Obituaries

  • John Gunn

    John Gunn

    1925-2018

    Our dear dad and grand-father died on April 20 on Gabriola just before his 93rd birthday. His daughters Libby and Cynthia were at his bedside. 

    He spent his last 8 weeks on this beautiful island, looking over the ocean, enjoying visitors, the odd dram of Scotch and Downton Abbey. 

    He loved Gabriola and all the wonderful people here and spent much of the last two years on the island, where he hoped to get a place of his own. He loved going to Lulu concerts, visiting local artists, and reading the paper at Mad Rona’s. and was most happy when people dropped by for a glass of Scotch or to share a meal. Dad was born in Winnipeg and moved to Vancouver in 1964. As a young man he lived in London and in mid-life, with his family, spent 3 years near New York City. He talked about those places the rest of his life and went back many times. He loved to travel and even in his last weeks was optimistically planning a train trip across Canada. Similarly, right to the end he told visitors he was getting better day by day. 

    He enjoyed being an electrical engineer and worked at his own consulting company into his early seventies, but he was really a natural teacher and was giving a piano lesson by Skype to his grand-daughter a week before he died. As a young boy, Dad was drawn to the piano and he played, by ear, all his life, bringing joy to many. He entertained Gabriola friends on the piano last year at his 92nd birthday party and  even when he couldn’t walk, he had his bed rolled to the piano so that he could play. He was married to Fran for nearly 55 years and he loved her dearly. He supported her completely when she went off to judge World Figure Skating competitions through the 1960s and 1970s and wanted to go back to University. After he retired they were nearly inseparable and, four years ago when she was dying, he cared for her with all his heart. Together they created a warm home and a garden oasis that family and friends loved to visit. Dad was a gentle, inquiring man who was interested in people and ideas right to the end; when he was in hospital and a doctor asked him what he thought about his situation, Dad replied, “Well, it’s intriguing.” And he touched everyone with his big, beautiful smile. Dad leaves behind his children, Libby, Shelagh, Alex and Cynthia and grand-daughters, Jennifer, Isla and Rowan. We will miss him tremendously. Thanks to Dr. Maciek Mierzewski and the nurses, home support workers, and friends and neighbors who made it possible for dad to die at home. 

  • James K “Pat” Jackson

    James K “Pat” Jackson

    1931 – 2018

     

    Although amazed he survived 86+ years of high adventure and outrageous shenanigans, we must report that at 2 a.m. on March 20, having determined that all local pubs were closed for the night, Pat decided to set sail for new, uncharted waters. 

    A logger, sailor, rower, rugby player, and irrepressible ham, Pat was a focal point of every social gathering with his quick wit and remarkable storytelling, regaling us with tales of logging the BC Coast, the jungles of SE Asia, near death experiences and the characters he met from coastal fallers to headhunters in Papua New Guinea. 

    He was quick with a quip and outrageously entertaining, as can attest his many friends, teammates and co-conspirators – and the countless people he met along the way. 

    Founder of the Woodnuts, lifetime member of the Union Club, crossword master, schemer of grand practical jokes, lover of classical music, Philippine cigars, literature and, above all, a roaring fireplace. He was a true romantic, raconteur and self-styled Renaissance man. 

    An ardent proponent of the maxim “work hard, play harder,” he was happiest with a task before him and the promise of a cold beverage at its successful conclusion. 

    Never hesitant to pursue an endeavor with little experience or even less instruction, the ensuing calamities resulted in many a scar, exceptional tales and rich family lore. 

    Pat lived a full life, on his terms. And if he had some regrets, those were far outweighed by the fun and excitement he brought to everything he did and to those lucky enough (sometimes unwittingly) to get dragged into the fray. 

    He was predeceased by his wife of many years (Marilyn), survived by his three children, Bruce, Dana and Stephen, grandchildren Willow, Indigo, Eleni, Brando, Patrick and Samuel and his long time, loving companion Diane, who allowed him to realize his dream of living on a Gulf Island (Gabriola) and who cared for him until the end. 

    For that, we are forever grateful. 

    We would also like to acknowledge the tremendous care given by the first responders and caregivers on Gabriola and the incredible, loving staff at Woodgrove Manor – you are all saints! 

    No funeral service, but there will be a suitable gathering in the near future and anyone interested can contact Bruce at busher.jackson@gmail.com for details.

    Cheers Pat, next round is on us.

