Obituaries

  • Terrence (Jason) Peter Van Wezel

    Terrence (Jason) Peter Van Wezel

    Nov. 10, 1947 – Oct. 9, 2020

    It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Terry (Jason) Van Wezel on October 9, 2020 at his home in Gabriola Island, B.C. 

    Terry was born in Calgary and grew up on a farm near Strathmore, Alberta. He moved to the B.C. coast and fell in love with the ocean. He settled on Gabriola Island, where he spent much of his time sailing in the nearby waters.

    He is survived by his only daughter Holly Smith Paulis (Mike Paulis), his mother, Elizabeth (Van Wezel) Farrell, and his sisters Rosalynn Schaefer, Judy McLaughlin, Sharon MacLean, Valerie Schey, and Hillary Gabie, and many nieces and nephews. 

    He is predeceased by his father, Tony Van Wezel, his step-father, Patrick Farrell, and his niece, Michelle Schaefer.

    He will be sorely missed by his family and friends. He filled a unique niche in his island community and his passing will leave behind a legacy of trying to help those in need of a friend. 

    We would like to thank all the people who have come together to mourn his passing, and have offered stories of his time here and the impact he had on their lives. 

    His family appreciates the love and acceptance they received here from his friends.

  • Cecil Peter Hagen

    Cecil Peter Hagen

    July 24, 1935 - Sept. 29, 2020

    Our world changed forever when our gentle and kind father departed abruptly from us on September 29th, 2020. Cecil (Cec) Peter Hagen was born July 24th, 1935 on a farm by the hamlet of Hagen, Saskatchewan. Dad often told us stories of his childhood in which we marveled at how life was for him. Riding a horse to a one room schoolhouse, living with no electricity, life during the war years, caring for the farm animals and living with eight brothers and sisters were the fodder many stories consisted of. Dad was the youngest member of his family and lost his own father when he was five and his mother when he was twenty. Despite a number of hardships in his early life, Dad was able to view the world with a positive mindset and found much joy in his early life with his family. The gifts he brought others in later life stemmed from the way he allowed his experiences to shape him into a warm caretaker, a hard worker, a calm shelter in life’s storms, a community minded person who was quick to help out anyone who needed it and most of all, someone who was able to love deeply and valued family above all. Dad helped in the running of the family farm and worked as a carpenter during the winters in his early adult life. He enjoyed hobbies such as curling, broomball and softball. Our father then completed a degree in agriculture at the University of Guelph. Just prior to him attending university, he fell in love and later married Bette Lou (Parker). They were life partners for more than fifty-one years until his recent passing. He took his vows very seriously particularly the part about “in sickness and in health” and was an unwavering support to our mother over the years, particularly as she experienced a number of serious health issues. Dad secured a job with the provincial government in his chosen field for many years until his retirement. Dad’s family grew as he welcomed his daughters Tara-Lyn and Kristi.  Dad relished in our family life with “his girls”. He was the parent ever child needs. He provided unconditional love, support, stability and connection. 

    Dad was the most unselfish person we knew. We watched him over the years give countless hours in service to others. Whether it be working with one of his volunteer groups like 4-H or helping someone with a move, Dad could be counted on to give his time to anyone who needed it. Despite being so active in his work and community life, Dad consistently made his family a priority. As his family grew to include son-in-laws and grandchildren, Dad welcomed them with an open heart and was always there to offer consistent and loving support as well. Some have described Dad as a gentle giant and I think this description is apt. He was typically soft-spoken but when he had something to say he could be quite eloquent. Dad was seen as a rock for many as they weathered life’s storms. In his calm way, he would do what needed to be done despite the upheavals life can bring. 

    Dad and Mom were drawn to our magical island many years ago by mom’s aunt (Phyllis Larson).  Twenty-five years ago, they moved to Gabriola and never looked back. Dad was active in the community in many ways over the years. He was part of the bridge club, poker, golf club, GROWLS and worked at a number of elections locally. At the age of seventy-two, he built a house on Gabriola for his daughter Tara-Lyn and her family. Around the same time, he hauled the family piano on his trailer through the mountains to his youngest daughter Kristi by himself. These were no small feats but that is the kind of man our dad was. 

