Obituaries

  • Alberta Gwen ‘Chib’ Melnyk nee Fletcher

    Alberta Gwen ‘Chib’ Melnyk nee Fletcher

    Surrounded by her family, Gwen passed away in her home on Gabriola Island, October 2, 2015.

    Gwen was predeceased by her parents, Jean and Albert Fletcher and her sister Aline “Budge” Elston.

    Gwen leaves her husband Richard, her children Naomi (Trevor) and Fletcher, her grandchildren Chaydan, Zephyr, Frid and Leif, her great-granddaughter Caroline, and her sisters Bev and Sandy (Henry).

    Gwen grew up in McCreary, Manitoba. It was here she learned values that became the cornerstones for her life: honesty, integrity, a strong work ethic, love for family, fun, and a lifelong joy of travel, music, drama and sport.

    Gwen graduated from nursing at Winnipeg General Hospital in 1961. She continued on to a rich and diverse career in the field of health. It was during this time that Gwen met and developed many of the friendships that would last her lifetime.

    After marrying Richard they set up their home in Selkirk, Manitoba, where they lived for many years, bringing up their family, involving themselves in community, camping, swimming, skiing and much, much more. Their move to Winnipeg presented the family with new and exciting adventures. The summers spent at Hockey Haven brought her years of joy and great friendships.

    When not working, Gwen was enthusiastic about walking, swimming, playing bridge, involving herself in multiple creative pursuits and playing with her grandkids. Her special love was music. She wasn’t fussy, whether a sing-a-long, a solo or in a chorus, her voice could always be heard. She was singing just a few days before she passed.

    Her family was her pride and joy and her primary motivator. Her grandkids and her new great-granddaughter were a great source of pride and pleasure.

    Please join us for her celebration of life at The Haven in the Phoenix Auditorium October 18, 2015, 2:00 p.m.

    A special thanks to her medical support with an extra special thanks to Terri: your support is so appreciated.

    Memorial contributions may be made to GALTT to help maintain the trails she loved so much: 

    info@galtt.ca.

  • Mary Poulson

    Mary Poulson

    1919-2015

    Her family announces the passing of Mary Poulsen of Gabriola Island, BC.

    Mary Ann Milewski was born March 23, 1919, in Szablaki, Poland. With her family, she came to Hyas, Saskatchewan, in 1929. Mary worked harder than we can imagine to build a new life in her adopted country. While working for the Larsen family in 1940, she heroically rescued their daughter Gloria from a well. Mary was a proud and patriotic Canadian.

    She joined the RCAF in Winnipeg in 1942, trained in Toronto, and was stationed at Pat Bay, near Victoria, where she met Jack Griffith, an RAF airman. Mary (also known as Binkie) and Jack raised four children, Pamela, Joan, Jill and Kevan. She was a pioneer in Cordova Bay from 1944 to 1980, a cottager on Gabriola Island from 1971, and a resident from 1980 to the present.

    Mary was a faithful parishioner at Our Lady of Victory, Gabriola Island. Predeceased by Jack Griffith and Erling Poulsen, Mary leaves her memory with her children, 10 grandchildren, 18 great-grand-children, 2 great-great grand-children, many nieces and nephews, her brother Joe (Rita) and her sisters Agnes and Wladzia. 

    Mass at Our Lady of Victory, Gabriola Island to be held on November 7, 2015, at 1:00 p.m., followed by a Celebration of Life at the Rollo Senior Centre, Gabriola Island.

    No flowers please. Donations may be made to St. Vincent de Paul.

  • Irene Brenda Clothier

    Irene Brenda Clothier

    Dec. 10, 1928 - Aug. 14, 2015

    Irene was born in Shirley, England to parents Caleb and Jessie Butwell. She was predeceased by her husband Keith, her parents, and her two brothers Lionel and Robert. Irene will be missed by her niece Christine and her nephew Peter (Judy) and their children Lisa, Robert (Hannah) Hayley, Irene’s great-nephew Alfie Dale, and Christine and Peter’s mother Pauline in England. Here on Gabriola she leaves her sister-in-law Vivienne O’Connor. Also family in BC, Ontario, and Quebec.

    Keith and Irene built their home here and lived happily on the island since 1986. Irene had many interests, and very much enjoyed the Gabriola Spinners and Weavers Guild of which she was a member for many years. The family and Gabriola Spinners and Weavers Guild are having a celebration of Irene’s life at the Rollo Centre on Saturday, October 31, 2015 from 2-4pm.

