Obituaries

  • Henry Arthur Blanden

    Henry Arthur Blanden

    Sept. 23, 1924 - Mar. 18, 2013

    It is with great sadness we announce the sudden passing of Art.

    Art is survived by his wife, Maria; daughters Linda, Dale and Wendy; stepchildren Nadia, George and Lidia and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, relatives and friends.

    A private family service has been held.

  • Arvon Argyle Keating

    Arvon Argyle Keating

    Feb. 21, 1924 - Mar. 17, 2013

    Arvon Argyle Keating, 89, passed away on March 17, 2013 in Nanaimo, B.C. after a long and full life. He was born on Feb. 21, 1924 in Silverton, MB to Wallace and Hattie (McFarlane) Keating. 

    Arvon is survived by his children Leslie Mercer of Nanaimo, B.C., Audrey (Elaine) Keating of Parksville, B.C., Gyle (Sam) Keating of Salt Spring Island, B.C., and Kent (Debbie) Keating of 100 Mile House, B.C.; his brother Larry Keating of Cranbrook, B.C. and his sister Margaret Gray of Winnipeg, MB; his grandchildren Jeremy (Lauren) Keating, Annya (Patrick) Linfoot, Naomi (Andrew) Jacobs, Jennifer (Paul) Denby, Stephanie (Jesse) Mercer, Brandon (Kristen) Keating, Aaron Keating, and Tiffany Keating; his great-grandchildren Ember, Carter and Connol; and his nieces, nephews and other relatives. 

    Arvon was predeceased by his parents Wallace and Hattie Keating and his wife Betha (Calis) Keating. 

    Arvon grew up on a farm and went to school in Clandeboye and Selkirk, MB. In the early 1940s, after graduation, he worked for two years as a laboratory technician for the Manitoba Sugar Company. Then in 1943 he joined the R.C.A.F., trained as a pilot and became a flying instructor. At the end of the war, he enrolled in the science faculty at the University of Manitoba, but after two years returned to Clandeboye where he farmed from 1947 to 1960. 

    In the late 1950s, Arvon struggled over continuing to farm or to follow a calling to the ministry. He decided on the ministry and graduated from United College in Winnipeg (now the University of Winnipeg) in 1965, with degrees in both arts and theology. After his ordination, Arvon served as a United Church minister in several rural charges in Western Manitoba, including Emerson-Dominion City, Nesbitt-Carroll and Gladstone. 

    In 1975, Arvon moved to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and served in a team ministry at St. Andrew’s before moving on to Trinity United. In the early 1980s, he took on a stint installing deck coverings before accepting a call to Bethany United in Surrey, B.C. Arvon returned to Nanaimo in the late 1980s and, as a semi-retired minister, served Gabriola United Church until he retired permanently. 

    During his career, Arvon led lively Bible study and youth groups and was active at both Presbytery and Conference levels. He had the knack of communicating the complex in ways that were easily understood. On Sunday mornings, many a child and parent were fascinated by his stories while they waited to find out what mystery lay hidden in a simple cardboard box or brown paper bag.

    Arvon married Betha Calis on June 20, 1951 in Selkirk, MB, and remained devotedly married for 52 years until her death in 2003. A deeply caring parent, Arvon saw into the hearts of his children and grandchildren and gave each one his abiding love.

    Multi-skilled, Arvon pursued a variety of hobbies, including gardening, lapidary, whittling and wood turning. In his hands, the most unpromising chunk of wood was transformed into a perfectly proportioned vase, goblet or bowl. Arvon was also an avid curler, a deadly shot at crokinole and a daunting cribbage player. He enjoyed watching hockey and football and was a lifelong Bombers fan. 

    Arvon’s broad and deep knowledge base, warm humanity and twinkling eyes made him approachable and appealing to people of all ages and walks of life. He accepted people as they were, without judging, and offered kindness, compassion and encouragement unstintingly. A stalwart oak, he knew how to bend.

    A memorial service will be held at Brechin United Church, 1998 Estevan Road in Nanaimo on Wednesday, March 27 at 1 p.m., with a reception to follow. A private interment will take place at a later time. 

