• Margaret McCollum

    Margaret McCollum

    January 18, 1922 – September 17, 2017

    The family of Marg McCollum are sad to announce the death of our beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who left us in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, September 17.

    Born as Elvyn Emily Osolin, but always known as Marg or Margie, our mom led a long, full and interesting life. She was born in Winnipeg and came from pioneering stock, Latvian immigrants who homesteaded near Lac Du Bonnet, Manitoba. Her early years weren’t always easy. Her father left the family when she was very young, and Marg talked of feeling lonely because of the long hours her mother was forced to work. Eventually her mom, Selma, met John (Jack) Beckman, the man that Marg would call Dad for the rest of her life. Not able to divorce, Jack changed his last name to Osolin and the family moved to Lac Isle, Alberta, to allow Selma and Jack to live together as man and wife.

    The Depression was hard on the family and Marg experienced poverty in a way that is hard to imagine today—the kind of poor where her parents were in such deep debt to the doctor that it took them years to pay it back—the kind of poor where they couldn’t afford to bury a deceased child until the ground thawed in the spring. Like many people who survived the Depression, Marg came away from that time knowing what a dollar was worth and how to take care of it. She also understood what it meant to have a publicly-funded medical system.

    Always bright and good with numbers, when Marg finished school she moved to Edmonton and trained as a bookkeeper. When World War II broke out, career options expanded for women and Marg was featured in the Edmonton Journal as one of the first of three women hired to work at the post office. 

    In 1943, she married Ken McCollum who was serving as a flight engineer in the RCAF. After the war, she and Ken moved to Lac St. Anne where they ran a general store, gas station and post office. By this time, Marg had two very active little boys and she used to laugh when she talked about trying to keep an eye on Kevin and Don while still selling stamps, pumping gas and even cutting meat. As anyone who knows Kevin can attest, she had her work cut out for her.

    Marg’s husband, Ken, always wanted a farm of his own and in 1953 he found a quarter section of land on Gabriola being sold for back taxes. Marg, who was always game and never afraid of hard work, followed him with the two little boys and a new baby (Gary) in tow. When she arrived, there were two ferries per day, no electricity and the nearest neighbour was 3 km away. It was almost urban compared to some of the places where she’d grown up. She rolled up her sleeves, dug a big garden and got to it. That first summer she hand-pumped water, carried buckets into the big field on what is now Buttercup Road and then found out about Gabriola deer. Marg loved gardening, and till almost the end those “GD” deer drove her crazy. As her three boys grew up, she not only cared for them but she volunteered for 4H, was involved in the Women’s Institute and the Aggie Hall and picked salal to supplement the McCollum’s income. She also knew how to put a large pot of venison stew on the table and stand back while her boys ate.

    Once her boys were grown, Marg began a career in real estate as Gabriola’s first resident realtor. She was an ethical woman whose natural warmth and genuine interest in people led her to be very successful in her field. In 1981, Marg was Century 21’s top realtor in BC. Real estate also led her to an unexpected discovery. In the early 1970s, Marg was showing a couple of clients around Gabriola when they began chatting. They discovered they were all of Latvian ancestry and as the conversation progressed it became apparent that Marg’s clients knew her biological father and were able to give her his contact information. After over 50 years, she finally knew what had happened to her father. She was able to speak with him on the phone, but he died before they could meet. 

    In 1983, Marg lost her husband Ken. During this difficult time, her career and her grandchildren gave her focus. She also loved golf and was one of the founding members of the Gabriola Golf Club and, along with others, put up $12,000 and a whole lot of sweat equity to get the club started. 

    It was through the golf club that she met John Hood. It was giggles at first sight. They golfed and laughed and square danced and travelled at every opportunity, truly living life to the fullest. She was his “Margarita” and he treated her like a queen. In 1997, John passed away and Marg was widowed yet again.

    Well into her eighties, Marg continued to golf, garden and travel. In 2007, she moved to the Lion’s Garden Homes and was active as treasurer and was also on the Garden Committee. She missed her garden terribly when she first moved, but Marg was a social person, always loving a night of laughter and socializing with “the gang.” At the Lions, many of the gang members were right down the hall, and she rarely missed a chance to catch up at Happy Hour.

    During the past three months as Marg’s heart failed, she became increasingly worried about having to move off Gabriola, her home for nearly 65 years. The care and support she received from her neighbours at the Lions, the Gabriola Home Support and her family helped to keep her in our community and we are very grateful that she was able to stay here until the end. 

    Thanks also to Dr. Bosman and the ambulance crew for their professional services and their kindness to our mother during the last part of her life. 