    He enjoyed gardening and had a plot at the Commons. This past summer, he had an outstanding zucchini harvest and you may have been one of the lucky ones to be gifted with one of his zucchinis. We’ve never known someone to have as many songs or poems in their repertoire as our father. I don’t think he forgot a single one of them he learned over the years. In later years, he became a voracious reader and spent many happy hours at our local library. 

    We appreciate the staff there for encouraging this passion for reading and for their kind interactions with our dad. He delighted in time spent in GIRO and our family members were the recipients of many of his great finds there. I am grateful to the staff at the gym where he worked out for the past years. Our dad remained active, healthy and able to do so many things right until his passing. He was still chopping and piling wood with the stamina to rival a much younger person. He was ready to go out for a ride on his bike just before his health took a rapid turn for the worse. His primary challenge was a significant hearing loss in later years so I offer a heartfelt thanks to those in our community who showed patience and understanding in their interactions with him. 

    For many years, Dad spent a lot of time walking the trails of Gabriola with our dogs. We were always amazed at this ability to navigate and he never got lost…or that’s what he told us. I’m sure a number of you met up with him there over the years. Dad had a friendly word for each person he encountered. He had a keen sense of humour and was known to be a bit of a tease at times. Despite having a typically laid back personality, he was very competitive as we’re sure his friends at bridge and poker can attest to. 

    From early on, Dad loved animals, both domesticated and wild and always appreciated the beauty of nature. Animals intuitively knew he had a kind heart and responded well to him. Dad was also the one to be handed crying babies. They responded well to his tranquil demeanour. 

    We are so glad we were able to celebrate Dad and Mom’s 50th wedding anniversary with a number of you at the Gabriola Golf Course during the summer of 2019. The memories of seeing our dad beaming with happiness, dancing all evening and surrounded by friends and family will be treasured. Dad lived a beautiful and full life. Although our hearts are broken in losing such a special man, we know he would want us to go on and live a life where we positively impact the world around us in the same way he did. In his last few years, Dad made his wishes known he would like us to have a family meal together and celebrate his life as a last act of love in the event of his passing. 

    We wish to thank the Surf Lodge restaurant for providing us with a place to honour our father in this way and for treating our family so well as we shared this meal together. 

    My family wishes to also thank our community for their loving words of support and acts of kindness at this difficult time. We have felt your love and deeply appreciate it. 

    With much love,

     Cec’s family

  • Margaret Hesthammer

    Margaret Hesthammer

    Margaret Ethel Hesthammer, nee Mollard, died of heart failure on Thursday, August 20, 2020. Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, on October 15, 1920, to Robert Mollard and Helen Mason Motion, Margaret had three siblings: Isabelle (Molly), Birrell and Oswald. She survived the deaths of two loving husbands— Clewyn Norman and Ingolv Hesthammer. Margaret and Ingolv married and moved to Gabriola Island in the mid-seventies, where Margaret lived until August of 2018. Her last two years were spent in the kind care of Dufferin Place, Nanaimo.

    Margaret is survived by her stepchildren, Margit and Jeffery Hesthammer, and by Jessica Smith and Michael Milne, children of her deceased stepdaughter, Nordis Milne. She is also survived by her niece, Louise Ames, her nephew, Bill Fullerton, and her many great nieces and nephews, by marriage and by blood.

    Margaret was the Hesthammer family angel, beloved by all who knew her. She belonged to Christ Church Gabriola, who we thank for their prayers and support.

    There will be a Celebration of Life at a later date, due to COVID-19. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Margaret may be made to the Canadian Red Cross or the Nanaimo SPCA.

  • Clare Jean McCarthy, aka Randy

    Oct. 22, 1932 - Aug. 15, 2020

    It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Clare Jean McCarthy (aka Randy) in Nanaimo at the age of 87 years.

    She is survived by her siblings: David, Lorraine, Lucille, Arthur, & Evelyn; children: David, Moira, & Craig; grandchildren: Claire, Cameron, & Aiden and great grandchildren: Hunter, Maverick & Lawrence.

