Obituaries

  • 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. 

  • Margaret Elizabeth (Betty) Tait

    Margaret Elizabeth (Betty) Tait

    1925 - 2013

    A Gabriola icon passed away peacefully on May 30 at the Nanaimo Palliative Care Unit, surrounded by her seven children and the most compassionate group of nurses we have ever known.

    Most of you would have known her as Betty the Taxi Lady.

    Betty was born in Milden, Saskatchewan on May 22, 1925.

    She, along with three brothers, Morris, Don and Glenn; were raised by their parents, Alf and Jessy McWatters, in the Beaton District of northern Saskatchewan. This was a time of hard living, with bitterly cold winters, hot dry summers and of course the war. Standing strong through it all Betty learned many skills she would later put to good use raising her own seven children, Gwen, Judy, Mike, Sharon, Colleen, Jack and Della.

    After many years of scratching a living on the unforgiving lands, watching her family grow and leave the nest, Betty and her husband, Dave, with Jack and Della pulled up stakes and moved to Gabriola.

    The Tait family lived for a time in a tent on five beautiful acres of land they had purchased from the McCollums. Some time later they upgraded to a small trailer. Betty worked tirelessly on building the legendary A-Frame house from logs cut from the property to provide a larger, warmer and drier accommodation for her family. And so the Tait saga began.

    For 22 years Betty ran the Gabriola Cab Company. Mike and Della became drivers in their own time as well. Betty took on the mail run and started a garbage business. 

    With Della and Jack she provided essential services to the people of Gabriola making many friends along the way.

    You could find Betty taking a break once in a while with her love of music and her saxophone, playing at the fire hall or a restaurant, or just in the comfort of her home, accompanied by Jack on the drums and Mike on the guitar, with many an onlooker dancing the night away.

    Betty’s favourite pastime was carpentry. Given a project, she would take it on with such passionate attention to detail second to none. Beautiful swings, chairs, merry-go-rounds and Ferris wheels adorn her property as well as properties of friends and family all over the world.

    Betty continued to drive the people of Gabriola to and fro with Della always at the ready to take a shift – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Together with help from the Lions Club she enjoyed a once-a-week run with her senior friends taking them off the ferry for their Nanaimo shopping trip. Often this was the only time she would get to chat it up and learn all the goings on.

    Betty would never leave a child on the road in bad weather or deny anyone who needed a ride but did not have the funds to pay. In her later years her compassion for the people of Gabriola carried on with Della taking on more and more of the driving.

    Betty allowed herself time to travel the world with family and gave so much of herself to grandchildren and great-grandchildren, each of whom will be better people because of it.

    The art of bridge and scrabble was no stranger to this lady; she played with such passion. In the care of her daughter, Judy, during the past five years, she enjoyed getting together with the scrabble players at the Rollo Centre.

    Betty enjoyed the brilliant care she received from the Home Care Support team as well as a constant pillar of strength from her brother Glenn McWatters (who will be 90 in July) and her family that have stood by her through the years. God bless them all.

    A celebration of life was held in Betty’s name at the South End Hall on Wednesday, June 5, 2013.

    The story of Betty Tait will never end in the hearts of all who knew her. God bless and God’s speed.

  • Howard Lee Colston, Sr.

    Howard Lee Colston, Sr.

    Feb. 5, 1928 - June 8, 2013

    Heaven has a new angel.

    Howard Lee Colston passed away peacefully on June 8, 2013 at the age of 85 with his daughter, Aurea, and wife, Olga, next to him.

    Howard will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Olga of Gabriola; children, Aurea (James) of High Point, North Carolina; Howard, Jr. (Colleen) of Edmonds, Washington; Richard (Carmen) of Sacramento, California; Bruce (Sherri) of Sacramento, California; Tyron (Noriko) of Sacramento, California; stepdaughter, Michelle Larsen (Doug) of Maple Ridge; siblings Ann Simmons (Thomas III) of Jamestown, North Carolina; Earl Colston (Sarah) of Sunrise, Florida; and 12 grandchildren and 2 great-grandsons.

    Howard was born in Albemarle, North Carolina, on Feb. 5, 1928. He proudly served his country and lived in Japan and Hawaii during his 22 years of service with the US Navy, US Army and retired from the US Air Force. Howard went on to work for the US Postal Service in Davis, California, where he met many wonderful, life-long friends along his postal route.

    Howard permanently immigrated to his beloved Gabriola in 2003, and called the island his “Heaven on Earth.”

    Howard was a friend to all and had a natural gift of being able to touch those who knew him with his beautiful spirit and gentle soul. He was a deeply kind and generous man who always had time to lend a helping hand, and could brighten one’s day simply with his warm smile. He loved to garden, bake amazing peach cheesecakes to share with friends, and spend time out on the ocean. Most of all, he loved to spend time with his family, children, grandchildren and all of his many friends.

    Howard will be dearly missed, but always close in our hearts.

    In lieu of flowers or gifts, please donate to the Alzheimer’s Society of BC.

  • David Alec Elliott

    David Alec Elliott

    1943 - 2013

    David Elliott passed away peacefully in Nanaimo on May 25, surrounded by his two sons, Bryn and Frazer, and his daughter-in-law, Janina. 

    A private family service will be held later. 

  • Antal, Richard

    June 23, 1940 (Saskatoon, SK) - June 5, 2013 (Calgary, AB)

    Rick passed away in Calgary after a courageous 14 year long battle with cancer.

