• Gail Moerkerken

    Gail Moerkerken

    1958 – 2015

    A Celebration of Life is to be held for Gail on May 14, 2016, starting at 1:00 p.m. at the Gabriola Community Hall, 2200 South Road. 

    On September 25, 2015, Gail, loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt, crossed the Rainbow Bridge. On that day the animal rescue community lost a passionate animal advocate and activist.

    Gail’s passion for animals included being a founding member and past president of Big Heart Rescue Society. She was also a part of a dedicated group that formed ESS-PALS (Pets and Livestock) and Gabriola Canine Search & Rescue and also a volunteer with GROWLS. Gail’s greatest passion realized was Spirit’s Mission Rescue Society, a group she started in 2014. SMRS promotes wellness and sterilization for companion animals who reside on BC First Nations communities and here on Gabriola. SMRS continues on to fulfill her vision of a province in which no animals are abused, neglected or left to suffer disease and starvation.

    Per Gail’s wishes, there was no service held but donations can always be made in her name to Spirit’s Mission Rescue Society via their website,, or by cheque to Spirit’s Mission Rescue, PO Box 95, Gabriola BC, V0R 1X0.

    If you plan to attend please send an email to and include the number of people attending with you.

  • Roland F. Montrose

    Roland F. Montrose

    Nov 18, 1958 - Feb 26, 2016

    On Feb. 26, 2016, Rolly bravely lost a ferocious battle against an aggressive cancer at age 57, his wife and sister by his side. He was predeceased by his mother Marta Franck and his beloved Aunt Margit. He leaves behind his loving wife Kathy, sister Carmen of Toronto, aunts Hilda Binczek (Werner) and Linda Arndt, cousins and many friends. Roland was born in Winnipeg, MB. He developed a passion for automobiles and motorcycles. He and his wife Kathy moved to North Vancouver in 1994 and later to Gabriola Island. Here Rolly was happiest working in his shop on cars, bikes, painting, expressing his artistic creativity. Freedom of the ride, road trips, and exploring the ocean and Arizona completed him. Rolly especially loved the whales, perhaps because of the freedom and the awesome spirit they represent. Not unlike Rolly’s own unique spirit, bigger than all of us, that drew so many to him with his thought-provoking conversations and his unmatched humour. With warmth and charisma, he left a lasting impression on everyone he met. His love of music was deep in his soul and he shared it gladly. Rolly worked at Namasco in Winnipeg for many years and carried on to a vibrant career in film and television as Transportation Coordinator. A Celebration of Life will be held April 23 at the Imperial Vancouver, 319 Main St. at 7:00 p.m. As well, The Rolly Derby will be held in his honour on May Long Weekend (21 - 22) on Gabriola Island/Silva Bay for a casual fishing gathering. Fishing is optional; more details will be shared at a later date. 

    “Forever in our hearts.”

  • Sheila Persin

    Sheila Persin

    Dec. 11, 1943 - Feb. 1, 2016

    It is with the saddest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beautiful mother Sheila Persin. With family by her side Sheila passed away peacefully in the early hours of Feb. 1 at Nanaimo General Hospital.

    You can never imagine loosing someone you love, for us this was our beautiful mother Sheila who we can’t imagine life without, we can only have faith that with no pain or suffering the Angels were as kind to her in her passing as she was to all those who knew and loved her on this earth, the Angels swept down and took her so peacefully and for this we are grateful.

    It’s on a week like this when we celebrate St. Paddy’s Day that we are left with so many beautiful memories of our mum. Her love and passion for Ireland, her Irish family, St. Paddy’s Day, all those great Irish singalongs, dances and of course mum’s favourite, our very own Gabriola Irish Band was something mum lived for and enjoyed, not to forget her favourite Irish song, “A mother’s love’s a blessing.”

    Sheila was so proud of her Irish heritage, her favourite memories as a child were the trips back to County Mayo with parents Mike and Maggie McHale, sisters Rose, Patsy, Maureen and brother Patrick. Sheila adored her family and life in England which would take her home each year.

    Sheila attended St. Augustine’s school in Leeds and moved on to work in the sewing room at Burton’s Factory. At the age of 17 Sheila met her soulmate Tony Persin, where together from England to Canada their lifetime of love and adventures began. 

    Sheila, with her family, moved to Gabriola in 1991; Gabriola became a place Sheila called home for 25 years. With Tony at her side (known by all as Big Tony) Sheila was well-known on the island for her 10 years at the Bread Pot Bakery, her famous scones, bread pots, spinach and feta rolls, Cornish pasties and pizzas, not to mention the music, fun, generosity, the love she gave to all that walked through the door and all the wonderful memories she leaves behind. Sheila’s passion in life was for her family and friends; mum had a way of making everyone feel special, welcomed and loved, there was always a smile on her face, a meal to be had and ABBA playing on the stereo “Dancing Queen” - that you were mum :).

    Every New Year’s Eve at midnight mum would call all her friends in England and across Canada and sing Stevie Wonder’s song, “I just called to say I love you.”