    Clare was born in Cutknife Saskatchewan. That makes her a prairie girl. Tenacious and stubborn. She held to her roots as her life adventures took her coast to coast in Canada. A teacher by profession, gardener by hobby, a cat lover, and a loving wife & mother at heart.

    In 1958, Clare married Joseph McCarthy, her husband of 54 years and together raised three children, David, Moira, and Craig. The family resided in Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, PEI and eventually settled in Nanaimo in 1971. Clare and her husband Joseph finally retired on Gabriola Island in 1992 to join Joe’s brother Brian and his wife Del. Clare and Del met while teaching in Regina and have an unbreakable lifelong friendship.

    Once on Gabriola, Clare took pride in her garden. She maintained a large beautiful garden and every square inch of her deck and property were full of flower pots and greenery. Clare enjoyed reading and loved talking to her cat Joey. She was also an active member of the church and community on Gabriola over the years including: Our Lady of Victory Mission, Gabriola Ecumenical Society, Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, volunteerism, TOPS, and the Rollo Seniors Centre.

    Clare travelled extensively and for decades wintered in Mexico with Joe where she also participated in the local community and church. An avid crib player, Clare enjoyed the game intensely and would skunk the best of them – both family and friends.

    Her heart was always on Gabriola so that is where her spirit will remain. She will be resting beside her husband, Joseph, who passed away in 2011, at the Gabriola Cemetery on South Road.

    The family is deeply grateful to the staff at Lakeside Gardens and the Palliative Care team at NRGH for all the loving care provided.

    Her Celebration of life will be held on Gabriola at a later date.

    Donations in lieu of flowers can be made in her name to: The Rollo Seniors Centre, 685 North Rd. Gabriola.

  • Gary Arthur Knott

    Gary Arthur Knott

    April 12, 1937 – July 17, 2020 

    Gary’s family and friends celebrate his long life as well as his great love of the outdoors, a passion that he enthusiastically passed along to all of us. We have so many wonderful memories of our adventures with Gary in the Canadian Rockies—camping, hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and skiing. Trained as a geologist, he enjoyed teaching others about rock formations and dinosaur remains in the Alberta badlands. In his professional life, he was a devoted educator and served as a Junior High School Principal with the Calgary Board of Education. He spent many happy summers at our cottage on Gabriola Island in British Columbia, where young members of our clan played for endless hours beachcombing and exploring tidepools. 

    Gary passed away at home after a brief battle with cancer, surrounded by his family on a beautiful blue, big sky day. As Gary liked to say, we are so fortunate! He is survived by his beloved co-pilot in life, Marlene (Ross), his sons, David (New York City) and Michael (London, England), their spouses Françoise Girard and Giovanna Sessi-Knott; as well as four fabulous grandchildren, Alex (Tiger Smith), Kai, Laura, and Anthony. 

    He was predeceased by his parents, Reginald and Helen Knott. At Gary’s request, there will be no memorial service and donations in his honor can be made directly to the Canadian Wildlife Federation, 350 Michael Cowpland Drive, Kanata, ON K2M 2W1, www.cwf-fcf.org.

    Our family wishes to thank Dr. Olu Oyeniran for his kindness and care.

    Condolences, memories and photos may be shared and viewed on Gary’s obituary at www.McInnisandHolloway.com

  • Maxine Anne McRae (nee Quamme)  

    May 12, 1938 - July 13, 2020

    Maxine with her husband Stan at a ceremony in 2019 where they were honoured by the Gabriola Historical and Museum Society for the donation of the land on which the Museum stands today. Derek Kilbourn photo. Full story here.

     

    Maxine Anne McRae, long-time resident of Gabriola Island, British Columbia, passed away on July 13, 2020 at the age of 82 years.

    Maxine was born on May 12, 1938 in Vernon, BC as the first daughter to Dora and Edward Quamme.  Two years later baby Sharon arrived and right from the start Maxine loved her role as the ‘big sister.’ Sadly at age of four, her father lost his life in WWII; killed in action during the Battle of Cesena in Italy.  Later Dora married Arthur Tansem, who was a kind and caring second father to Maxine.

