy (Lisa), Justin (Renee) and granddaughter Katrina. He is also survived by siblings Pat, Albert (Darlene), Joyce (Charles), Allan (Deanna) and many nephews and nieces. Ben touched the lives of thousands of people over the years. There will be no funeral but a Celebration of Life will be planned for The Haven in the near future. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Haven Foundation, Gabriola Island, BC or the Nanaimo Hospital Palliative Care Unit. As a long-time friend said: “It was a dark and stormy night. It is better now.”

  • Kate Tallian

    Kate Tallian

    July 14th 1963 - July 4th 2013

    Islander Kate Tallian died this July, just 10 days short of her 50th birthday. She was born “Catherine” in Farnborough, Great Britain, to parents Margaret and Neil McCulloch. After the tragic death of their father, a firefighter, when Kate was only nine years old, she and her younger sister were raised by their mother with the help of maternal grandmother Constance Logan. 

    Kate’s first job out of high school was filing vital statistics for the U.K. at St. Catherine’s House in London. As a young adult, Kate completed a degree in Ancient History at the University of Lampeter, in Wales. 

    Deciding not to pursue graduate studies, she embarked on a trip around the world during which she met James Tallian, a young Canadian whom she eventually married, immigrating to Canada and settling in Calgary with him. There she trained and worked as a legal secretary until their amicable divorce some years later. 

    Seeking adventure on the West Coast, Kate purchased land on Gabriola Island and placed an older trailer on her new lot on Dunshire Road.  The next years were spent totally rebuilding the trailer inside and out, doing most of the work herself, and making it into a lovely, self-sufficient little home. 

    Kate was a dedicated minimalist who prided herself on a lifestyle which avoided acquisition and clutter. She lived simply, enjoying the company of her four cats (named after Roman Emperors) and her dog Clementine. She enjoyed many pursuits on Gabriola which included reading, walking, gardening and mosaic design. Kate became an expert in identification of the wildflowers, trees and plants of BC. Her English-style garden was full of plants--both rare and ordinary, native and non-native. 

    Sadly, Kate battled depression for much of her adult life. She was a devoted pet owner and even though she often found it difficult to leave her home, she faithfully walked Clementine for several hours every day. She leaves behind people who grieve for her, many whose lives she greatly enriched with her friendship, her wry humour and colourful turn of phrase. She is survived by her mother Margaret McCulloch, sister Shaz and nephew Harry. Kate’s ashes will rest in the churchyard of the tiny 14th Century Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Gillingham, England.

      A memorial gathering will be held here in Canada at the Gabriola Commons on Sunday September 15 at 2:00 p.m. 

    Donations can be made in Kate’s name to Cats Alive, the SPCA, The Gabriola Commons or PHC.

  • Helmut Nowatzki

    Helmut Nowatzki

    July 13, 1935 - Aug. 4, 2013

    Growing up in WWII Germany, the eldest of eight children, Helmut experienced hard times. As a young man, he left his homeland to try for a new life in Canada. He landed in Montreal by passenger ship in 1956 and began working as a labourer.

    He soon met his future wife Margaret in Montreal, where they married, settled and had their two girls, Marcella and Evelyn. Helmut then became an accomplished carpenter.  

    His family lived in many rural places in Canada and wherever they went, Helmut and Margaret transformed the earth into a lush landscape with a fully sustaining garden. Helmut was a strong believer in self-sufficiency, gardening being one of the ways toward this. Growing his own food was also his love, as well as his small act of subversion. 

    He was very proud of this green thumb. Anyone visiting would get a tour of the garden and a generous helping to the fruits of his labour. He also loved to collect rocks and seaweed for the garden, anything to beautify his piece of paradise.

    Helmut had a strong work ethic, but he also enjoyed relaxing, admiring his flower garden, going for walks and riding his bicycle. He inspired his children and grandchildren to work hard but also to take the time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.

    Helmut loved talking politics, the state of the planet and could pick facts and figures out of his hat; he had definite opinions on many topics.

    Honouring the wishes of his wife to be closer to family, Helmut and Margaret eventually moved to Gabriola Island. Closeness to family gave him comfort.

    His last day was spent preparing food for the annual appreciation day party, which he made a tradition of, hosted for family and friends. He died suddenly the next day while riding his bicycle along his favourite route to Berry Point.

    Many thanks to the first responders. The family truly appreciates your efforts and compassion.