    Sheila is survived by her daughter Lisa (Persin) Rey; son Tony Persin and fiancé Jeannie Sallenbach; daughter Melanie Persin; grandchildren Cooper Rey and wife Katie Rey; Madison and Shane Persin. Sheila also leaves behind her sister Maureen McHale in Leeds, England, along with nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of many dear friends past and present. 

    Sheila’s celebration of life was held on February 6 where in honour of her Irish heritage we held a traditional Irish Wake.

    We would like to thank everyone for all the love and support we have received during this difficult time.

    Our mum believed in Angels; on Feb 1st we lost ours.

    Once upon a time an angel held my hand,

    She wiped away my tears and helped me understand.

    Our time on earth is brief, there’s lessons to be learned,

    Each precious day God gives us another page is turned.

    Every chapter full of memories, times of joy and tears,

    Triumphs and defeats, through every passing year.

    She loved us unconditionally, always by our side,

    When no one else would listen, in her we could confide.

    With gentle words of wisdom she led us on our way,

    Down the paths of righteousness if ever we did stray.

    She saw the light in everyone and gave with no regrets,

    Always from her heart let’s not forget.

    Angels come in many forms, for me it is my mother,

    With love I cannot say in words there’ll never be another.

    Every day I turn the page in my heart will ever remain,

    Everything she taught me as I stroll down memory lane.

    Thank you God for giving me the most priceless of all treasures,

    Help my Lord to keep alive her memory here forever.

    I pray that I can someday be everything she hoped I would,

    That’s she smiling down from heaven knowing she did good.

    As we gather here today there’s no ending to her story,

    Another chapter has begun full of grace and glory.

    God’s called her to his heavenly home, part of His great plan,

    Although it may be hard, we all must understand.

    Faith is what is hoped for, things we cannot see,

    Heaven is promised to all of us if only we believe.

  • Roy Strom

    Aug. 2, 1929 - Mar. 3, 2016

    Roy Strom, a longtime resident and avid golfer of Gabriola, passed away peacefully at home, on March 3, 2016. 

    He fought a courageous battle with cancer. He leaves behind his loving wife Marion, of 60 years marriage, one daughter Karen, and son-in-law Cyrus. One son Mark, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

    In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the charity of your choice.

  • Richard Allen Skene, Architect

    Richard Allen Skene, Architect

    1952 - 2016

     Suddenly on Feb. 10, 16 we lost our dear husband, friend and father.

    Richard was schooled @ Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in Arizona, USA.

    He owned one of the first Mercedes Benz Smart Cars on the Island; British Racing Green, German made, it was standby car #5 in the Mission Impossible movie.

    He will be much missed by his friends on Gabriola, particularly by Cynthia Hemsworth who was his closest friend for 35 years. 

    Generous by nature, he gave many people rides and helped whenever he could.

    He leaves behind two children Colleen and Justin & 2 grandchildren Alexsandra 14 and Annabelle 10.

    He is survived by his wife Janet. 

    Richard will be missed by those who loved him dearly. 

  • David Richard Pearson

    Dec 4, 1954 - Feb. 6, 2016

    ‘In the early hours of Feb. 6th, 2016, David Richard Pearson passed away in Nanaimo Hospital with his sons and siblings at his side.

    Throughout his many years on Gabriola, Dave was a Beaver leader, baseball coach, ‘hockey dad’ and good friend to many. Dave also founded and worked on the Gabriola Directory. He has been caregiver for Chris Greer for over 20 years. 

    Dave is survived by 3 sisters and 4 brothers who live in Alberta, where he grew up. His sons Robin, Christopher, Joshua and Jacob, as well as 4 yr. old grandson Julian, all have treasured memories of times on Gabriola with their dad and “grandpa Dave’.

    Many thanks for all the loving support from family, relatives, friends and fellow Gabriolans. 

    There will be a ‘Celebration of Life’ this summer TBA. 

    Donations to the Canadian Cancer Society much appreciated...’

  • Leonard Cox

    Leonard Cox

    Dec. 1, 1927 - Jan. 22, 2016

    Len passed away peacefully with his family by his side. Predeceased by his brothers Jack, Bill, Bob & David he leaves his loving wife Judy, his family, Richard, Tracey (Allan), Dawn (Bob), Perry. His Grandchildren, Leah (Don), Tina (Chase), Stacey (Ken), Jason, Jessie & Mercades. His Great Grandsons Rylan and Carter. His sister Hazel Windecker. Many nieces and nephews. He loved them all. Lennie grew up on Gabriola. He delivered milk on horseback, he loved swimming, running, baseball, and most of all he loved reading. Len worked in Logging Camps and on Fish Boats. Len and Judy were married in 1958. They lived in Nanaimo and on Gabriola. They moved to Nanaimo permanently in 1962. Len worked at Harmac for many years. On retiring Len & Judy spent their summers at Nanaimo Lakes Camp Sites as hosts. In the winter they travelled to Yuma in their Motorhome. Len was easy going, generous and kind. He had a wonderful sense of humour. We miss him. 