  • David Halliday

    1934-2015

    Son of William and Katherine Halliday, he spent his early years on the family grain farm near Fairfax, Man. His first summer job with a survey group in Flin Flon, Man. led to a career in surveying, first in the private sector, then with Energy Mines & Resources in Ottawa. From 1968 to his retirement in 1994 he worked on the National Gravity Mapping Program, Geological Survey Group. He travelled extensively in Canada, much of his work on airborne gravity surveys north of the 60th parallel. In 1996 we wintered on Gabriola to explore coastal communities. Exploration stopped early and a permanent move followed in 1997. Dave coped stoically with heart and circulation problems for more than two decades. He died on Thursday, September 10th. He is survived by his wife Elaine, brother Hugh, children Shelley, David and Patricia (John), grandchildren Jason (Genevieve) and Linden, great-grandchildren Charlotte and Lara, nephew Allan and niece Beverley. He was a kind and gentle man and will be greatly missed. No service at his request.

  • Earl Mancell

    Earl Mancell

    On September 9th 2015 Earl Mancell passed away peacefully in his 88th year at home in the care of his loving wife Caren. 

    Father of Garry, Jim, Don and Doug Mancell, stepfather to John and Siobhan, grandfather to 17 and great grandfather to 3 may he rest in peace. 

    A Celebration of Life will be held at the Gabriola Golf Club  on Saturday October 17, 2015 from 2-4 PM

  • Paul Stephen Wesson

    Paul Stephen Wesson

    Sept 1949 - Sept 2015

    Paul died unexpectedly but peacefully in his sleep at home on Gabriola in the early morning of September 16th 2015, likely due to a heart attack related to the chronic pancreatitis and diabetes that he battled over the last twenty years of his life. 

    Paul was born in Nottingham, England in a working class family at a time when food-rationing after the war was a daily reality. Despite this, he often spoke fondly of his childhood where collecting newts and sailing on the river with school chums were favourite pastimes. After high school, he went on to study physics at the University of London in Portsmouth and completed graduate studies in astrophysics at Cambridge in the early seventies. A highlight of his life was a summer job studying seismic activity in the Hindu Kush Mountains which included travelling overland from England to Afghanistan and six weeks in the mountains. Awarded a scholarship to study in a NATO country, he chose Norway where he lived for several years, learned to speak Norwegian and met his first wife. Moving to Canada in 1975, he worked in Kingston and Edmonton before settling in Waterloo in 1984. In Edmonton, he embraced real Canadian winters, playing hockey and going to Oilers’ games. California was a special place for him and he spent time there whenever he could. Paul loved music (The Kinks, Mahler and Dylan), English comedy (Spike Milligan and Monty Python) and reading old science fiction novels.

    Paul’s life’s work was as a professor of theoretical astrophysics. He leaves a significant body of research in the form of journal papers and nine books but he was also proud of a science-fiction trilogy he authored. 

    In 1975, a visit to Nanaimo to meet a school pen pal introduced him to Gabriola. He fell in love with the island and spent summers here for decades before moving permanently to B.C. in 2004. While Paul never forgot his difficult and humble roots, he loved the outdoors especially the sea.

    Paul is survived by his life partner and best friend Pat, four children: Amanda (Patrick and Sullivan), Emily (Sebastien), Jasper and Sterling, English family (Betty, Aunt Marion and others) and many friends and colleagues both on the island and around the world. 

    Many thanks to the Gabriola first responders, paramedics and Dr. Tracey Thorne for caring for Paul at the end of his life.

    Paul’s life ended way too soon and he will be very much missed by many people, likely most of all by his 11 year old son Sterling.

    As per Paul’s wishes, there is no funeral or service planned at this time, but a celebration of life will be held at date still to be decided.

  • Margaret “Pegi” Coleman

    Margaret “Pegi” Coleman

    1926-2015

    Gabriola lost one of its most elegant hostesses and beloved residents when Pegi Coleman passed away in late-August. Sympathy cards now line the home she built and shared with her husband John, fondly recalling memories of black-tie cocktail parties, elegant, and casual dinners, as well as the ongoing, informal music jam sessions that take place there, every Friday during the summer.

    She lived a life of challenges, stark contrasts and adventures, always in impeccable style and never without a touch of class. The only child of a Welsh coal-miner, Pegi survived the London blitz, climbing out of air raid shelters to apprentice in European salons, earning the status of a certified Couture. She first married a teacher and they lived aboard an elaborate houseboat and owned a traditional English Pub, before emigrating to rural northern Saskatchewan, into a house with no running water or electricity, raising three children there, in Manitoba, and at the Air Force base in Cold Lake, Alberta. Divorced, with children, she opened her own award-winning salon in Calgary, before heading high-end woman’s fashion departments at Woodward’s, in that city and later, in Nanaimo.

    Like so many of her fellow Gabriolans, she first vacationed here, fell in love with the Island, and vowed to return. She became a full-time resident in 1980 and spent 35 happy years enjoying the natural beauty and good company in the local community, extending a warm and well-known welcome at the Coleman home, sharing ideas for fashion and decoration, a love of oil painting, reading, and occasionally, a good Scotch, as well.

