• Muriel Boulton (nee Kyle)

    Muriel Boulton (nee Kyle)

    Oct. 25, 1926 - Nov. 20, 2018

    Muriel Boulton passed away November 20th with her family by her side, after a short battle with cancer. She will be dearly missed by her husband Nelder and daughters: Molly Cameron (Kevin) of Bradford, Ontario and Laura of Gabriola, and her 3 granddaughters Emma, Bronwyn and Ruby.

    She was born in 1926 on the farm of her parents, Glen and Agnes Kyle, near Dunkirk, Saskatchewan and was the 6th of 7 children. In 1945 she moved to BC, and in 1953 graduated from the Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing. After graduation she travelled and worked in Hong Kong, London and New York. She returned to BC in 1962. In 1966 she married Nelder Boulton and began life on Gabriola Island where they raised 2 daughters.

    Over the years she volunteered with various organizations including the Gabriola Museum, Meals on Wheels and GIRO. She enjoyed many activities including yoga, meditation, reading and any crossword that she encountered. Travel brought adventure into her life with many trips taken throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

    She will be missed by friends and family. At her request, there will be no service.

  • Randy Warren Nicifore

    Randy Warren Nicifore

    Jan. 18, 1952 – Nov. 23, 2018

    With broken hearts we announce the untimely death of Randy Warren Nicifore, who lost his battle with cancer on Nov. 23rd. 

    Randy was pre-deceased by his father, Frank Nicifore, his mother Moneca Tayler, his step-mother Linda Gee, and his cousin/brother-of-the-heart, Brian Portfors. 

    He leaves behind the love of his life Chris Bowers, his sister Diane Wellman (Bill), step-sister Angela Colabella (Dom), step-brother Michael Gee (Kim), sister-in-law Jacquie Leitch (Kevin Murphy), mother-in-law Muriel Wiens, nephews Stephen and Noah, nieces Maya, Emily, and Niamh and brothers-from-other-mothers Doug (Loren), and Cal (Elaine). 

    He also leaves behind special aunts and uncles, numerous cousins, and many cherished friends.  

    Randy was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta and attended school there. 

    He left Calgary shortly after high school to travel abroad, and had many adventures along the way.

    Upon returning to Canada, he lived in Victoria, Vancouver, and Calgary before settling on Gabriola Island in 1995.

    Randy’s wealth was measured by the love of his family and many friends.

    The exemplar of a “people-person”, his superpower was engagement. He had no time for superficial relationships, and if necessary was prepared to cajole everyone he met until they responded to him – even if it just meant trading good-natured insults.

    He adored his nieces and nephews, and filled their hearts with the assurance of his eternal love and support.

    A born artist, Randy brought that sensibility and creativity to his work as a contractor – especially to his commitment to designing and building “small perfect buildings”.

    He was well-respected by everyone in his family and the community. He had an innate sense of justice, a great sense of humour, and a wealth of knowledge about living and loving.

    Thanks are owed to everyone who helped to support Randy and Chris during Randy’s illness.

    So thanks are extended to those who brought food, checked in on a regular basis, and offered hugs to Chris while she was out in the community; to Dr. Mackenzie for conducting the orchestra of intervention for Randy’s cancer and refusing to conduct a 10 minute medical practice; and to Jessica for her kindness and willingness to go the extra mile.

    Special thanks go to friends and neighbours: Cheryl and Mick, Laurie and Heather, and Rob and Patti, who made the road so much easier for Randy and his family in their walk towards Randy’s inexorable death.  

    There will be a celebration of life for Randy in the spring.

    In lieu of flowers please send donations to the SPCA.

  • Ted and Mike James

     “Brothers Forever, Gone Fishin”

    James, Ted (Edward Thomas) 

    Sept. 13, 1946 - Nov. 5, 2018

    Ted was born in  Port Alberni September 13, 1946 and passed away at the age of 72 in Nanaimo November 5, 2018.  

    The best memories of Ted will be from over 30 years at T & T Texaco on Gabriola Island.

    He loved his island life: helping others, driving the fuel, fire, tow trucks and ambulance and fixing all sorts of vehicles.

    He shared his life over many beers, hunting, fishing and enjoying friends.

    After a few years in Prince George he returned to Nanaimo to be with family.


    James, Mike (Michael Gerard)

    July 20, 1938 - Nov. 16, 2018

    Mike was born in Port Alberni July 20, 1938 and passed away at the age of 80 in Nanaimo November 16, 2018, days after his brother Ted.