    In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or a charity of choice. 

  • Jacob Chaos

    Jacob Chaos

    “Jacob Chaos, loving partner, uncle, brother, mentor and lover of all things innocent and good, passed away in Santiago, Chile, Monday, 25 February 2013, after a brief but brave challenge with cancer.

    Jacob’s life motto was “live life with love and have no regrets”.  That he so did.  At the time of his passing, Jacob was a Professor of English Language and Culture at the University of Information Sciences (UCINF) in Santiago, Chile. He was loved by his students and equally respected by his peers and colleagues.  Through his avante garde use of modern media - You Tube, Twitter, FaceBook, and theatrical outlet, he vastly enlarged the horizons of his students and consistently challenged them to extend themselves and confidently believe in their skills and abilities.  He imbued in them as well a love of life, respect and patience for all things and, that they could truly make a difference in the world about them.  

    Jacob loved his adopted homeland of Chile and the bustling capital of Santiago.  In February 2012, he visited his family in Canada and provided too all, a marvellous uplifting visit.  He relayed too though, that his visits to Canada would be reduced in upcoming years, owing to his becoming engrossed in his work and commitments in Chile.  The family bonds would remain in tact though, in that he invited all to come and visit his beloved Chile, where he would play host and introduce all to the history, culture and beauty of the country he so embraced.

    Jacob was beautifully simple and simply beautiful.  A minimalist, he lived life not to acquire, but to give.  He faced the challenge of cancer with grace, dignity and determination.  Not once did he complain or seek pity or sympathy. He was truly inspirational and impacted tremendously those who were in loving service to him.  He was a man of extraordinary depth and character.  He will be missed by all whose lives he so lovingly, respectfully and tenderly touched.  A truly sensitive, compassionate and loving human being - a Prince.”

    “Death leaves a heartache, no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”

  • Betty Joyce Abrams

    Betty Joyce Abrams

    July 3, 1925 - Jan. 31, 2013

    Betty Joyce Abrams passed on at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital on Jan. 31, 2013. She is predeceased by her parents, Mabel and Morgan Jenkins; her husband, Ben Abrams; and sister, Patricia Wigen.

    She is survived by sister Valerie Sawyer, (Keith Malcolm), daughers Lee Aldis, Ann Green and Patricia Poole; grandchildren Shawna Green, Holly, Emmett and Ashley Aldis, Maigan Poole and Tisha Flemming and 10 great-grandchildren.

    Betty was born in Lloydminster, Alberta and grew up in Kitscoty, Alberta. She worked as a secretary in Ottawa during WWII before making Vancouver Island her home. She and her husband Ben Abrams operated a shipping and customs brokerage business (B&R Shipping) in Nanaimo for many years.

    Betty moved to Gabriola in 1989 where she lived until the time of her passing.

    Many of you may remember Betty when she greeted her customers with her cheerful smile and friendly manner when working in the coffee shop at the golf club and the White Hart Pub.

    A ceremony of Betty’s life will be held at the Gabriola Golf Club on Saturday, Feb. 16 from 2 to 4 p.m. If anyone would like to help out, please bring appetizers.

    Donations can be made in Betty’s name to the Gabriola Rescue of Wildlife Society (www.growls.ca) or to the Alzheimer Societies of Canada or B.C.

    She will be missed by the many friends she made over the years.

    Been there,

    Done that,

    Thanks for the memories!

    Betty

  • Geraldine Veronica Girard

    Geraldine Veronica Girard

    My Mom was a teacher

    “My father stayed home and kept house while Mother taught Grades 1-8 in a one-room school on Saturna Island. I attended the school and wanted to use the bright-coloured chalks to draw on the blackboard, but my mother wouldn’t allow it so I kicked up a fuss and was sent home. On that day I vowed I would become a school teacher when I grew up and write on the blackboard anytime I wanted.” 

     And so she did. Mom taught many of Nanaimo’s youth for years at Cedar, Brechin, Northfield, Princess Anne and Harewood schools.

