Obituaries

  • Ryan William Cheek

    Ryan William Cheek

    On Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 Ryan William Cheek husband, father, son and brother, passed away suddenly peacefully in his sleep at the age of 30 years. 

    Ryan will be forever remembered by his wife Meghan, and their precious children, Savanah and Austin, by his parents John and Rose Cheek, and by his brother Corey (Crystal). 

    Ryan will also be forever remembered by his niece, extended family and dear friends.

    A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, December 13th from 1:00pm to 3:00pm at the Coast Bastion Hotel in the Benson Room - 11 Bastion Street, Nanaimo, BC, V9R 6E4.

  • Krell, Lydia Marie Therese (Terry)

    It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Terry Krell (nee Lemieux) on November 23, 2014 at the age of 87. 

    Terry passed away peacefully surrounded by family members at Nanaimo Regional hospital. Predeceased by her husband Ted (1996) and brother George and sister Helen. She is survived by her children Darcy (Linda), Bob (Sandra), Darrell (Vicki), and Rod (Annette), 10 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren, her sisters Bernice, Cecilia, and Joan, and many other family and friends.

    Terry enjoyed living life to the fullest as a longtime resident of Gabriola, whether it was bridge, bingo, Legion or church activities, and spending time with her family.

    A celebration of Terry’s life will take place on Saturday, December 13, 2014 at 2pm at the Gabriola Fellowship Church, 775 Church Road, Gabriola Island, BC.

    A special thanks to the Gabriola Fellowship Church Ladies’ Auxiliary for assisting with the reception.

    In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the BC Heart and Stroke Foundation in Terry’s memory.

    A loving mother, wife, siter, aunt, grandmother and great-grandmother, we will miss you dearly.

  • Geertruida Hendrieka (née van Oosten) Ruitenbeek

    Geertruida Hendrieka (née van Oosten) Ruitenbeek

    1932-2014

    Ruitenbeek, Geertruida Hendrieka (née van Oosten) 1932-2014, known also as Truusje in Holland and Tricia in Canada. Beloved wife of John Watts, mother of Annette and Jack (Cindy), grandmother of Nicolas, Tricia died at Saanich Peninsula Hospital on 22 November from complications associated with Alzheimer’s. She was predeceased by her brothers Henk, Bert, and Gert, by her sister Jopie, and by her first husband Gustaaf.

    Truusje was born in Amersfoort, Holland, where she grew up and lived through a war-torn Europe that she remembered to her final days. Her strong love of family, care for the vulnerable, and beliefs in personal freedoms were nurtured through her experiences in her country of birth. There she met her first husband, Gus, and they set their eyes on a new life in Canada with infant Jack in her arms. Emigrating to Vancouver in 1959, they soon moved to Calgary where Annette was born and their young family flourished. She raised her children to respect others, to work hard, to know and be proud of their past, and to look forward to the future. She also made sure they could cook. She became a proud Canadian citizen in 1964, remarking that while she was Dutch by birth, she was Canadian by choice. Her Canadian friends knew her initially as Trudy but she eventually became Tricia as she wanted a name that rang true to her Dutch roots. She saw great value in raising her family in a society that embraced personal freedoms, and herself fought quietly and relentlessly for women’s rights. In addition to raising her family, she worked initially as a cook while taking English lessons, and later became a qualified bookkeeper and worked as such until her children left home.

    While planning her retirement, she found herself suddenly and unexpectedly widowed in 1986, but vowed to continue her dream to settle in coastal BC. She threw her effort and passion for gardening, design and decorating into completing her retirement home on Gabriola Island, where she moved in 1987. For her, this was a test of her independent spirit, and she took it on with gusto, meeting new friends and facing the challenges of a new life. One of those new friends was John, and she fondly recalled how he wooed her through planting a small sequoia tree in her front yard on Gabriola. Believing she found her soul-mate, she moved once again in 1992 - this time to their new home in Brentwood Bay. Tricia and John’s love grew with each year, as they shared their passion for travel, the outdoors, and their families. With John, she quietly and discreetly rediscovered her Christianity: enjoying its celebrations, following its social traditions, and continuing to live its core principles. Their annual visits to warmer destinations helped her through the frailties of aging, but she was always happy to come home to BC. To her last days, she remained as active as she could and enjoyed her walks and outings around Saanich Peninsula.