  • Ruth Darling

    Ruth Darling

    Apr. 17, 1924 - Mar. 24, 2018

    Ruth was just shy of her 94th birthday when she passed away at her home in Ajijic, Mexico, a community she loved and had lived in for over 30 years. Up until a recent severe bout of pneumonia, she had enjoyed robust good health. 

    Ruth Beatrice Jackson was born on April 17th, 1924 in Vancouver, B.C. to Ellen and William Jackson. She was a smart and athletic girl who loved to hike, ski and especially ice skate. She and her younger sister June had success in their teens as an ice skating pair, and among many honours, were invited to join the Ice Capades. 

    In the mid 1940s Ruth moved to Gabriola Island. She had a dream to build a summer resort and made a $100 down payment on 14 acres of waterfront property. Soon afterwards, she joined forces with Norman Nash, the engineer on the Atrevida (Gabriola’s first vehicle ferry) and the rustic seaside Surf Lodge began to take shape. Ruth’s determination, hard work and creative vision were essential in this endeavour. Besides being an equal partner in the actual building of the Lodge (she was a whiz at splitting cedar shakes and mixing cement, and shared in the hand digging of the Lodge swimming pool! ) her exceptional culinary and management skills, warmth with guests, made the place into a bustling success for twenty years. Surf Lodge was her biggest accomplishment, and is a legacy that is still enjoyed by many Gabriolans and visitors.

    After the sale of the Lodge, Ruth and Norm went on to design and hand build another Gabriola landmark, a monumental rock and log waterfront home unique for its time. She had a second career as a real estate agent on Gabriola. 

    In her spare time she volunteered for the Islands Trust, taught skating, and also built a number of sandstone walls in island homes simply for the joy of it.  

    Later in life she married Graham Darling, and they enjoyed many happy years together, travelling the world, then buying a home and settling into the community of Ajijic. 

    In Mexico, she was dedicated to her volunteer commitments at the library of the Lake Chapala Society, St. Andrews Anglican Church and participated on various boards. She loved playing games of cribbage, bridge, scrabble and rummy cube with her friends. At various times in her life she enjoyed cycling, walking, swimming, table tennis, mystery novels and watching NHL games and Angela Lansbury’s “Murder She Wrote” on TV.

    She thrived as a hostess throughout her life, serving up an abundance of amazing food, always making people feel at home. Even into her 90s she was hosting dinners for groups of her friends in her beautiful Mexican home, preparing all the food herself. She loved to laugh and share stories with her friends more than anything. 

    She will also be remembered for her brilliant smile, incredible vitality, fantastic sense of style, extremely strong will, fearless driving, relentless smoking, dedication to coffee and chocolate, and her very well-crafted margaritas. 

    Ruth will be missed by her daughters Bobbie (Sean) and Jennifer Nash, grandchildren Dylan, Morgan, Alison and Hank, three great grandsons, four step daughters, and many dear friends.

    A celebration of her life will be held in Ajijic in June.

  • Nida Hackwood

    Nida Hackwood

    May 28, 1931 - Mar. 17, 2018

    Nida passed away at home with her loving family and caregiver at her side, during the early morning hours of March 17, after a long, brave battle with a debilitating illness.

    Mom loved her family and friends, gardening, animals of all types and going for walks on Gabriola with her husband, Frank.  

    We are happy that Mom and Dad are together again.

    Nida is survived by her daughters, Cindy (Glen), Sandra (Herb), sister, Elma, and grandson, Lee, nieces Barbara Ann (Don), Linda, Sharon, and Valerie.

    Special thanks to Dr. Mierzewski, Maureen, and the staff at the Gabriola Medical Clinic for their compassionate support.

  • George Wallace

    Feb. 12, 1946 - Mar. 14, 2018

    George Wallace, a longtime Gabriola resident, passed away March 14, 2018. 

    He is sadly survived by his wife of 52 years, Marlaine; his son Patrick of Nanaimo; his brother Ray of Kamloops and a large extended family there; Marlaine’s sister and brother and their extended families; and others. 

    George also had a circle of loyal friends on Vancouver Island and Gabriola who will miss his passionate enthusiasm for hockey, his reminiscences of earlier days on Gabriola, his high-spirited sense of humour, and his readiness for a coffee break and chat at any time. His dog Dixie is very sad to have lost her lap-buddy.

    George was a British Columbian through and through. He was born in Kamloops, and at age fifteen began work as a logger on Vancouver Island, alongside his father. He worked in the woods and in sawmills, living in camps and small towns all over coastal and interior BC. He loved fishing, hunting, and being out in the bush. 