    So that is the story of her life, but who was Margaret McCollum? Well, for Marg, it was all about family. Her strong and generous character formed the fabric of our family and in the words of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren she was:

    • inspirational, truly inspirational

    • loving

    • kind, generous and caring

    • had a great sense of humour

    • loyal, strong and dutiful to her family

    • a powerful force

    • persevering

    • stoic

    • fair

    • dynamic

    • determined

    • joyful!

    • hilarious

    • effervescent

    • loved a good joke

    • attentive

    • positive

    • stubborn

    • tactful

    • youthful

    • fair

    • Inclusive

    • Supportive

    • Understanding

    • she made you feel special

    And so ends an era. We have lost our remarkable mother, grandmother and great-grandmother but she’ll never be far away. She has left us a legacy of love, a deep and unwavering love that will continue to wrap all of us in its arms. And what a gift that is. 

    With deep gratitude and love Mom, 

    Your boys, Kevin, Don and Gary McCollum and their families.

  • Muriel Eileen Cramer

    Muriel Eileen Cramer

    Dec. 7, 1933 – May 24, 2017

    Muriel Cramer (nee McFaddin) of Gabriola Island, British Columbia passed away at 83 years of age. Muriel worked for many years as a lookout observer at the Hamilton Lookout with BC Forest Service in the Douglas Lake area. In the mid 1980’s Muriel and Wendell moved to Gabriola where they found their paradise. She loved Gabriola, where she spent many hours looking out over the  ocean watching birds and wildlife. They were members of the Gabriola Golf Course for several years. Family and friends admired her artistic talents including knitting and crocheting. Muriel was predeceased by her husband Wendell, her daughter Patricia and sister Pat. She is survived by her brother John, sister Jean, her daughter Naomi, son Don, two grandchildren and close friend Linda.

    Muriel expressed her wishes for her remains in a poem:

    After I’m Gone

    Sing happy songs when I’m “the late”,

    No service hold for me.

    My body to research donate.

    These eyes again may see.

    When they have taken all they wish

    Burn what remains of me

    And cast my ashes to the fish,

    So I may rest at sea.

    From Gabriola let me waft

    And leave my burial jar.

    I shall be watching from aloft,

    As Heaven can’t be far.

    Muriel E. Cramer, 1987

    Memorial donations in honour of Muriel may be made to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada.

    A remembrance will be observed at a later date, for family and close friends of both Muriel and Wendell.

  • Wendy Ellen Elizabeth Harrison

    Wendy Ellen Elizabeth Harrison

    Apr. 29, 1957 - Aug. 29, 2017

    Wendy Ellen Elizabeth Harrison passed away peacefully August 29, 2017 at the Nanaimo Regional Hospital.

    Born April 29, 1957 to Thomas Harrison and Colleen Harrison-Bocskay (Nickerson).

    Wendy married Bruno Dragani September 24, 1988 and lived her great life travelling, gardening and cooking amazing food.

    Wendy will be lovingly remembered by her husband (Bruno), mother (Colleen), brother (Kevin) her extended family and many dear friends. Wendy was predeceased by her father (Thomas) and sister (Kim). 

    A celebration of Wendy’s life will be held 4pm – 5:30pm on September 8 at the Nanaimo Museum, 100 Museum Way.

    Memorial donations can be made to the Red Cross or Canadian Cancer Society.

  • James Thorston (Thor) Simrose

    James Thorston (Thor) Simrose

    Mar. 11 1955 – Aug. 8 2017

    We are deeply saddened to announce that Thor Simrose passed away unexpectedly on August 8, 2017 while doing the work he loved on Gabriola Island. 

    Thor was 62 years old and leaves behind his two granddaughters (Cadence and Meka), two daughters (Michelle and Shauna), wife (Sandy), mother (Lorraine) and brother (John). 

    He was predeceased by his sister (Eileen) and father (Martin). 

    Thor was an avid hunter and fisherman who was born in Quesnel and grew up in the interior of BC. 

    He moved to Gabriola Island when his daughters were young and soon started his own contracting business, where he was always in high demand. 

    Some of his most admirable traits were: integrity, honesty, loyalty, courageousness, generosity and perseverance. 

    We were all incredibly fortunate to have him in our lives; he would have done anything for his friends and family. 

    He also had a wealth of knowledge, and was always the first person his family looked to for advice. 

    Thor was our family’s rock and protector, he had incredible strength and we always thought he was invincible. 

    Although we are completely devastated and heart broken by the loss of Thor, we are also extremely thankful to have had him in our lives and are all better people because of it. 

    He touched the lives of many people on Gabriola island and will be sorely missed by all including his side kick Razz. 

    A toast to Thor will take place in September and everyone is welcome to attend – details to be announced at a later date. 

