• 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 (

    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.

  • Digby David Goldsmith Jones

    Digby David Goldsmith Jones

    Mar. 15, 1927 - Nov. 2, 2012

    Predeceased by his parents, William and Edith, siblings, Geoffrey (killed action in World War II), and Gwyneth in 1988. He leaves his wife Rose and his children Lesley (Les) and Geoffrey (Pam) and grandchildren William, Holly and Jane to honour his memory.
    Digby’s family settled in North Vancouver in 1917. As a boy, Digby roamed the trails of very rural North Vancouver with his father. As the years passed, from his home on Keith Road he hiked Grouse Mountain and nearby peaks with his pals. Before the original ski lift was built he and his friends hiked and skied up Grouse Mountain.
    As a young man Digby was an active member of the Royal Canadian Navy Sea Cadets Corp Lonsdale. He learned many boating and team-building skills in this great organization, which stood him in good stead for the rest of his life.
    He attended North Shore College and in later years met annually with the Old Boys of that school.
    He was an active member of the Grouse Mountain Ski Patrol until 1955.
    Digby qualified as an electrician in 1951 at Burrard Drydock in North Vancouver. He worked at his trade in Prince George with Electric Power and Equipment, and in Vancouver with Westinghouse in the Apparatus Service Department becoming foreman before joining the sales force. He later became a partner in Winford Insulations.
    An annual event in Digby’s life was his involvement with Emil and Ottar Branvold and Milly at Diamond Head Chalet in Garibaldi Park. He led many a party of ski mountaineers safely to the lodge and beyond, thrown snowmobile tracks notwithstanding. Whatever it was Digby dealt with it!
    Digby always had a place in his heart for Mrs. Law on Gabriola Island, never forgetting the love she showed him in the years following the death of his mother. Nor did he forget the island itself when he retired. Digby’s life was built around a sound Christian foundation and he continued to fulfill his belief in his faith until his death. In his life on Gabriola he had many interests: the Lions’ Club, where he was a member, introduced to him by his friend Clive Tutty; the Power and Sail Squadron where he happily lent a hand; the Lunch Bunch, which gave him a new dimension to fellowship and community service. The Sailors introduced him to the science of remote control and finer points of sailing miniature sailboats. The White Hats satisfied his joy of fine dining combined with companionship and conversation.
    An Anglican funeral service will be held on Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. at the Gabriola United Church, 2600 South Road, followed by a celebration of Digby’s life from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Silva Bay Pub. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Palliative Care Ward at Nanaimo Regional Hospital would be appreciated.
    May the wind be always at your back, brave heart.

  • Richard Wilfred Welsh

    Aug. 28, 1941 - Nov. 4, 2012

    Richard passed away early in the morning on Sunday, Nov. 4 at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, B.C. Richard was born in London, Ontario, but resided for the last 10 years on Gabriola Island. A good and generous man, he was well-known for his fondness for a good chat, his wicked sense of humour and even more for his enthusiasm for a good meal. He loved his wife and family, his dog and his computer, however, not necessarily in that order. He will be greatly missed by his large family and his many friends and neighbours.
    Richard was predeceased by his faithful dog, Jake. He leaves behind his wife, Elizabeth, his children, Jennifer, Matthew, Nicole (Mike) and Christopher (Sung hee). His grandchildren, Nicole, Nathan, Justine, Rachel and Sam will sorely miss their “Big Bad Granny and the Alligator Pond.” He also leaves behind his sisters and brother, Lynn, Karen (Ralph), Sheila (Carl) and Christopher; his in-laws, David (Sue) and Kate as well as many loved nieces and nephews.
    There will be no formal service; however, on Saturday, Nov. 17 there will be an open house at 1515 Violet Crescent from 1 to 4 p.m. Family and friends are invited to share reminiscences, love and laughter and stories of our beloved Richard.
    Donations may be made to Heart House of Victoria, B.C. or the Gabriola Land and Trails Trust (GaLTT).