    George and Marlaine met in 1965, and by all accounts, the sparks really flew! They were married within six weeks and were inseparable from then on. In 1981, George and his family moved to Gabriola Island, settling in the new subdivision of Phase Four when the modest “Stevens” houses were being built, and when cattle from a nearby farm still occasionally got loose and wandered around the neighbourhood. Once they’d secured the yard to keep cows out and dogs in, George and Marlaine raised vegetables and berries, tree fruit and flowers – and delighted in being able to share the bounty with their friends and neighbours.

    George was a keen observer of the nature around him, and kept records of frost dates, snowfalls, garden harvests, power failures, hockey scores and trades, and anything else of interest. He took pride in noting the first rufus hummingbird sightings each spring, and the first chorus frog songs. 

    He loved dogs, and over the years enjoyed the company not only of his own dogs, but many dog-visitors and dog-houseguests. Dogs loved him, too, and no dog was too big or too small to be invited up for a snooze on his lap.

    He made patio furniture, garden structures, wooden ornaments, toys, colourful whirligigs – and mason bee boxes. George’s mason bee population is legendary in the neighbourhood; he started encouraging mason bees around the garden long before most people had ever heard of them. He enjoyed sitting on the deck in the early summer, marvelling over the throngs of mason bees buzzing around. He was generous with his time, knowledge, and skills, happily tuning up his own and other peoples’ mowers, sharpening chainsaws, and fixing whatever equipment came his way.

    We thank everyone who helped George in recent years, including the very patient and kind first responders, and medical center staff and doctors.

    George Wallace will be sorely missed.

  • Jean Seaton (Quickenden)

    Jean Seaton (Quickenden)

    1925 – 2018

    Jean Seaton passed away on March 4 2018 after a short illness. She lived independently up until two weeks before her passing, and her children Josie, Darach, Phil and Robert, and grand children Sara, Angie and Hannah were mostly able to spend time with her in her last weeks. Maintaining her independence was very important to Jean, and we all feel blessed that she was able to remain independent for so long.

    Jean came from a pioneer Oregon family. When she was a child she still had living relatives who could tell stories of coming across the prairies on covered wagon trains. The family had a deep adventurous streak, which carried on in Jean. Jean spent her early years in various places in Oregon and Nevada, as her family moved around to find work during the great Depression. She graduated from high school in Oregon City in 1943, and immediately went to Oregon State University, first majoring in Engineering (one of two women in the department) before switching to English. She subsequently completed two Master’s degrees, and a PhD from the University of Toronto, where she met Wally Seaton. She married Wally in 1955, and they lived in San Francisco and Oakland for the first few years. She remembered spending time at the City Lights Bookstore, the home of the beat poets and novelists, during that time.

    Subsequently, the family moved to Ashland, Oregon, and then to Saskatoon, where she taught English at Saint Thomas More College for many years, and was active in the teacher’s union. After her retirement she and Wally moved to Gabriola, where she enjoyed weaving, and being involved with the Weaver’s Guild and the Museum. Wally passed away in 2005, and Jean moved to the Lions Garden Homes, where she spent a good bit of her time reading most of the mystery novels ever published! A lifelong feminist and socialist, she was a strong supporter of social justice causes and the NDP, as well as finding herself at one point on a blacklist in the USA, probably a left-over from the McCarthy era. We will always celebrate her sparkling intelligence, decided opinions, fierce independence, and commitment to justice.

  • Alan Nutter

    Alan Nutter

    A loved husband, dad, and grandfather who will be dearly missed for his caring, guidance, and sense of humour.

    Forever in our hearts: Angela, Cathy, Wayne and Will and Jill, Rob and Caitlyn.

    In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Alan’s memory to Wheels for Wellness or the Kidney Foundation 135 Prince John Way, Nanimo BC V9T1K1

  • Bea Meyer

    Bea Meyer

    Feb 1 1925 - Mar 5, 2018

    We are sad to announce the passing of Bea Meyer, but are grateful that we had so much time with her.  She was born Beatrice Elizabeth McKee on a farm in Fergus, Ontario - one of six children.   She was a very good student and skipped several years, then worked odd jobs so she could take a course in nursing.  Her husband, Lou Meyer, saw her at a dance when she was 18 and arranged an introduction, but it was 3 years before he could persuade her to marry him.  They had their first child, Carrol (David) in Ontario, but shortly afterwards decided to head west.  Lou got a job at a farm in Chilliwack, where their second daughter Brenda (Dave) was born  and later worked on the docks in Vancouver.  Doc Nicol, a well known philanthropist, offered Lou a job on Gabriola where they moved in January 1948. They had a small cottage with no electricity or water, but Bea quickly adapted.  Their third daughter, Gwen (Julian) was born at home and 2 years later Wendy (Mike) was born and then Jeff (Tannie).   