    She was a teacher, who taught us the obvious things a mother teaches her children in childhood, but even more important things as we grew up: how to make conversation in a room fallen flat, how to show caring by visiting people who were older or infirm, and think of things to say to them. Drop off a loaf, or cookies or send a card. She taught us that love, compassion, manners and politeness, forgiveness and to never hold a grudge were the most important things. 

    She didn’t tell us these things ... she lived them.

    Mom knew the importance of being there for her children; after school with tea on the stove and the smell of fresh baking wafting through the house. She was a master of comfort food and gave my brothers and me a childhood that was worry free and nothing less than magical.

    “Babysitting” hardly describes the time Mom spent with her grandchildren. She would bake and read with them, teach them to print and play cards, make booklets with stamps and crayons, and no doubt coloured chalk, all found in the “classroom” she set up in her and Dad’s home.

    Mom was a teacher, our loving teacher, and I am grateful God gave her to us. We will miss you more than you know, but we’re thankful you are now resting easy, hand in hand with Dad at last.

    It is with heavy hearts that we say farewell to our beloved Mother, Geraldine Veronica Girard who passed away peacefully on Jan. 18. A native daughter of Nanaimo, Geraldine was born on Oct. 15, 1925 to parents Mary Rose Mayovsky of Nanaimo, and Martin Tapay who emigrated from Czechoslovakia. We remember many happy days spent with Mom and Dad at “La Mer” on Berry Point Road.

    On behalf of my brothers and I, thanks to all who sent such beautiful cards, calls and emails. Sincerely, Melinda Wilde.

  • Justin (Jerry) Lee Devlin

    Justin (Jerry) Lee Devlin

    July 2, 1974 - Jan. 24, 2013

    Justin was the youngest of 5 sons born to Mike Devlin and Jean Behnke. Brothers Jim (Laura), Steve (Janice), Keith and Scott. Uncle to many nieces and nephews.

    Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Justin grew up with a love of the outdoors and was always curious about everything nature had to offer. This love eventually led him to Gabriola Island, British Columbia where he thrived. He had many hobbies, including sculpting, photography, kayaking, canoeing, baseball and singing karaoke.

    Justin will be deeply missed and warmly remembered by all of his friends, many of whom he considered family, as well as by the entire Gabriola Island community.

    Justin’s family wishes to thank everyone for their overwhelming kindness, sincere sympathy and incredible generosity during this very difficult time.

    A memorial was held in Justin’s memory on Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Gabriola Community Hall.

  • Eleanor Anne Hendy King

    Jan. 13, 1949 - Jan. 22, 2013

    Anne died at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

    Preceded in death by parents, Albert (1980) and Eleanor (1999), and dear sister Grace (2007).

    Survived by caring husband, John, beloved son, Miles Norrington (Gwyn Robinson), companion, Henry, and extended family and friends.

    Donations, if desired, can be made to the BC Cancer Foundation in memory of the Hendy family.

    Nunc Dimittis

  • Kathleen Nora McErlean

    Kathleen Nora McErlean

    June 28, 1915 - Jan. 12, 2013

    Kay passed away peacefully on Jan. 12, 2013 at the age of 97. Predeceased by husband Wally, son Brian and sisters Norma and Barbara. She is survived by and will be lovingly remembered by son Terry (Becky), granddaughter Tracy (McErlean-Nortcliffe), great-grandchildren Peter and Melissa and many other family members, extended family and friends.

    Born June 28, 1915 and raised in Vancouver, she married in 1939 and was a loving mother to two sons. Mom worked for many years in the securities business until retiring and deciding to move to Gabriola Island. 

    Mom was introduced to Gabriola in the late ’30s when her mother came to visit her cousins, the Andersons, at Anderson (Surf) Lodge. Her mother made the island her home in 1947 and Mom retired to the same property in 1985. She enjoyed island living and her enthusiasm for life led her on many adventures, travelling extensively with friends and her sister Barbara. She had a great love for all her family and was happy that many of us made the decision to make Gabriola our home as well. 

    Her participation in community events, clubs, organizations and charities connected her to countless friends and her beautiful spirit and immense heart was recognized by all who knew her.