    For those who wish make a donation in Thor’s name, please do so to the Gabriola Land and Trails Trust (

  • Roger Servranckx

    Roger Servranckx

    Nov 26, 1928 – Jul 28, 2017

    Roger Servranckx had a peaceful death at home on July 28, 2017. He was born in Brussels, Belgium on November 26, 1928. Roger came to Canada in 1968 with his family and settled in Saskatoon. He had a distinguished career at the University of Saskatchewan at the Linear Accelerator and as a professor in the Mathematics department. As a project advisor for particle accelerators, he travelled the world to share his expertise at SLAC (Stanford), Fermilab (Illinois), CERN (Switzerland), TRIUMF (Vancouver), Harvard, and others. The simulation program he designed for electron beams continued to be used at facilities well after his retirement. His final consultation was in the design planning of the Canadian Light Source in Saskatoon.

    When Roger was not jetting around the world, he enjoyed gardening and tinkering in his wood shop, beer and wine making, gourmet cooking and salmon fishing. He was a master of Rubik’s cubes and loved the challenge of brain teaser puzzles. In his 80th decade, he studied Mandarin and became proficient enough to assist in the translation for an online course.

    Roger is predeceased by his second wife (Genevieve), his son (Jacques), and stepson (Roger). He is survived by his first wife Marguerite, his daughter Monique (Harmon) of Saskatoon (grandsons, Gabriel and Jo-el), his stepsons Thom (Cathleen) of Vancouver (grandchildren, Joseph, Rosalie, and Sophia), and Gordon (Carolyn) of Saskatoon (grandchildren, Nathaniel and Melissa); stepdaughters Susan of Ottawa (granddaughters, Kimberley and Kaitlin), and Katha of Vancouver.

    He was an inspiration to many and kept his sense of humour to the very end. He will be missed greatly by all of those who knew and loved him.

    Roger insisted that there be no service. If you feel the need to do something special in his memory, please consider a donation to the Cancer Clinic, Richmond Hospital Foundation, 7000 Westminster Highway, Richmond, BC, V6X 1A2 (Ph: 604-244-5252)

  • Terrence Ronald Hanna

    Terrence Ronald Hanna

    June 10, 1927 – July 16, 2017

    It is with heartfelt sorrow that the family announces at the age of 90, the peaceful passing of Terrence (Terry) Hanna with family at his bedside at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. 

    Terry was predeceased by his parents and two older brothers, Maurice and Brian.

    Survived by his wife of 66 years, Emily (nee Bobyn); son, Shawn (Murielle); daughters, Kathleen and Patricia; six grandchildren; eight great grandchildren; and brother, Kenneth (Marilyn) and 4 nieces, and 3 nephews. Dad loved life and felt blessed to live so long. He was thrilled when many family members celebrated his 90th birthday with him recently.

    Terry was born in Vancouver where he resided until 1967. For 47 years he lived on False Narrows, Gabriola Island. 

    Terry was very proud of his family roots which extended to Alert Bay, his mother being one of many direct descendants of Okaui Kahoomana (George Kamano) who was recruited in the Sandwich Islands by the Hudson Bay Company to man the trading post at Fort Rupert in 1854. Komano Island in the Queen Charlotte/Johnstone Strait Region of the Central Coast of British Columbia was named after George Kamano.

    Over the years, Terry went from towing logs on a tugboat in the war years to salesman for various companies. Terry was a business owner, bus driver, log salvager on Gabriola Island and had lots of stories to regale one and all with.  After his retirement, Terry and Emily enjoyed travelling across Canada and the USA. Terrence was very involved in the community representing Gabriola as a trustee for the Islands Trust (1976-1978) ushering in the first Community Plan for the Island. He also served as President of the Gabriola Island Ratepayers Association.

    Terry was an excellent story teller and had a talent for captivating his audiences with his love of history. He was set in his ways being endearing in one moment and driving us mad in another. Dad was an adventurer including Emily and his young family on many road and boat trips. In later years his children and grandchildren have many fond memories of the waterfront property on Gabriola Island. Invitations were always open to both immediate and extended family members. We have amazing memories of countless family get-togethers bearing great food, great company, great laughs, great bonfires and great love for one another. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge of the sea with his children and his grandchildren.  He took immense pleasure in teaching all of us how to be safe on the ocean. Dad believed their haven on Gabriola was a true blessing in life. He was extremely grateful for the peace, pleasure and tranquility that their home on beach provided them for so many wonderful years.

    A celebration of life will be held in September for family and close friends.

    Condolences can be sent to the family through

  • Shirley Newton

    Shirley Newton

    May 21, 1923 - June 16, 2017

    Sadly we announce the passing of our beloved Mother. Mom was born in Plenty, Saskatchewan. She passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family, on Friday morning June 16, 2017, North Vancouver. 