  • Jane James

    Sept. 7 1924 - Oct. 27 2012

    Jane James passed away on Oct. 27 at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital at the age of 88 years. Jane was the mother of Simon of Okotoks, AB; and Jeremy (Debbie) of Ottawa, ON. She was grandmother to Shannon Wolframe (Robin) of Calgary, AB; Connor James (Ashley) of Nurenburg, Germany; Meghan Bennett (Peter) of Tathra, NSW Australia; Colin James of Toronto, ON; and Erin James of Victoria, B.C.; and great-grandmother to Thomas Bennett and Owen Wolframe. She was pre-deceased in 2001 by Terry, her husband of 50 years.
    Jane was born in Kirkaldy, Scotland. She received her B.Sc. honors in zoology from the University of Glasgow in 1945, and her first job was with a zoological research station in England. From there she moved to a botantical research station in the Sultanate of Zanzibar. She met Terry in Zanzibar and they were married in the Zanzibar Cathedral on March 29, 1951.
    They moved to Kenya to manage a coffee shamba near Nakuru. The shamba was nationalized and they moved to Nairobi where she taught math and science at the Duke of York boarding school in Nairobi before immigrating to Canada in 1959. She lived in Carp, ON and Ottawa until 1964 while working for the Canadian Red Cross.
    In 1964, the family moved to Calgary where she worked again for the Red Cross and then in hematology at the Foothills Hospital.
    In 1975, Jane and Terry moved to Gabriola Island where they lived for 25 years.
    In December 2000, she moved to Nanaimo, and in 2007, Jane moved into the Lake Side Gardens retirement community where she made many friends and enjoyed having someone else cook for her.
    In lieu of flowers, donations to the SPCA or the David Suzuki Foundation would be appreciated.
    A memorial service will be held in Nanaimo at a later date. Please contact the family at for details.

  • Nicholas Small

    Nicholas Small

    Jan. 1, 1925 - Oct.17, 2012

    Nicholas Small (Nick) passed away Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 at his home in Victoria, B.C. He was born in Hrycowola, Ukraine on Jan. 1, 1925.
    He operated Gabriola Reef Dive Shop and was a former long-term resident of Gabriola Island.
    He is survived by his children: Nadia Small and Gary Small (Li), both of Gabriola Island, and George Small (Lindy) of Toronto. He is also survived by three grandchildren: Roslyn (Jon) Small and Bronwyn Small of Toronto, and Nicholas Haayer (Kellie) of Houston, Texas, as well as two great grandchildren: Liam and MacKenzie Haayer.
    Nick had an incredible life. As a young man during World War II, he managed to survive by his wits and his skill as a tailor in several forced labour camps. After the war, he married Katryn Wawryn (Sambir, Ukraine) and immigrated to Canada in 1949 with Katryn and their two-year-old daughter, Nadia. He worked at several jobs before operating his own grocery store in Edmonton. In 1951, he joined the Canadian Forces and spent his main working life as a soldier and tailor at various military bases in Canada and a posting in Lahr, Germany. He was also a veteran of the Korean War.
    After his retirement from the Army, he fulfilled his lifelong dreams of building an ocean cruising sailboat and then running a scuba diving business on Gabriola Island, incredible feats for a man who started life as the son of parents who were struggling farmers in Ukraine. He retired again at the tender age of 72 to spend more time with his family and his hobbies, including square dancing, golf and playing cards with his friends.
    Nick tried to live life to the fullest. He was honest, trustworthy and kind. We loved him dearly. He will be missed by family and friends. He asked for his family to spread his ashes in the ocean and we will honour his request. We are also arranging a marker for him at Victoria’s historic veteran’s cemetery.
    No flowers, no donations. You can view the obituary and offer condolences to the family online at Earth’s Option Cremation and Burial Services website. Visit for complete details.