Obituaries

  • 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.

  • Lynn Coleman

    Lynn Coleman

    Nov. 9, 1947 - Nov. 27, 2012

    Lynn Coleman died suddenly at home on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012.
    Lynn was born in Brooks, Alberta on Nov. 9, 1947. She graduated from the University of Alberta in pharmacy. After meeting her future spouse, Oliver, they spent time in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and finally, yearning to return to the West Coast, settled on Gabriola Island in 1989.
    She was predeceased by her mother in 1974, her father in 1982 and a nephew in 2003. She is survived by her husband, Oliver Woolcock of Gabriola, her sisters, Diane Visser (Cec) of Gabriola and Audrey Hansen (Villy) of Fort McMurray, and many nephews and a niece.
    During her life she enjoyed outdoor pursuits, becoming an accomplished skier, scuba diver and sailor. Her Gabriola summers were spent exploring the West Coast from Seattle, Washington to Glacier Bay, Alaska. She was the commodore of the Silva Bay Yacht Club for three terms and actively participated in the Gabriola Tops Club.
    During her spare time she pursued her creative side by painting detailed watercolors, sewing and many other craft-related projects.
    Her effervescence and shining personality endeared Lynn to all her friends.
    Anyone who met her would be sure to remember her.
    At Lynn’s request there will be no service. A celebration of her life will be held on a date to be announced in the New Year.
    In lieu of flowers, Lynn’s favourite charities were the SPCA and the Georgia Strait Alliance.

  • Dave McIntyre

    Dave McIntyre

    Our dear friend Dave McIntyre left this world on Tuesday evening, Nov. 27, 2012 and is now part of the eternal cosmos in all his beauty and generosity.
    Though he wouldn’t say it, he has been a benefactor and supporter of many people on this island and has given care, joy and love to anyone he could. He leaves behind two sisters in eastern Canada, but his larger family is composed of Gabriolans and people from the northern community of Rainbow Alley on the Babine River. As a surveyor he has mapped out the property of many Gabriolans and has seen this island through many years of development.
    A quiet man with a passion for motorcycles, he has toured the B.C. coast with a passion for its wildlife and its beauty. He was never happier than when he had a fly fishing rod in his hand or was teaching someone to cast.
    A celebration of his life will be announced.

  • Jeffrey Ryan Clark

    Jeffrey Ryan Clark

    May 23, 1985 - Nov. 18, 2012

    Jeff left us tragically on Nov. 18, 2012. Left to mourn his passing are parents David and Kathleen Clark, sister Kelly, brother Anthony, maternal grandparents Douglas and Audrey Best, the love of his life Danielle Artuso, her parents John and Sue and sister Stephanie, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
    He was predeceased by his paternal grandparents Earnie and Annie Clark.
    Born in Nanaimo on May 23, 1985, Jeff attended Mountain View School, Nanaimo District Secondary School and Vancouver Island University. He enrolled in the carpentry program at VIU and just this spring completed the requirements for his Red Seal Certification making him a Journeyman Carpenter. He was currently working on constructing the new library on Salt Spring Island. He was employed by Knappett Projects.
    Jeff loved music and the arts. Summers were spent at the many music festivals around B.C., combining his favourite activities of camping and enjoying music with friends, as always, with his high school sweetheart Danielle at his side. Recently, he was pursuing his passion for music through DJing, with one of his best friends, Kyle Shepard.
    Jeff’s love of the outdoors began with growing up in a country setting, being involved in Cubs and Scouts and family camping/fishing trips to Toquart Bay every summer.  With his magnetic personality and contagious smile he made friends easily. We will miss his crazy antics, his sense of humour, adventurousness, loving nature and outgoing personality.
    He was a grandson, son, brother, boyfriend, nephew, cousin, friend ... we loved him. A Celebration of Life will be held on Dec. 1, 2012 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Nanaimo Hornets Clubhouse, 6704 Dover Road.

  • Thomas William Cox

    Thomas William Cox

    Oct. 25, 1922 - Oct. 28, 2012

    Predeceased by his parents John (Jack) Cox in 1957 and Lottie May (Pullen) in 1983, his son Bruce in 1966 and his three brothers John (Jack), David and Robert. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Helen (McEwan); daughter Dale Ferguson, grandchildren Garnet Ferguson and Auralee Brown (Tyler); and great-grandchildren Justus Pounds and Caleb Pounds; his brother Len (Judy) and sister Hazel Windecker and their families and numerous nieces and nephews.
    Bill, as he was known to most people, lived his life as a gentle loving man that worked hard and enjoyed his friends and family. He put his hands to any problem and usually found something to make it work for him – even if it didn’t work for anyone else. A motto he lived by was ‘accomplish at least one task every day!’
    Born and raised on Gabriola, Bill was the fifth generation of his family to spend his life on the island. The Cox farmstead where he grew up is located on Taylor Bay Road past the end of the ferry lineup in the dip of the hills. The farm had a large orchard, a huge garden and all the livestock necessary to support a large family. Bill learned to be self-sufficient from his parents and continued to practice this belief his entire life.
    At 16, Bill was employed as a full-time logger on the island and this remained his main profession throughout his life. He selectively logged two generations of timber off his own land. Many large old stumps around the island that have spring board notches cut into them were felled by Bill using two-handled crosscut saws in his youth. Bill was still logging at 76, falling his timber, skidding it out of the woods with his tractor and milling the trees with his portable mobile dimension sawmill.
    By the mid seventies Bill built a new home on his own acreage located 1 km north down Taylor Bay Road. He named the access road Brucelynn Drive after his son and daughter. At this new home he planted over 50 fruit trees and also developed a 5,000 square foot garden, both of which he worked and maintained with joy.
    He served his country in the Second World War in the Navy and developed a love of boats of all types. After the war he worked on fishing vessels when the work was available and at his first retirement bought a fishing boat of his own. He loved fishing and he and his wife spent many hours out fishing, though his wife hated boats as much as he loved them, but she went to make him happy.
    In 1987 he lost his boat in a refuelling accident that burned the boat to the waterline and his wife wouldn’t let him replace it. Instead he bought a motor home and he and wife spent time each year seeing our country and going to Yuma, Arizona in the winter months for golf and the nicer weather. Unfortunately, in 1998 Bill suffered a series of strokes that brought him down, and though he managed to regain some use of his left side he found his working days were over, as was the driving to Yuma each winter.
    During 2003, Bill and his daughter cruised the Panama Canal and in 2006, Bill and his grandson cruised the Mediterranean Sea sharing wonderful memories on both trips.
    He managed to live at home until 2006, when suffering dementia, he became unstable and so was placed in the Kiwanis Lodge where he was well cared for by the wonderful staff there.
    The family wishes to thank the Kiwanis Lodge for their many kindnesses and the consideration they gave Bill over the past six years while he was in their care.
    Bill’s wish was to be cremated and there will be a celebration of his life next year when the weather improves. No flowers by request and if you wish, a donation to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, in his name, can be made.