    He worked 40 years between Queale Electronics and Gough Electric, was a devoted volunteer with the Catholic Church and choir, Knights of Columbus and is now Silent Key VE7 JME with the Nanaimo Amateur Radio Association.  Predeceased by wife Joan (nee Lindsay).  He leaves to mourn daughter Christine, sons David (Beckie), Brian (Joanne), grandchildren Nicholas (Heylee), Cody (Susan), Delaney and Cooper. 

    Ted and Mike were predeceased by parents Kit and Jerry James, baby sister Maria.  They’re survived by siblings Vic (Gail), Irene Ollenberger (Paul), Richard (Diane), Kathy Hobbis (Richard), Monica Murray (Allan), and Stephen (Helena).

    The family will honor Ted and Mike with a double interment in spring 2019.

    Sincere appreciation to caring and compassionate people.  Smiles, looks, deeds, words and actions are true gifts, thank you.

    Condolences at


  • Jocelyne Boulanger

    Jocelyne Boulanger

    Jocelyne Boulanger, a long-time resident of Gabriola Island, last week conceded her final debate in her four-year-long argument with cancer.

    A nurse, educator, artist, and  stalwart supporter of Gabriola’s Farmers’ Market, she was born in Ryland, Ontario. After she trained as a registered nurse, she moved to British Columbia and worked for seven years as an emergency room nurse at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

    Passionate about education, she was an instructor in the nursing department at Malaspina College, and rose to become Director of Nursing at the college while simultaneously earning her Masters’ Degree in Nursing. She also taught in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at the University of Victoria; created the province-wide curriculum for teaching Licenced Practical Nurses; and was an educational consultant to private institutions for many years.

    In what was perhaps her most satisfying work, she later became a home support worker on Gabriola Island, returning to what she considered the fundamentals of nursing: caring for people.

    Jocelyne was a vocal and feisty advocate for her French-Canadian culture, and relished speaking with friends and family in her native language.

    A talented watercolourist, she also built split-rail fences, shovelled concrete and was a pretty  good carpenter as well. She was also an active participant in the Gabriola Farmers’ Market, getting rave reviews for her mustards, chutneys and flavoured vinegars. She is survived by her extended family in Ontario and by her close friends Margaret, Joan, Laurie, Jan, Michael and Robbie.

    Waiting for her at the Rainbow Bridge are Cricket, Bonnie, Maggie, Molly, Lady, Caitlin and Missy.

    At her request, there will be no funeral or memorial services.


  • Virginia (Gini) Thompson nee Simmons

    Virginia (Gini) Thompson nee Simmons

    Dec. 2, 1931 - Nov. 4, 2018

    Gini was born in Valentine, Nebraska, on Dec. 2, 1931 and is survived by her adoring husband, Allan, two loving sons, Brent and Paul and four Grandchildren.  Gini was second youngest and was cherished by her seven siblings. 

    Gini loved her Island home, living life to the fullest; spending hours each day in her little garden, swimming and treasuring evening sunsets. 

    But it was Gini’s Faith that was foremost in her life as she shared her love for Jesus, and wasn’t afraid of being rebuked, alert to opportunities to share that love and the message of Salvation for eternal life through Christ. 

    After a very short illness, Gini passed peacefully, on November 4, 2018 with the assurance of that Saving Grace. 

    She will be deeply missed by her many loving friends and family.

  • Brian Hoag

    Brian Hoag

    It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Brian Michael Hoag on Sept. 27, 2018. 

    Brian is survived by his loving wife Dianne (nee Warner), his beloved sons Ian (Deb) and David (Moon Hee) and his devoted sister Shirley and brother Bill. He was predeceased by his parents June and Wilfred Hoag.

    Brian was born and raised in Toronto and spent 27 years in Guelph Ontario. 

    He truly enjoyed his job with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and on retirement, moved to beautiful Gabriola Island.

    He was a man with a generous heart and had a great love of birds, animals, and nature. His family, reading books, bird carving, writing, and taking photographs were his joys.

    He will be kept close in our hearts and always cherished.

    Donations in Brian’s name may be made to

  • HawkOwl (Moira Mulholland)

    HawkOwl (Moira Mulholland)

    HawkOwl (Moira Mulholland) - born in 1927 before women were “persons” - died Oct 16th 2018.

    What a woman! A staunch feminist, never afraid to speak up for the underdog, human or not. 