    He is missed by Evelyn and Claude, Sara, Lui, Allie and Jason, Alex, Destiny and great-granddaughter, Aiyanna, Marcella, Michael and Ferryn and great friends Larry and Steve.

  • Thomas Edward Harrison

    March 13, 1931 - July 19, 2013

    Tom passed away in Nanaimo General Hospital after suffering a stroke the week before.

    He was a long time resident of Gabriola Island and a past reisdent of Burnaby, BC.

    He is survived by 1 son, 3 daughters, 8 grandkids and 6 great-grandkids. He will be sadly missed.

    RIP Dad.

  • Richard W. Jordan

    Richard W. Jordan

    August 9, 1935 to August 1, 2013

    After a lengthy illness, Dick passed away peacefully at the Nanaimo Seniors’ Village Residence where he had received compassionate and loving care.

    He is survived by his wife, Patricia; his brother, Curtis (Arlane) Jordan; nieces, Kristan (Dan) Johnson, Michelle (Chris) Roper, Sheri (Mike) Griffin, Lisa Mulzet, Debra Mulzet, Pamela (John) Evans, and Patricia (Andrew) Bacon; and 11 great nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Bonita (Harold) Mulzet in Coquitlam.

    Dick spent his early career years in the general insurance business in Vancouver, then moved to the Caribou to operate a resort and to work for the Caribou Chilcotin School District in the transportation division. After retirement in 1996 he returned permanently to Gabriola where he loved to go salmon fishing in his Double Eagle boat. As his illness progressed he realized that his fishing days were over and so donated his beloved tackle to a local garage sale in April 2008 that was raising money for the construction of our new medical clinic. Some lucky local fellow was most fortunate that day!

    Dick is sadly missed by his wife and family.

    A family gathering to celebrate his life will be held at a later date. Donations in Richard’s memory may be made to the S.P.C.A.

  • Carol Elizabeth Thompson

    May 29, 1942 - July 10, 2013

    It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Gabriolan Carol, 71, life partner and soul mate of Avis O’Leary.

    Carol, formerly of Poplar St., New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, was the daughter of the late Cecil and Roberta Lewis.

    She is survived by her sisters and brothers, Sheila MacDonald, Toronto; Howard (Jenny) Thompson, Alberta; Keith (Joan) Lewis, Chance Harbour, NS; Kaye (Ken) Jarvis, Lower Sackville, NS; Doreen (Merle) Thomson, Bedford, NS; Wendy Lewis (Brian Stoen), Chance Harbour; and numerous nieces and nephews.

    Special thanks to Avis and all of Carol’s friends on Gabriola who gave her such loving care and comfort.

    Cremation has taken place. Her memorial will be held in September in New Glasgow. Donations in her name can be made to the Hospice Society.

    The rocks of the coast are the foundation of our family. The waves of the ocean on the shore will never wear away our memories of you. You will always be loved, remembered and missed by your sisters and brothers. We love you, Carol!

  • Judith Lynn Jordan (Colclough)

    July 23, 1954 - July 9, 2013

    Lynn passed away peacefully at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital on Tuesday, July 9 surrounded by family and friends. Predeceased by her parents, Mavis and Bill Colclough, Lynn is survived by her husband, Jeremy Lyttle; sister, Sandy, and brother, Bob (Julie); sons, Doug (Karen) and Kelly (Diana); grandchildren, Mathus, Keanna and Nickolas; uncle, Glen (Marg); and many cousins, nieces and nephews. 

    Born in Haney, B.C. on July 23, 1954 Lynn enjoyed her early childhood in the Fraser Valley and was especially fond of summer camping trips to Birch Bay. After her family moved to Nanaimo in 1965 Lynn’s passion soon became sports where she excelled in track and field, her horses, starting with mild-mannered Katie and then her beloved and spirited Taif and later her 1959 MGA sports car. 

    In 1978 Lynn met and later married Keith Jordan, and they had two wonderful boys, Doug and Kelly, who were from that point on her pride and joy. She enjoyed cooking, music, gardening and most of all family and friends. 

    With a unique sense of humour Lynn could be quite crafty when it came to getting things her way. If she wrinkled her brow and planted her hands firmly on her hips you knew you were in trouble. She had a passion for life and adventures, and would often say afterwards that “Captain Morgan was involved in that one.” 