    Along with a new father came a new home and it was a whole province away.  The family moved to Wanham, Alberta and settled on a homestead southeast of town. It was here that her dad built the family a beautiful new log house. A favourite activity of Mom and the girls was berry-picking.  One year berries were so plentiful, they filled six gallons a day. Those Birch Hills were fruitful.

    Maxine & Sharon trudged more than two miles to and from school each day (uphill both ways, to be sure).  A high school chum, Lynn, remembers Maxine as “a quiet & very bright student—but she was definitely a non-conformist and had a wicked sense of humour. Yet she was so laid back and cool … I think she was a hippie before it was a ‘thing’ and she lived by those principles her whole life.”   

    After graduation, Maxine moved to the big city of Grande Prairie. She worked at the CIBC bank but often returned home on the weekends. Her sister married and started a family; ‘Auntie Mac’ became a favourite aunt that would participate in birthdays and many other family events. Even as she moved further away from family, she’d send gifts and cards from afar.  Great-niece, Harmony remembers “Auntie Mac always sent wonderful books to us for Christmas.”

    Maxine found her career path as an accountant and she eventually made her way back to BC, this time on beautiful Vancouver Island.  She met and, in 1971, married Stan McRae. They had a long and happy marriage of almost 50 years.  Originally they lived in Nanaimo but eventually bought property on Gabriola Island where they lived for decades. Maxine rode the ferry to Nanaimo for many years working for the Royal Bank & later as an accountant for a local MLA.  She later worked at Gabriola Home Support.  Corrine & Elaine share how Maxine was “just so lovely to work with & we had a lot of fun together”.

    Maxine and Stan were active volunteers in their community in countless capacities.

    They were active politically; their house was action-central during election times as they were both staunch supporters of the NDP.  Maxine often took on the role of financial agent as well a variety of other tasks. They were on the board of the Agriculture Community Hall for many years, which eventually morphed into the Farmer’s Market. Maxine took on the role of the treasurer for the hall as well as the Historical and Museum Society. Together, she and Stan, made significant land donations to the McRae Conservation Covenant—twenty acres of trees, meadows and hiking trails. It is an integral part of the island that will be protected forever. Sarah shared how these trails have benefited their family directly. “Our young son learned to ride his bike there as it was one of the safest places to ride. We love it in the meadow!”

    They also donated the land for the Gabriola Museum, and subsequent to that Maxine participated in many fundraising events for the museum building itself. 

    Maxine was a voracious painter and there was nothing she wouldn’t attempt; watercolor, acrylic, oil or mixed media. She belonged to the Gabriola Palette People and Cora describes Maxine’s creations as “such beautiful work; we especially admired her color choices and combinations”. She sold her homemade cards and paintings at the Farmer’s Market with Stan who was an accomplished wood turner. Maxine also showed her work at the Rollo Centre’s exhibitions. Many friends and family benefitted from her beautiful work at Christmastime in particular, when her lovely hand-painted cards would arrive via post.  They were often displayed in homes long after the festive season, framed for safekeeping as niece, Tara, will attest.

    Maxine was a kind and caring person.  She was a gentle soul that loved her animals; Angus, Fergus, and Jock.  She also raised many different kinds of birds and gave names to many. Once when Trudy was visiting, she met Maxine’s duck named Amelia.  In subsequent Christmas cards, Maxine would always give her an ‘Amelia update.’

    Through the years, Maxine made regular trips back to Wanham to see her family and numerous old school friends.  It was always a social event when Auntie Mac came to town!  Sharon hosted meals & much lively visiting took place.  During these trips, she always made time to paint with her mom; it was a love that they both shared.  Her niece Heather tells of her visits to Edmonton, ‘though we didn’t get to have her here often, our three sons always enjoyed Auntie Mac as she was so engaged and loved to hear all about their lives’.  When Max couldn’t make the trips west anymore, weekly phone calls with her sister would fill the gap.

    In return, Maxine & Stan entertained many Albertans at their island home through the summer.  From all reports, they were wonderful hosts!  Her friend, Lorraine, remembers a scrumptious meal in particular, of baked salmon and delicious cauliflower salad. She raved so much about the meal that Maxine gave her the cookbook that held the recipes. They are family favorites that Lorraine still uses today. ‘They always remind me of Maxine!’