    Outspoken, funny, generous, deeply curious and unaware that she touched and changed many lives. The creator of beautiful, varied sculptures, powerful and tender.

    HO’s chief joy was her being with four-footeds, going to enormous lengths to help each new one feel welcome and safe. Her resourcefulness was stunning, making furniture, clever systems for recycling without getting wet, making her own salves.

    And what an amazing life: drama school in England with Harold Pinter; studying the ancient Noh drama in Japan and acting, in Japanese, as well as becoming a celebrity on a TV English-teaching programme; teaching theatre at UBC till discovering inner work with Ben and Jock at Cold Mountain (before The Haven); teaching mask work at Kayte Summers’ and Anthony Holland’s theatre school in Vancouver and here at The Centre.. HO adored and was helped and loved up by her brother and sister-in-law, Ken and Marg, her niece Kathy, (her chief wonderful care-giver in her last weeks at home) and her partner Carolyn, and devoted nephews Michael and Terry and their partners Dorothy and Diane.

    HawkOwl, you will be missed by many more of us than you believed possible.

    A small private celebration will be held at a later date.

  • Mike Johanson

    Mike Johanson

    Mar. 6, 1962 - Oct. 24, 2018

    Mike was a loving father, husband, brother and friend. 

    He will be forever remembered by his wife Leona of 24 years, daughters Stormy, Sabina, Winter, son Dakota, brother Steve and uncle Edward. 

    Mike was born in Quesnel and spent his childhood in Dawson creek. 

    He called many places home before he and his young family moved to their home on Gabriola in 2003. Mike was a talented carpenter who built, renovated and repaired island homes. 

    Many island residents may remember Mike and his tie dyed shirts during the time he was co-owner and operator of Handy Dad’s Construction. 

    While his kids were young Mike spent time coaching them in the Gabriola Youth Baseball league. He also spent many years playing softball on the island, and the Four Twenties baseball team was honored to call Mike (aka “yellowpants”) a teammate. He was in his element spending time fishing and enjoying the outdoors with his friends and family. 

    A private Celebration of life for Mike will be announced to friends and family at a later date.

  • Mervyn O’Donnell-Sweeney

    Mervyn O’Donnell-Sweeney

    Oct. 13, 1943 - Oct 13, 2018


    It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Mervyn O’Donnell-Sweeney after a lengthy illness. Merv died on his 75th birthday as he wanted…in his own home surrounded by his family at a time of his own choosing.

    He is survived by Annette, his wife of 46 years; two sons David and John; two daughters, Alanna and Patricia and two grandsons Connor and Hayden. Also grieving his loss are his two sisters, Daphne in Ottawa and Avryl in England, numerous nieces and nephews and a large contingent of in-laws that loved him . He is predeceased by his parents Charles and Rosaleen O’Donnell-Sweeney and his brother Aiden.

    Merv was born in Dublin, Ireland on October 13, 1943 and moved to Canada with his mother in 1957 at the age of thirteen. He attended school in Toronto; married his first wife Sue at a young age and began a career with McLean Hunter in the advertising business. David was born in Toronto, the family moved to Vancouver and a second son, John was born in 1968. The marriage ended in 1971. 

    In 1972 Merv met Annette when they were both attending Vancouver City College; Merv as a photography student; Annette in journalism. It was to be the beginning of a lifelong melding of spirits. They were soul mates from their first meeting who fed on each others energy, respected each others strengths and learned to work together to achieve everything they ever had. 

    Before moving to Gabriola Island in 1974 Merv worked in the advertising department of newspapers in Prince George, Campbell River and Vancouver. Merv and Annette published a tourist magazine (The North Island Traveller), that was sold on the BC Ferries and jointly produced a newsletter for the BC Association of Non- Status Indians in Vancouver. 

    A chance visit to Gabriola ended up being the ticket to paradise for the couple. For fun, they made a very low ball offer on a small cottage on Harrison Way. The offer was accepted and from that day on their roots on Gabriola began to grow. Every weekend they made the commute from Vancouver to their little cottage and moved here permanently in 1974.

    They knew they would have to find a way to make a living and so began a lifetime of entrepreneurial enterprises that would keep them on Gabriola for the rest of Merv’s life. First the couple managed to obtain a fish processing licence and set up a salmon smoking operation in the basement of their house. 

    When the 8’ x 10’ snack bar at the ferry came up for sale, they managed to scratch together the money to purchase it and operated it for approximately a year and a half. Negotiations began with the Coates family to find a new location and the Sweeneys were given the opportunity to lease and renovate the house behind the snack bar. 