    She was delighted to have just celebrated her 94th birthday!

    She is survived by her daughters Trish, Elaine and Anne, son in law Ralph, and her grandchildren, James, Rebecca, Megan, Emily and Eric and great grandson Bryce. Many nieces and nephews. Predeceased by her loving husband Richard John 33 years ago. 

    Shirley’s passion was art and many of our walls are graced with her beautiful paintings to remind us of her. 

    She will be remembered for her love of family, sense of style, loyal friendships and easy going manner. 

    She loved reading, music, nature, playing bridge and dear friends. 

    Shirley’s family would like to thank staff at Lions Gate Hospital, Dr Bayfield and the staff at Amica in Edgemont for the loving care and compassion Mom received in her last month of life. 

    A Life Celebration for Shirley will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 6, 2017 at Boal Chapel, 1505 Lillooet Rd. North Vancouver, B.C.

  • Sherry Fossum

    Sherry Fossum

    1943 - 2017

    Sherry passed away May 15th at Burnaby General Hospital due to complications from frontal temporal dementia. Sherry is lovingly remembered by her husband Larry of 47 years, daughters Tiffany (Anthony) and Marissa (Rick) and grand-children: William, Jack, Isabel, Zoe and Sarah. Sherry was born in Vancouver in 1943 and grew up attending Churchill high school, always knowing she wanted to become a nurse. In 1966, Sherry graduated from Vancouver General Hospital Nursing School and had a very successful 25 year career in nursing and hospital administration at VGH, Calgary General, Victoria General, Surrey Memorial and Peace Arch Hospital. She spent the next 20 years as the General Manager of Whitecliff Retirement Residence White Rock. Sherry deeply enjoyed her time at Whitecliff as it allowed her to combine her care and compassion with her administration skills. Sherry was a proud Rotarian of over 25 years and an active member of the Semiahmoo Rotary Club. She believed strongly in Rotary’s motto of service above self. While her career and community work were important aspects of Sherry’s life, she always managed to find time for family. Sherry always thought ‘the glass was half-full’ and was able to lift others spirits with her positive attitude and bubbly personality. While Sherry lived in White Rock for over 30 years, she also enjoyed 10 years of visiting “the property” on Gabriola Island. Building their dream home on Gabriola in 2010, Sherry and Larry had been living full time on Gabriola until moving to Burnaby in April 2017. The family would like to deeply thank Sherry’s best friend Lori Amdam for her love, support and guidance through a very difficult journey. Aunty Lori has a special gift of wisdom combined with compassion that she shared with the entire family. The family would also like to express its appreciation for the superb care Sherry received from the Gabriola community health care workers Eileen, Jan, Susan and Stacy. A Celebration of Life will be held 10am-12 noon, Tuesday, July 4th at the Rotary Field House, 2197 148th Street, Surrey, BC. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Gabriola Health Care Foundation, PO BOX 295 Gabriola Island, BC, VOR 1X0, or

  • Viviane Johnson

    Viviane Johnson

    Viviane Johnson died peacefully at her home, surrounded by family, on May 25, 2017, at the age of 63, after living with cancer for 2 years. Viviane is survived by her spouse, Don Smardon; former husband Gray Switzer; children, Eric Switzer and Denea Maughan ((nee Switzer) Tyler Maughan); and granddaughter Isla Maughan. She graduated from UBC in 1976, after which she enjoyed a career as a Nutritionist/Dietician. She was a loving and spirited partner, mother, nana, and friend. We are grateful for all the community support she received during her illness. There will be a celebration of life June 17, 2017, at Viviane’s home on Gabriola, from 1-4pm. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Viviane’s life. 

  • Maureen (Marine) Alaine Elliott Visser

    Maureen (Marine) Alaine Elliott Visser

    It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of a long time dear friend, Maureen (Marine) Alaine Elliott Visser. 

    Marine passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in her sleep in the wee morning hours on Wednesday, April 26, 2017. 

    She was 50 years old.

    Marine was a long time Gabriola resident mother-of-two and loved by many. 

    She was passionate about art especially painting and loved to play the guitar and sing. 

    She is survived by her son Forest Visser; a sister in Australia, Noreen; and her son-in-spirit J. Shaw Nixon; as well as many friends and community members.

    Marine was predeceased by her mother Carol, and her daughter Meagan, whose tragic death left Marine with a grief too difficult to bear. We will miss you Marine and hope you find peace with your mother and daughter.

    A gathering to celebrate her life will be held at the Gabriola Commons on Friday May 12 between 4 and 6 pm.

    Please join us in remembering this kind soul, who was an advocate to those who needed it most, and a gentle, honest human being.