    Through her struggles with Alzheimer’s, Tricia’s good nature, humour, and love for her family has always shone through. While language and communication became harder for her, her most memorable words to all of those around her remained part of her vocabulary to her final breaths: “mijn schatje” ... “my dearest”. To Tricia, to Mama, and to Granny ... you will always be remembered as our dearest. We love you. And know that your sequoia still stands strong on Gabriola.

    The family thanks the staff and management of Sluggett House in Brentwood Bay who have taken such good care of Tricia for the past two years. Your dedication, professionalism, and personal touch provided an enjoyable and safe environment for Tricia in which to live. Loving and timely transfer was provided to Saanich Peninsula Hospital where quality care eased her last days.

    The family will host a celebration of life in her honour at a date to be determined in early 2015. If desired, donations may be made to Alzheimer Society of Canada [www.alzheimer.ca] or to the seasonal charity of your choice.

  • Kenneth Douglas Wathen

    Kenneth Douglas Wathen

    It is with heavy hearts that the family of Ken announces his passing on November 5th, 2014 at the age of 72. 

    Ken leaves behind his best friend and loving wife Helen of 48 years, his beloved daughter Kristy, son-in-law Alessandro and grandson Leonardo Douglas.  Ken will be sadly missed by family and friends in British Colombia, Ontario and England. 

    Ken was born in the seaside town of Portsmouth, England.   His father Harold Douglas Wathen served 12 years in the Royal Navy (including during WWII) hence it was natural for Ken to dream of retiring next to the sea.  

    Spending most of his life living and working in Oakville, Ontario in the automotive industry Ken’s true passion was creating, building and renovating.  His hobbies included gardening, classic movies, music and fishing.  

    He was a gentle, hardworking and giving person always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need.  Ken gave generously of his time to help construction of the Gabriola Medical Clinic and enjoyed meeting and working with the other volunteers.  His talent and handiwork can be seen in numerous projects at the clinic and in the family homes he renovated over the years.   

    The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to Dr. Tracy Thorne at the Gabriola Medical Clinic for her exemplary care, the nurses and doctors at the NRGH Palliative Care Unit and our very good friend Irene Kis, who throughout our most difficult journey was our guardian angel and calming presence. Also neighbours Shirley, Verna, Mike, Tim, Erica and Marie for their tremendous support. 

    A celebration of life is planned for 2015.  

  • Olivene Eleanor Knibbs

    Olivene Eleanor Knibbs

    1919-2014

    It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Olivene Eleanor Knibbs.

    Olivene, a long-time resident of Gabriola Island, passed away peacefully in her 96th year on September 19.

    Olivene was born in southern Manitoba, on her grandfather’s homestead, in 1919. She moved to the city of Winnipeg in her late teens. She married her husband Lloyd there in 1945. They immediately moved to Vancouver.

    In Vancouver and Richmond, for 30 years, they worked and raised a family. In 1971 Olivene and her husband Lloyd relocated to Gabriola Island.

    While here on Gabriola, Olivene became active in numerous community groups; among them the Gabriola Crafts Club and the Gabriola Golf Club (charter member and board member). Olivene was an avid flower gardener, handwork enthusiast and member of the United Church congregation.

    Olivene is predeceased by her husband Lloyd and survived by her daughter Karen, son Wayne, three grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, five sisters and two brothers.

    A memorial reception will be held for her on November 9 at 12:30 p.m. at the Coast Bastion Hotel.        

  • Buff Germaine Savo

    Buff Germaine Savo

    Buff Germaine Savo left this vale of tears on July 11, 2014, after a life-long struggle with melancholia. Buff lived and concluded her life on her own terms. Her younger brother Marco survives her. 

    She is preceded in death by both of her parents: Joan Savo, a renowned artist in California who died in 1992 and George B. Savo, beloved Pacific Grove High School teacher (Social Studies and International Relations) who died in 1993 of a broken heart after the loss of his wife. 

    Buff shared many attributes of both of her parents: she earned her degree as an elementary teacher at Simon Fraser University, and as a lifelong artist, she worked first in photography and graphic art and later as a jewellery maker. A lover of dogs and humanity, Buff leaves behind a large circle of friends ranging from California to British Columbia. To know Buff was a rare experience: she was deeply intense, loyal in her friendships and often was a lifelong correspondent with those privileged to know her. Buff was a deep thinker with a sharp sense of humour. Her analysis of life and the human condition was penetrating, eloquent and insightful. She was free to offer her advice and always supportive of those with needs greater than her own. Her remains will join those of her parents. 