    A family and friends Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

  • Elspeth Patricia “Trisha” (Atkinson) Wainman-Wood

    Elspeth Patricia “Trisha” (Atkinson) Wainman-Wood

    September 2, 1931 - January 16, 2016

    Trisha, actress, professor, gardener, rockhound, mother, and always the photographer, has exited the stage. 

    Her death was sudden and unexpected, her heart giving out at breakfast while reading the newspaper.

    She lived her amazing life of joy, curiosity and wonder right to the last second. Trisha was a loving mother to her son Hugh, a sister to Jeanie, and a dear friend to countless others who her life touched over the years. She was endlessly fascinated by life and never stopped inquiring and investigating. She took joy from everyone and everything around her and never took life for granted.

    After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Trisha’s career began with her work as a professional stage actress often billed as Patricia Leith. During her 12 year marriage to Tony she had a son and went to Queens University to get her undergraduate degree. She parlayed her degree and professional experience into a professorship at the University of Victoria. When her son finished school Trisha left UVic to travel and visit friends in her second home of New Zealand. Upon her return she taught English Pronunciation as well as doing such small acting roles as suited her schedule. However to speak of her accomplishments in terms of a career is to understate her effect on the world around her. She loved people, and loved interacting with them, being surrounded by them, and if possible being the center of attention. She was an environmentalist who deeply appreciated rocks, flora and fauna, thrilled to find either a fossil or an interesting pebble, enamoured with the wildlife in her back yard, and always delighted to be working in her garden. And throughout all this she always had a camera to record the moment, and a second print made just for you.

    Her wish was to never have to leave her funny little home with its gardens and birds and creek, so we can take solace in the fact that she was able to live there to the end, enjoying her life to the fullest. 

    Trisha wished to have her ashes scattered in front of her cabin on Gabriola Island, and that a plaque be set there for people to remember her by. There will be a memorial on Gabriola when the plaque is set.

  • Audrey Sumner

    Audrey Sumner

    Audrey Haydon Sumner passed away on Monday, January 18th, 2016 at the age of 97. Audrey was predeceased by her beloved husband of 62 years, Dr John Sumner. 

    Audrey is lovingly remembered by her three children and their partners; Jeremy (Geri), Nicola (Dyan) and Deborah (Vanamber), grandchildren; Robin (Misty), Jackie (John), Lucas and Jesse and great-grandchildren; Libby and Ronin. 

    Audrey was born in Alexandria, Scotland on the banks of Loch Lomond in 1918. She was passionate about politics and determined to stay around until Harper was voted out. She was an avid reader of five library books a week and loved to discuss ideas and politics. She loved her island home and garden, bird watching and her family. 

    Friends and family are invited to celebrate this fierce and passionate woman at a memorial tea on Saturday afternoon, January 23rd between 1 and 4 pm at her cottage on Descanso Bay, 190 Easthom Road, Gabriola Island. 

    Plans are underway to erect a memorial bench at the Gertie bus stop on Easthom Road at Harrison.  Donations to the Audrey Sumner Memorial account at Coastal Community Credit Union (7-580 North Road, Gabriola Island, B.C. V0R 1X0) gratefully accepted. 

    Special thanks to Dr Thorne and Gabriola Community Health Center staff, nurse Maureen, Island Pharmacy, Suzanne, Peter, Patsy and her many friends in supporting her wish to die comfortably at home. 

    Do not stand at my grave and weep 

    I am not there. I do not sleep. 

    I am a thousand winds that blow. 

    I am the diamond glints on snow. 

    I am the sunlight on ripened grain. 

    I am the gentle autumn rain. 

    When you awaken in the morning’s hush 

    I am the swift uplifting rush 

    Of quiet birds in circled flight. 

    I am the soft stars that shine at night. 

    Do not stand at my grave and cry; 

    I am not there. I did not die.

    Mary Elizabeth Fry


  • John “Jack” Cook

    John “Jack” Cook

    Mar. 5, 1920 - Oct. 27, 2015

    John Cook was born at Kinistino, Saskatchewan, the 12th sibling of 13.

    On September 2, 2015, he fell out of his scooter on the cement floor and fractured a collar bone, ending up in the hospital.

    A persistent pain was checked and the doctor discovered cancer of the lungs and liver, which took John’s life.

    John leaves behind his wife Irene of 46 years, four step-siblings, and several nieces and nephews.

    He was a baker at Western Bakery in earlier years. During the second world war, John was on an RCAF hockey team.

    After the war, he was a blaster (a powder man) with BC Hydro working on the transmission lines over the mountains.

    Hockey was his life, he was a playing coach in Scotland, Belgium, and Canada.

    After retiring, John spent 20 years as a snowbird. At 95, he outlived all his brothers and sisters.

    Gratitude to Dr. Jim Mackenzie, the Gabriola Home Support Team, and the Gabriola Ambulance Society.

    A happy and a full life.

    No service at John’s request.