    Lynn endured cancer off and on throughout her adult life. Admired by all for her strength she never complained nor let it get in the way of living or enjoying life. Over the years Lynn was involved in many events to raise money for cancer research. In lieu of flowers or other gifts donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society, or the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital Foundation. A celebration of Lynn’s life will be held at Departure Bay on Saturday, Aug. 10, between noon and 3 

  • Wild Iris Dragonwoman

    Wild Iris Dragonwoman

    Sept. 1, 1953 - June 15, 2013

    Iris died peacefully at home on Gabriola and is on her way to “the light.” Iris is lovingly remembered by her father, Vic Gallagher; nephew, Ryan; his wife, Jean and their three children; and many friends who will miss her very much.

    Her name came to her under hypnotherapy. She wanted to honour her passion for the mystical dragon, and said, “It’s also because I’m a wild woman.” 

    Iris had many occupations; she left home at about 15, lived and worked at the Vancouver race track taking care of horses, was ‘The Fast Pink Lady’ courier service in Vancouver, worked several seasons at a resort in the Caribou, went into business as a horse logger, splitting and selling cedar shakes with female tracking pioneer Betty Frank.

    Iris studied many facets of spiritual healing: Tarot, Native Medicine, Wicca, drumming ceremonies, healing circles, the Bhagavad Gita and more. She sometimes used her alter ego, Yo-Yo the clown, to foster healing through laughter. Yo-Yo appeared at schools, community festivals and even delivered pizza along with her sidekick, Squiggy, the seeing-eye cucumber.

    For about eight years she co-owned a 14-acre farm in Coombs, which served as a healing retreat for women.

    Iris was an activist and prolific writer on a variety of issues. Articles included titles such as, “Homophobia has to come to an end,” “Logging possible without destruction,” “Preserve the marsh,” “Life’s unsung heroes include caregivers” and “Hakomi: Psychiatry of the future.”

    She also organized the first topless protest and walked through downtown Parksville to bring awareness to equal rights.

    Wild “I” was so much more than most people saw ... loving, fun, intelligent, a fighter for the underdog and she overcame more obstacles in her life than most of us could imagine. 

    A memorial will be announced, and as she would say, Namaste, Blessed Be.

  • Geraldine Donnelly (Mulberry)

    Geraldine Donnelly (Mulberry)

    Sept. 20, 1932 – June 15, 2013

    Geraldine passed away peacefully in her 81st year at Stanford Care Campus in Parksville, B.C.with family by her side. Born in Revelsoke BC to Gerald and Jeanne (Geater) Mulberry. She was the younger of two girls. She grew up in Penticton with Sue, her older sister until after the war. Geraldine and Sue were joined later by three half-sisters, Judy, Joanne and Helen. After growing up in Penticton, Geraldine moved to Vancouver to attend Nursing training. It was there that she met and married Harold Donnelly. They then began a life-long love affair that included seven children and a lifetime of caring and nurturing. For many years they lived in rural Fraser Valley with some time in Churchill Manitoba during Harold’s Navy service. Since the early 70’s Gabriola Island was their home where they built a beautiful place to live and enjoy life. Island adventures included helping neighbours, gardening, fishing, boating, log salvaging and many large family gatherings. Providing a loving healthy home for the family was a priority for Geraldine. She grew gardens to feed the family and kept the children’s hands busy, growing, harvesting and canning. Cooking was something she loved to do, good food and having plenty for her large family was a joy to her. Her passion was raising a family that was compassionate, caring and wasn’t afraid of work. She taught independence and teamwork, important values that have shaped the lives of her children and her children’s children. For Geraldine, life was an adventure built on imagination, warmth, laughter and insight. Those of us who knew her loved her and will continue to hold her close to our heart. She will be missed. Geraldine was very thankful and appreciative of the excellent care and friendship of the staff of Stanford Care Campus in Parksville during the last two years. They ensured her time there was enjoyable and restful. The entire family joins her in expressing our sincere thanks for your warm, thoughtful and professional care. Geraldine is survived by her three half-sisters, Judy, Joanne and Helen and by her loving and devoted children Cindy (Bob), Harold (Peggy), Jim (Linda), Mike (Pam), Missy (Ken), Mary Jane, Guy (Christine) and her grandchildren, Shelley, Gerry Ellen, Laurie, Chris, Jordon, Aaron, Cleary, Nick, Marissa, Eric, Alex and Danielle and her nine great grandchildren. A family service was held on Sunday June 23rd.