    Please send a message to rememberbuffgermainesavo@gmail.com to share photos and stories of adventures with Buff. A memorial book will be compiled with all submissions. 

  • Dr. Robert Charles Rhodes

    Dr. Robert Charles Rhodes

    Aug. 7, 1920 - July 15, 2014

    Dr. Bob Rhodes passed away peacefully at Duffering Centre in Nanaimo, weeks short of his 94th birthday. Bob will be greatly missed by Jean, his wife of 45 years; his children Arlene Trustham (Sohlea), Cahterine Morrise, Rob, Bruce (Debbie), Cam (Lisa) and Priscilla St. Jean, 20 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren and his brother Maurice. Bob’s large extended family included nieces and nephews and Anne, George, Agnes and Sandy McDonald.

    Bob was born and raised in New Westminster with his four brothers Ernie, Norm, Hubert andMaurice. He served in the Canadian Army, serving in the 12th Light Field Ambulance Corps, 4th Armoured Division. Bob completed pre-med at the university and graduated from University of Toronto Medical School in 1953. he opened his practice in Haney in 1955. One of only eight doctors when Maple Ridge’s first hospital opened in 1958, he took an active role in the operation of the hospital, serving two terms as Chief of Staff. He also contributed to the community as the President of the Lions’ Club, first President of the Maple Ridge Foundation (1976-82) and an active member of the Haney United Church.

    In addition to medicine, Bob’s other passion in life was gardening. A past president of the Vancouver Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, he was known for his work in plant propogation. In 1984, Bob and Jean retired to Gabriola, where he continued to enjoy gardening.

    Bob will be fondly remembered by his family and wide circle of friends.

    A celebration of Bob’s life will be held on Aug. 7 at 2pm at the Gabriola United Church, 2600 South Road. A gathering will follow. Donations in Bob’s memory can be made to the Maple Ridge Foundation R.C. Rhodes Scholarship Fund. PO Box 370, Maple Ridge BC, V2X8K9

  • Wayne James Binnie

    Wayne James Binnie

    Dec. 24, 1954 - June 10, 2014

    James died peacefully in Palliative Care in Nanaimo with his family by his side. He will be greatly missed by his loving mother, Mary Tougas, stepfather Bruce Taylor of Gabriola Island; children Jesse James Grieder and Breanna Marie Grieder; brothers Brent (Margaret) of Medicine Hat AB; David (Stephanie) of Braeside Ontario; and sister Nancy (Andrew Fytche) of Ottawa Ontario; and former wife Claudia Scacchi

    James was an outdoorsman, musician and writer. He was interested in all things esoteric and beyond the ordinary. 

    A tree-planter by profession, he later worked in the Alberta oilfields and finished his working life on Gabriola at the Village Food Market. 

    He loved his four cats adn they were the companions of his last days.

    James fought cancer valiantly but lost the fight after three devastating years.

    A celebration of life with James’ family and friends will be held June 28 from 2 till 4pm at the Rollo Seniors’ Centre on Gabriola Island.

  • Edith Werner

    Edith Werner

    1928 – 2014

    Edith Werner died peacefully while in palliative care just before midnight on May 21, 2014. 

    Born in Den Haag, Nederland, on December 30, 1928, to Jacob Meijer and Archangela Ottolini, she led a varied and interesting life. Growing up as the fourth of five children, she experienced the Depression, entered her teens during WWII, and survived the “Hunger Winter” of 1944. Her stories of the Stortstraat included both happy childhood memories of skipping games with friends, as well as those of darker times when her brothers were picked up and sent to forced labour camps in Germany. As was typical of that time, she left school at the end of Grade 8 and took up a trade. Edith became an amazing seamstress, able to create anything from wedding dresses to theatre costumes using only a tape measure, her sewing machine and her hands. She lived in Switzerland as an au pair, in the Sudan in a house complete with a cook, gardener and houseboy, in a rustic house in rural Alberta without running water or an indoor toilet, finally ending up on Gabriola. Everywhere she went, everyone knew and loved Edith.