    Bea was used to the rural life and easily managed the children and a large garden where Lou was in charge of vegetables and she, the flowers.  They also raised chickens, a pig, calves, a steer, a lamb and a milk cow.  She was a casual hostess who loved company and often had people over.    Their cottage burnt to the ground in 1956, and she was injured when she rescued her daughter Wendy but she recovered well and helped to build a new home with a lot of help from family and friends.

    She joined the Women’s Institute  and was very involved with the 4H Club, was a member of the Ratepayers Association and treasurer of the South End Hall and even ran for Island Trustee.  She also sold Christmas trees and garden produce, but was thrilled to discover a market for salal and would head out to the woods almost daily.  She took frequent night school courses and encouraged the beginning of the Palette People where she remained an active member for many years.  After the children left home, she became even more involved in gardening and had a commercial greenhouse for a number of seasons.

     When Lou retired, they traveled to Hawaii and The Dominican Republic - and after her husband died, she went to France, the British Isles and Ireland and Mexico with her daughter Carrol.  Besides art and gardening, her hobbies included collecting jokes, using her video camera and quilting - including candle-wicking which she taught to younger friends.

     Since her stroke several years ago she had been a resident of Chartwell, Malaspina in Nanaimo where she has been  ‘The Queen Bea’ and treated by staff, residents and management as family - and they have all become our family as well.  Bless them for all the love, laughter and care they have shown our mother and ourselves.

    Bea has thoroughly enjoyed her 13 grandchildren, 35 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild and we are thankful that she has been in our lives for so long.  A Celebration of Life will be held for Bea at the Rollo Center from 2 - 4 on Saturday, April 21, 2018.

  • Anthony David Carrington

    Anthony David Carrington

    1928-2018

    Anthony David Carrington, who went by the name David, passed away peacefully in Nanaimo Regional Hospital (where he received excellent and compassionate care), after a sudden illness, on Feb 8/2018 with his daughter Emily at his side. David still has relatives living in England, and is survived by his two children Matthew (and Matthew’s wife Veronica) and Emily, and his grandchildren Thomas and Clodagh, his first wife June and his stepson Pierre Mironov. He was predeceased by his wife Sara and his stepson Gabriel Mironov and Gabriel’s son Oliver. David came to Canada From England with his wife June and they settled near Saint John New Brunswick where he first worked on a dairy farm, then as a school teacher. After he moved to PEI in the 80’s and he and his first wife parted, he met and married his second wife Sara. They lived happily in PEI until she passed away, then David moved to Gabriola Island where his daughter Emily was living. David so very much enjoyed the friends he made on Gabriola, who enriched his life so much in his final decade of life. He was involved in the Gabriola Commons at it’s onset, GIRO, and discussion groups. He spent his final years in a peaceful place where he could prune his roses, walk in a garden, and tend to his 6 laying hens. David was passionate about child education, and maintained a remarkably sharp and inquiring mind until the end. Deepest appreciation to the many people who helped him stay in his home with comfort and dignity and independence, and to Dr MacKenzie and his staff for their wonderful care. David requested no formal service, but anyone who wishes can drop by and write a note or share story in a memory book that will be at the house, which will most certainly be treasured by his grandchildren

  • Hugh Laidlaw MacLeod

    Hugh Laidlaw MacLeod

    Hugh MacLeod suddenly but peacefully, at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital on Sunday, January 28th, 2018, in his 77th year. He was a long time Gabriola Islander. Loving husband of Jennifer Ann. Dear father of Janet Mary Meghan of Vancouver, and beloved son Ian Roderick (wife Adrianna) of Maple Ridge, and proud grandfather of Rory Mario Hugh, son of Ian and Adrianna.

    Hugh earned a mechanic’s license in Calgary as a young man and remained a talented aficionado of trucks and tractors and cars. He became a teacher of world history at Mount Royal College and taught there for over 30 years. He served on the Faculty Association and was president of that body several times. 

    He was tireless in his service to the community on Gabriola. He was the public contact for Gabriola Groundwater Management Society as a mentor to locals on proper management of well and other private water systems. He did this as a volunteer and was always available to help anyone with concerns about their water.

    He was a long time member of the Volvo Club of BC, and a recent member of the local Gabriola Cruisers.

    A service will be held at a future date.

    “It is like losing a part of Gabriola” (quote from a friend)

    He will be greatly missed.