    Maxine & Stan had many friends on the island, too numerous acknowledge. They were involved in so many projects & activities that fellow volunteers and board members became quite close. Bruce and Betty were like family, they graciously included the McRaes in many holiday celebrations and were true friends in the last years. Joyce and Graham were very special neighbors who were always there for them, which proved to be even more important in Maxine’s last season of life.

    The last few years were not kind to Maxine or to Stan. Maxine developed dementia and Stan was afflicted with cancer.  Dementia robs you of so much; I hope this recap of Maxine’s life helps you remember the wonderful, generous person she was.  Stan lost his battle with cancer on June 14, 2020. Maxine’s passing was unfortunately only a month later due to a heart episode.  They have definitely left their legacy on Gabriola Island and will long be remembered. Gisele says: “They were the kind of people who gave so freely, and literally without expecting or getting anything in return.” 

    Chris describes them as “a couple who helped set the tone of the island in the earlier years; one of generosity and real community, this wonderful tone continues to this day!”

    Maxine was predeceased by her husband, Stan; her mother, Dora; her father, Edward; her step-father, Art; her only sibling, Sharon (Sept 2019); and brother-in-law, Taras.

    She is survived by her sister-in-law, Helen; step brother-in-law, Harvey; nieces and nephews, Tara, Heather, Doug, David, Terry and Anne, Ellen, Hope, Stuart and Phillip. She is also survived by many great and great-great nieces and nephews.

    Memorial donations may be made in Maxine’s name to one of her favourite causes; Gabriola Historical and Museum Society, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, or the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

     

  • Timothy George Claydon

    Timothy George Claydon

    May 2, 1958- June 20, 2020

    It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Tim Claydon, husband and true love of Michele Eeley. Predeceased by father Derek Claydon (2017). He also leaves behind his daughter Kiah, her partner Alex and grandchildren Sumer and Daliah, father-in-law David Eeley and his partner Judy Morris and brother-in-law Jason Eeley. 

    Tim enjoyed his work at the Natural Resources Canada Pacific Geoscience Center in Sydney B.C.. He will be greatly missed by his colleagues far and wide, his passion creativity and humor made him such an integral part of the team. 

    Along with his many friends Tim was active participant in the Gabriola HAM Radio Group. Tim will be remembered for his quick wit and infectious smile his kindness and compassionate spirit.

    In lieu of a service we ask that you remember Tim with a donation to the charity of your choice. 

  • Dr. John Beatty

    Dr. John Beatty

    Nov. 27, 1947 - July 2, 2020

    John Cabeen Beatty III passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early morning of July 2, 2020, at his home on Gabriola Island, British Columbia. He was born in New York City on November 27, 1947. His father was a lawyer. His mother was a research scientist at the Oregon Primate Research Center. 

    John devoted his career to computer science. He was first and foremost a teacher and a scholar. He had a life-long love of books and was a voracious reader, especially of American history and political and economic theory and analysis.

    John grew up in Portland, Oregon, living with his family in their home on Council. He enrolled in Princeton University, graduating with an AB in Mathematics in 1969, and then earned a doctorate in Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1977. He lived in Oakland, California, and worked at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory from 1969-1977 as a mathematical programmer before joining the University of Waterloo in 1978 as a faculty member in Computer Science. 

    He retired to Gabriola in 2010 where he quickly settled into the pace of island life and rekindled his childhood affection for poodles.

    His home was filled with books and computers. Always the tinkerer, he took delight in figuring out how to automate just about anything one could imagine. John served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Malawi, where he helped introduce computers into the local school system. He was a volunteer driver for GERTIE on Gabriola. Throughout his life he closely followed current events and kept abreast of a wide range of topics in science and technology. He could often be heard quoting from Shakespeare.

    John’s interests in computer science ranged from the theoretical to the practical, focusing at first on formal language theory and then on computer graphics, especially techniques for accurate color reproduction and the use of spline mathematics to model and render curved lines and surfaces for computer-aided design and animation. He was a devoted teacher. In this role he mentored many graduate and undergraduate students. Generations of students benefited from his guidance and wisdom.