    No obituary about Edith would be complete without at least one story - and there is a book full of stories to tell. For any of you who have noticed the signature dents and duct tape on her car, here is her account of how she learned to drive. When she arrived in Canada, she and my father landed at Pier 21, took the train to Montreal where they had a layover before going to their final destination of Calgary. They decided to take turns looking after their luggage so they each could have a chance to explore a bit. What amazed Edith was the number of cars, but even more amazing was the fact that there were women driving some of them. She decided then that she was going to do the same. My dad, being a European man of the 1950s didn’t really see the need for a wife with a driver’s licence, but “no one was Edith’s boss.” Dad worked nights, so while he was sleeping during the day, she would bundle me into the back seat and head off down the gravel roads of Alberta to give herself some practice. She told of going to her friend’s place, trying to roll down the window to wave hello and forgetting to brake. She missed running into the house by a hair. Mom drove without a licence for nearly a decade, being stopped repeatedly by the police, until finally the local RCMP confiscated the car. How did she get away with no licence for so long? Well, Edith could charm monkeys out of the trees. She would smile and laugh and talk in her cute accent, and if that didn’t work, she could cry at will. 

    Edith was a rich, varied and complex person with an equally rich, varied and complex life. A philosopher, humanist, socialist and proclaimed atheist who was constantly drawn to religion, she was also a clown and the life of a party, especially if she had a drink. She was gifted with an amazing mind, was highly musical and was a pretty good swimmer in her day. Edith was predeceased by her parents, her sister, Riet (Maria Csanyi-Meijer), her brothers Loek (Louis Meijer) and Joop (Johan Meijer), and her husband, Arthur Werner. She leaves behind a grandson, John McCollum (Gabriola), two daughters, Jane Krul (Gary McCollum), and Saskia Krul (France), a step-daughter, Susan Werner (England), as well as her sister, Archangela Veen-Meijer (Nederland), and several nieces and nephews. She is also survived by the father of her children, Kees Krul, and of course, many dear friends.

    I’d like to thank this community for the love and support they gave Edith during this final year of her life. She was able to live in her home until the end, but only due to the combined efforts of a whole lot of people. 

    They say it takes a community to raise a child, but it also takes one to help someone die a decent death. In no particular order, and please forgive me for any unintentional omissions, my heartfelt thanks to:

    The staff at the Palliative Care Unit at NRGH for facilitating a peaceful passing;

    Dr. Mackenzie and his two compassionate receptionists, Jessica and Caroline;

    The Home Support team who cared for her three times a day for nearly a year - these women are truly, truly wonderful;

    The Gabriola Home Support nurses for their advice and assistance;

    Simon and his team at the pharmacy for their professional and caring service;

    Our skillful and empathetic team of ambulance attendants who come out any time of the day or night;

    The lovely people at PHC who regularly brought soup and best wishes;

    The amazing friends who stayed overnight the past several months - Bernardus, Thom, Vicki, Jody and Carol;

    Robert, Paul and David for the kindness and love they showered on Edith at her 85th birthday party – as well as all the other times;

    The many members of our community who visited her, took her for coffee, asked about her and sent their love over the past 10 months, and to those of you who have given me your support and kind words.

    We couldn’t have done this without you.

    Mom always said she was going to make a tape for her funeral. I was supposed to play it and she would say, “Ah ha! You thought I was dead!” Since I can’t seem to find that tape, I am taking this as an omen. There will be no service, but I am absolutely certain there are many, many ways a person can celebrate her life. Go to a play, listen to some opera, drive out to Berry Point and rejoice in how “beeeuuwtiful” it is, eat something covered in whipped cream, enjoy a “lekkere kopje koffee,” burst into spontaneous song, make a donation to the Commons, PHC or the NDP, or do something that brings you joy and pleasure. She’d think any of those things were wonderful.

    Dag lieve Moe, Jane Krul

    “Keep the sunny side up!”

  • Ronald Lynn Watts

    Mar. 30, 1940 - Apr. 18, 2014

    Ron passed away peacefully in his 75th year at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital after a short illness. He is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Patricia, his brother Brian (Lee), niece and nephew Janna and Jesse. Ron and Pat retired to Gabriola Island in 1997 from St. Albert, Alberta to enjoy the simple and beautiful island life. Ron will be remembered with much love as a truly gentle man who brought a smile to everyone he met.

    No service by request. Please make a donation to the charity of your choice in Ron’s memory.