    Pegi was predeceased by her son, Mark, and daughter, Shelly, and is survived by her daughter, Selena, seven grand-children and husband, John Coleman. 

    Her family is holding a small private funeral, and is planning a celebration of her life, later in the year.

  • John Higgins

    John Higgins

    Oct 14, 1940 - July 31, 2015

    Our hearts are heavy as John leaves to experience the next dimension. John lived life as his own man to the end. He inspired so many to be more than what they thought they could be.

    He leaves his wife, Jan, daughters Kathleen Higgins of Calgary, Cindy Gordon of Victoria and Kristina Higgins of Boston, USA, grandchildren Rachel and Andrew Gordon, stepdaughters Elizabeth Traer, Janice Hernandez, stepsons Peter and David Provan. His extended family and wide circle of friends across Canada, the USA and Europe will grieve his passing, but please wish John bon voyage as he starts on this the next great adventure.

    Thanks to the palliative care team of Moog House and Dr. Barkhuisen for their help and care.

    No service at John’s request...just take a moment to remember your time with him. Drink a little whiskey and sing a little Willie or Waylon, Gordon or Ian or maybe even some Leonard to bring back memories of good times together.

     

  • Mary Evelyn Shepherd (nee Beaton)

    May 19, 1941 – July 16, 2015

    Mary passed away peacefully in her sleep with her husband Bruce always close by her side. Mary was born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, and later moved to Churchill, Manitoba, where she met and married Christopher (Bruce) Shepherd. It was here their son Christopher Ryan Shepherd was born. Bruce was in the RCN which meant home was wherever he was stationed at the time. 

    Mary and Bruce finally settled on Gabriola Island which is where their son, grandson and daughter-in-law resided. 

    Mary was an accomplished piper whose music will be missed. She loved island life and loved to spend her days outside gardening and, for those rainy days, she would turn to her other love which was painting. Many people would know Mary from GIRO, as she loved to go and poke around every Wednesday and Saturday because you never know when you might find that perfect treasure. Mary is predeceased by her parents Alex and Florence Beaton and her grandson Christopher (John) Shepherd. 

    She is survived and will be dearly missed by her son Christopher Ryan Shepherd /daughter-in-law Lenora (nee LeMaitre) and her husband of 49 years, Bruce Shepherd. 

    Many thanks to Dr. Tracey Thorne and the staff at the Medical Centre on Gabriola and to the doctors and staff at the Nanaimo Cancer Clinic. 

    Special thanks to Terri Stalberg RN, home care nurse. 

    Rest in peace my love. 

  • Christopher (Kip) Plant

    Christopher (Kip) Plant

    Christopher (Kip) Plant, 65, cofounder of New Society Publishers (Canada), passed away peacefully on Friday June 26, 2015, in Nanaimo BC, after courageously living with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and Multiple System Atrophy for the past 9 years. 

    Kip was publisher of New Society Publishers (Canada) until his retirement in 2013.

    Kip is survived by his soul mate and loving wife Judith Plant, and will be forever missed by his family Julie Raddysh (Sandy) and grandchildren Benjamin, Thomas and Hannah; Shannon Dubroy (Ken) and grandchildren Samantha, Connor and Paige; and Will Dubroy (Julia) and grandchildren Isis, Emma and Arya.

    Kip was born to Patricia and Jack Plant in Birmingham, England in 1950. He leaves behind two brothers; he will be sadly missed by his brothers Peter Plant (Sue) and nieces and nephews Robin, Kate, Owen and Jo; and Nick Plant (Sue), and nieces Rebecca, Laura and Sophie.

    Kip dedicated his early life to social justice movements. He organized the first Nuclear Free and Independent South Pacific conference. He worked tirelessly for the independence movement in Vanuatu, working closely with Father Walter Lini, who later became Vanuatu’s first prime minster. Kip attended Simon Fraser University where he completed his Masters degree in Communications and met the love of his life, Judith. They were married on May 7, 1979 in Vancouver BC, and together their passion for a more just and sustainable world grew. In 1996 they incorporated New Society Publishers in Canada, beginning a legacy that will forever carry on Kip’s dream of giving a voice for activists and providing tools to change the world.

    The extended family of New Society Publishers will dearly miss his amazing mind and sense of humour.  He has been an inspiration to so many, and the publishing work he did and cared so passionately about continues.

    A Celebration of Life was held on Friday July 6, 2015. The outpouring of support and love from family, the Gabriola community and from publishing colleagues was tremendous -- a truly amazing celebration for a wonderful man who lived a short but powerful life. In lieu of flowers or cards, please consider instead a donation in Kip Plant’s name to GERTIE, Gabriola’s Community Bus Service: www.gabriolacommunitybus.com  or gabriolacommunitybus@gmail.com.