    That began the adventure which was The Beanery Restaurant. It ran as a busy family restaurant for 10 years. In 1984 the restaurant was converted to The White Hart Pub which they ran for six more years before selling it in 1990. Five years later the Sweeneys changed directions and built and operated the Wild Rose Garden Centre for 11 years.

    Merv had a tremendous sense of humour and an adventurous spirit which led him to many interesting experiences over the years. Against all good advice he plowed forward into all sorts of adventures with a combination of intuition, fearless determination, a lot of hard work and a good dose of learning by doing.

    Following the sale of the garden centre The Sweeney’s began a new adventure, driving to Mexico and living in their camper van for the winter . They were lucky to do that for eight years before Merv’s illness made that long drive impossible.

    Merv loved to make people laugh. Throughout his final journey he lightened the burden for every person he came into contact with. His quick and sassy Irish wit stayed with him right up to the end. 

    He was a born entrepreneur but he always claimed he was a poet at heart. He used his wonderful way with words to express himself in letters and small poems that are treasured by those who were lucky enough to receive them.

    Nothing gave him greater satisfaction and contentment than his home and his garden. Having a stable home base and the means to keep his children and friends loaded up with fresh food from the garden gave him such joy. 

    He spent hours tending the soil, weeding, breathing in the fresh air and appreciating the good fortune that brought him here to Gabriola almost 45 years ago.

    Merv believed strongly that everyone wanted and deserved the same things in life …food, shelter, respect and mostly love. 

     He was an exemplary husband who held no clearly defined ideas about the roles that make a marriage work. He never parceled responsibilities into categories like “men’s work” and “woman’s work”. Playing three hands of poker to determine who did what, was a long standing tradition that amused many people. He often told people the secret to having a long and happy marriage was having a sense of humour and the willingness of both partners to do 75% of the work. 

    Although he had such an easy and engaging way with people Merv was a very private person. He was seldom seen at social gathering places on the Island. An afternoon beer with friends at the White Hart( aka Skol Pub) was one of the few excursions he made into Gabriola’s social scene. His idea of entertainment was much more centered around good friends enjoying good food together and the sounds of laughter filling the room.

     He was a kind and sensitive man all of his life. He could easily be brought to tears by hearing some of his favorite music. He touched the lives of so many people with small words of encouragement and acts of kindness. 

    Merv was a brave man. The courage he showed during the last two years since he accepted his inevitable end was an inspiration to all who knew him. His ability to accept his fate and to embrace every moment that was left to him with such dignity and incredible good spirit was a huge comfort . When it became clear to him that he was no longer able to physically handle so much of the work that had kept him busy over his lifetime he simply accepted that as his new reality. He contributed in any small way he could and that made him happy.

     He fought a long and valiant fight, holding on to every good moment he could capture and he will be forever missed.

    There will be a celebration of his life at The Skol Pub on Sunday, November 4 at 3:00. Please come and share stories.

  • Nancy Lea Crozier

    Nancy Lea Crozier

    Mar. 9, 1953 - Sept. 1, 2018

    Nancy passed away peacefully at her home on Gabriola Island surrounded by her family and friends.

    She is predeceased by her parents Lois and James Crozier, brother William Arthur, and sister Judith Marion.

    Nancy is survived by her son Jack Clancy, daughter Galena Clancy, and her dog Clancy, brothers Kenneth (Veronica), Richard (Linda), Robert Scott, and sister-in-law Chris, nieces and nephews Jenness (Justin), Mitchell, Aliesha, Joanna (Nic), Kelsey (Jessie), Graham, Hayley (Tom), Michael (Daniela), Jennifer, and Tom, great nieces and nephews Piper, Harlin, Arya, and Cedar.

    Nancy has asked that we have a party and enjoy life in her honour. The party will be held at The Gabriola Community Hall at 2200 South Road on Saturday September 15 from 4pm-8pm. 

    Nancy was an accomplished sculptor as well as an impassioned activist and has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Mary Frances Mossop Vocational School

    Special thank you goes to Nancy’s compassionate and generous care team Jenness and Cindy, Dr. Claire Gibbs, Dr. Maciek Mierzewski, Dr. Francois Bosman, Simon Ellis (Island Pharmacy), the Gabriola home care nurses, Dr. W. Mark Wigmore and all the health care providers at NRGH.