    Rick was a Son, Brother, Husband, Father, G-Pa and Uncle. He was an avid electrical engineer, a builder of houses, cars, and boats, a hunter, fisherman, lover of the outdoors. His personal achievements run high and wide. Rick was a friend and mentor to many, many people. He will be missed by all those he touched. 

    There is no Death

    I am standing on the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she is a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

    Then someone at my side says, “There! She’s gone!” Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all.

    She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and she is just as able to bear her load of living weight to her destined harbour.

    Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “There! She’s gone!”

    There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “There she comes!”

    And that is dying. 

    (author unknown)

    I’ve gone fishin…..

    A celebration of Rick’s life will be held in Bragg Creek at a later date.

    In living memory of Rick Antal, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by Mcinnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Cochrane funeral home, 369 railway street, Cochrane. Telephone: (403) 932-4740.  The above obituary may be viewed online at: www.mcinnisandholloway.com

  • Amy Herdis Schweitzer (née Iverson)

    Amy Herdis Schweitzer (née Iverson)

    1921 - 2013

    It is with very sad hearts that we announce Amy’s passing on May 25 after a brief illness while residing at Malaspina Gardens Seniors Facility.

    Amy, the youngest of six children, was born on her family’s farm in Nut Lake, Saskatchewan to Anna and Gustav Iverson. 

    Amy married Henry in 1942 and they built their home and started their family in Algrove until their move to Archerwill in 1954. Amy is predeceased by her husband, Henry (1982); son, Douglas (1990); her parents and five siblings. Amy is survived by her daughter, Carol Billyard; grandchildren, Tara Schweitzer, Ryan (Rosy) Schweitzer, Jim Meneilly and Adriane (Bernard) Schroeder. Amy loved and celebrated her family and was the proud great-grandmother to Mitchell, Eric, Aksel, Thorben and Maya. Amy’s life was also blessed with wonderful nieces and nephews who marked many happy occasions with her over the years.

    After many prairie winters Amy and her husband retired to Gabriola Island in 1980 where they both worked for the Gabriola Home Support Society. After Henry’s death in 1982, Amy persevered, with her children’s help, in finishing the home she and Henry were building at the time of his death. She went on to create a beautiful sanctuary where she cooked wonderful meals and shared lots of laughs with family and friends. Amy will be remembered as an incredibly hard-working, resourceful, private and loyal woman. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

    A funeral service was held June 1. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Amy Schweitzer’s memory to the BC New Democratic Party and the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

  • Robert Ross Farquharson

    Robert Ross Farquharson

    June 9, 1950 - May 20, 2013

    Rob passed away suddenly of a cardiac arrest at the young age of 62. Left to mourn is his partner Les Steinke of 25 years, his brothers Ken (Gwen) of Vancouver, Brian (Leanne) of Penticton, their families, and many relatives and friends. He was predeceased by his father, George, in 1988 and his mother, Doris, in 2003.

    Rob was a native of Penticton and left after completing high school to pursue his career in teaching in Delta. He served as president of the Delta Teachers Association and finally as administrator for the Delta School Board. He was well liked and known for his sharp mind, decisiveness and fair council.

    Rob retired in 2006 and upon Les’s retirement in 2008 spent five happy years on Gabriola.

    Rob will be cremated and a celebration of his life will be held later this summer. He will be greatly missed.

  • John M. Higgins

    John M. Higgins

    Aug. 17, 1953 - Apr. 29, 2013

    John lost his three-year battle with cancer. 

    He passed away peacefully Monday, April 29, 2013 at home surrounded by family. He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Sharon Higgins; and children, daughters Carolyn (Julian), Carly (Jeremy), Kayte, Kristy and son Alex (Ruby). 

    Also his sister Kathleen Coolen (Halifax, NS) and his faithful companion, his dog of 13 years, Buddy.

    A celebration of John’s life will be held on Saturday, May 19 at the Surf Lodge at 1 p.m. Potluck (finger food).

    The Higgins family would also like to say thank you for all the love and support through this difficult time. Also to Dr. Bosman. 

    Thank you for being there for us and helping me through everything. I couldn’t have done it without you.

  • Joyce Mae Campbell

    Dec. 19, 1921 - Mar. 22, 2013

    Joyce Mae Campbell was born in Vancouver on Dec. 19, 1921, and died on March 22, 2013 in Nanaimo at age 91 from a stroke. 

    She was pre-deceased by her husband of 65 years, Robert, and leaves behind her son Warren, daughter Christy, granddaughter Britni, grandsons Clark, Mason, Garrett and Mitchell; and great-grandson Thomas. 

    Joyce was born in Vancouver where she chose nursing as her career and excelled. She initially taught nursing at VGH but early on moved into levels of nursing administration beginning as a head nurse and worked her way up the career ladder. At the time of her retirement she had been the vice president of nursing at Lion’s Gate Hospital for many years. She served on the board of directors for RNABC (now the College of Registered Nurses), the Nurse Administrator’s Association of BC and as a surveyor for the Canadian Council of Health Services Accreditation. She was recognized by the RNABC with the Award for Excellence in Nursing Administration. 

    For retirement, Joyce moved to Gabriola, where she spent many enjoyable years. Joyce will be remembered for her capability, determination, professionalism and love of family and animals. 

    She will be missed by her many friends and family, who retain many fond memories. A celebration of life will be held in August on Gabriola.