    John was an avid fencer who continued in the sport after university. He fenced competitively in California. For a while he coached the fencing club at the University of Waterloo after he moved to Canada. For many summers he and his parents and sister vacationed with their boat in the waters off the San Juan and Gulf Islands between Washington State and British Columbia. He was an avid Linda Ronstadt fan. He enjoyed good food and good wine (except for asparagus).

    Friends came to accept his many eccentricities and eventually ceased to question his love of Sherlock Holmes-style capes, Tilley hats, Birkenstock sandals worn with socks, and his ever-present Swiss Army knife and fully-loaded custodian’s key caddy attached to his waist-high belt. His friends’ children learned to appreciate his barking at them and his imitation of a wolf howling at the moon, although not so much in public gatherings.

    John is survived by his sister Clarissa Jean Beatty and her husband Jim Pernetti, his nephew Trask Beatty-Pernetti, and his beloved poodles Misty and Sparky. He was predeceased by his mother and father, Dr. Clarissa Beatty and Judge John (“Jack”) Cabeen Beatty. 

    Honoring his request, no memorial service will be held. Donations in his memory may be made to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    Condolences may be left and information found at www.evergreencremationcentre.com

  • Helen (nee Derksen) Dennison

    Helen (nee Derksen) Dennison

    April 10, 1927 - June 5, 2020

    It is with great sadness that we must announce the passing of this wonderful lady. Helen had a difficult early life. In 1930, at age 3, she & her Dutch parents, escaped communist Russia. After a long and dangerous trip they reached Germany, caught a ship to Canada, a train across the country until finally settling in Abbotsford, B.C. Her family later owned a butcher shop, general store, lumber yard, dairy farm & property in the area. She helped raise her nine siblings and worked in the family businesses, especially after her father suddenly died when she was 19. Eventually moving to Vancouver, Helen did some modelling and office work, married Jack Dennison in 1953 and had two children, Greg and Kathy. In 1973, she & Jack built a vacation cabin on Savary Island which became a beloved family getaway. They lived in Vancouver, Ladner, Walnut Grove, Port Coquitlam, and Pitt Meadows but from 1997 on, they enjoyed a quiet life on Gabriola Island. Sadly Helen lost husband Jack in 2006 and son Greg, who passed in 2016. Helen was a beautiful woman, a talented homemaker, a fabulous cook & baker who became well known for her melt in your mouth pies. She was an excellent bowler, badminton player, voracious reader, gardener and an expert seamstress who made clothing, quilts, uniquely designed aprons, and in her last months was sewing little dresses for an orphanage in Nepal. A devoted mother & grandmother, she was always close to family and was surrounded in love as she passed on. Generous, warm and caring to us all, Helen will be dearly and sadly missed, but her memory will be lovingly cherished by those who knew her. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to a charity of your choice.

    Condolences may be left and information found at www.evergreencremationcentre.com

  • Rose Angela Jones

    1934-2020

     

    On behalf of our mother and grandmother, the family of Rose Jones would like to share the sad news of her unexpected passing on June 25, 2020.

    Rose grew up in Vancouver and married Digby David Goldsmith Jones in 1955. They spent their honeymoon at Law Point in Silva Bay. Digby and Rose began their loving life together in North Vancouver, with their two children Leslie and Geoffrey, spending their weekends skiing and hiking on the local mountains and magical summers on Gabriola. In due course, they were joined by their grandchildren, William, Holly and Jane.

    Digby and Rose became full time residents of Gabriola in 1995. 

    Rose was devoted to her extended family, and loved her many friends, with whom she shared her passion for cooking, anything Italian, gardening, walking, swimming, reading and travel.

    Rose volunteered throughout her life, beginning with the YWCA as a young woman, Girl Guides of Canada as a mother, and several community organizations on the island. She led her life deeply committed to the Anglican church, and she was a treasured member of the community.

    Regrettably, as a result of COVID19, we will not be able to share a celebration of Rose’s life at this time with the community.

    With love, Leslie (Les), Geoffrey (Pam), William, Holly and Jane.

    “We have a little garden, a garden of our own. And every day we water there the seeds that we have sown.”

    ~ Beatrix Potter