    Mom’s wonderful smile, happy disposition and unconditional love will be cherished by all of us. She made the world a better place. A heartfelt thank you to all for the love and support shown to Mom with special thanks to cousin Lynne Fjellgaard, Drs Bosman and Thorne and the Fellowship Church. 

    A celebration of life will be held on Friday, Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. at the Gabriola Fellowship Church, 775 North Road, Gabriola Island. 

    No flowers please. If you wish to make a donation please consider People for a Healthy Community (PHC) or Cats Alive.

  • Yetta Lees Strasdine

    Yetta Lees Strasdine

    Jan. 26, 1931 - Jan. 16, 2013

    Yetta Lees Strasdine née Olesen died Jan. 16, 2013 after a short illness. She faced her death with curiosity and openness like everything else in her life.

    She is predeceased by her first husband John Lees, and is survived by husband George Strasdine; her sisters, Tinne Fink and Lissi Olesen; and children Erik Lees (Kathi), Barbara Lees (Svend), Kath Murray (Ted), Michael Lees (Maree) and her sister-in-law Frances Montgomery.

    Yetta was born in Denmark in 1931 and came to Canada at the age of 19 where she worked as a salesperson covering western Canada, and raised her family in West Vancouver. In the mid ’60s she was a charter student in sociology at SFU. She returned to earn an MBA the year she turned 50 and became a grandmother – the first of 26 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Upon retirement, she moved from Toronto to Gabriola Island, where she designed and built a home, and later married George and joined him on Cooper Road.

    Yetta was a teacher, businesswoman and a fibre artist. She loved community and wove many circles of friends and colleagues across Canada, Denmark and around the globe. Circle Craft Cooperative, which Yetta founded in 1974, was one of her proudest endeavors. She taught at Capilano and Seneca Colleges, helped support craftspeople in Canada’s North and in developing countries, including a woman’s felting co-op in Kyrgyzstan. In her last years Yetta contributed her time to the Gabriola Commons. She would be delighted, in lieu of flowers, for contributions to be extended to the Commons (www.gabriolacommons.ca/donations.html).

    Memorial services will be held at Dragon’s Lodge on Gabriola Island, at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22 and at the Vancouver Unitarian Church, Oak St. & 49th Ave., on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 1 p.m.

  • Sietse Visser

    Sietse Visser

    Apr. 17, 1937 - Dec. 14, 2012

    It is with deeply saddened hearts we announce the sudden passing of Sietse Visser on Dec. 14, 2012 at the age of 75.
    He was born April 17, 1937 in Holland and immigrated to Canada when he was 16. He made his way out to Alberta in search of work where he met the love of his life, Diane, and they married April 23, 1960.
    Sietse was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, but he was also an expert hug collector. It’s like it was his unspoken mission in life to spread as much love and laughter as was humanly possible.
    Sietse had many accomplishment in life, business-wise, etc., but none was he more proud of than his family. He is survived by his wife Diane, daughter Sheila (Dan), son Darren (Donna), daughter-in-law Dianna, daughter-in-law Lavonne, grandchildren Aaron (Louise), Jordon, Brandon (Jayme), Dallen, Devon, Dale, Donaven, Krysten and Nathan, and great-grandchildren Joshua and Levi. He also leaves to cherish his memory three sisters and three brothers.
    He was predeceased by his parents, oldest son Wynn, two sisters and one brother.
    Sietse always said, next to marrying Diane, the best decision he ever made was retiring at age 50 and moving to Gabriola Island. He said he had found Shangri La where he felt unconditionally accepted and loved.
    A small family gathering took place Dec. 21, 2012, but we hope to hold a larger celebration of life in the spring, which was Dad’s favourite time of year. In lieu of flowers, we graciously ask you to send your donations in memory of Sietse to the Gabriola Health Care Foundation, PO Box 295, Gabriola Island, B.C. V0R 1X0.
    Dad was all about paying it forward and perpetual giving. Dad also always said leave nothing unsaid; life is a gift, fill it with love and laughter, for you wouldn’t want to receive an empty gift.