• Stan McRae

    Stan McRae

    Dec. 10, 1931 - June 13, 2020

    Stanislaus Charles McRae was born on Dec 10, 1931 in Winnipeg Manitoba, the third child of Philip Ambrose and Caroline Anne (nee Kent) and his two siblings Margaret Anne (Wang) (1923) Philip Joseph (1924). Stan’s father worked for CP Rail which required moving across Canada from west to east. By the time Stan was seven they had settled in the town of Orillia where they joined generations of relatives. Stan was an avid hockey player, he competed in Junior B throughout Ontario.

    He eventually became a contract miner working in hard rock underground mining across Canada in some of the poorest safety and working conditions. There were no unions then.

    During the labour movement from the early 50s on, an intense battle was in progress across Canada for the right to mining certifications and to bring in union representation. Led vociferously by Harvey Murphy and Al King many actions were often thwarted by managements devilish coalition called the Three-Way Pact.

    By the 1960s wildcat strikes were going on and that’s when Stan and some of the underground guys started working for the union. They were the tramp miners, a special breed that goes in wherever a new mine is opening up and prepares the mine. They sink the shafts, drive the drifts, and raise and generally gain access to and from new ore bodies. It’s highly hazardous but highly paid work, which is why a lot of miners like to do it. 

    “But to labor with zest, and to give of your best,

    For the sweetness and joy of the giving;

    To help folks along with a hand and a song;

    Why, there’s the real sunshine of living.” 

    ~ Robert Service - “Carry On!” (1916)

    It was as tramp miners that Stan, Paddy ‘Take Five’ Toner, Vince Ready, Archie MacDonald, Norm Harsford and most other young wildcats worked under Al King. These young haywire organizers did such a good job that people started calling them “King’s Wrecking Crew.”

    One of the largest mines raided in the 60s was the Granduc in northwestern BC near Stewart. Stan, Vince and Archie worked several miles underneath the Leduc glacier when suddenly without warning a huge avalanche tore down the mountain and swept away part of the west-end portal camp. Being safely underground they survived but 26 miners did not. The mine resumed operations after the tragedy and the Three-Way Pact stacked the vote and the union was defeated. In the end benefits were paid and conditions in base metal mining were slowly improving. There were many other memories too, in that rough and tumble era, there was comradery, drinking, brawling and hockey. Stan always joined the mining hockey teams wherever he was in Canada.

    In 1971 Stan married the love of his life Maxine (nee Quamme). They eventually bought property on Gabriola Island, British Columbia and fully settled, working as committed volunteers on the island with their many friends. Stan took up an early life passion working with wood and became a talented artisan turning unique wood bowls and other items from local burls and large wood pieces. In the summer he spent every Saturday at the local Farmer’s market with Maxine selling their creations. They were both huge supporters of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

    To prevent development, they purchased an additional 20 acres across from their home and worked with the Islands Trust Conservancy to ensure the land will stay undeveloped in perpetuity. It is called the McRae Conservation Covenant with meadow and trees-lined trails for public use. They also donated one acre of land for the Gabriola Museum to be built. They loved their animals Angus, Fergus, and Jock.

    Health issues eventually caught up with Stan.

    “But the man who can meet despair and defeat

    With a cheer, there’s the man of God’s choosing;

    The man who can fight to Heaven’s own height

    Is the man who can fight when he’s losing.”

    ~ Ibid.

    At 88 years old and after a long, brave fight, Stan shuffled off this mortal coil on June 14, 2020.

    “Let the world be the better for you;

    And at last when you die, let this be your cry!

    Carry on, my soul! Carry on!”


    Stan leaves his wife Maxine, who misses him dearly. He is predeceased by his brother Philip, his sister Margaret, his nephew Michael, pets Angus, Fergus, and Jock. He is survived by Helen McRae (nee Hughes) his childhood friend in Orillia who was married to his brother Philip. He is also survived by nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews who enjoyed his many stories.

    Due to Covid-19 no service will be held.

    Memorial donations may be made in Stan’s name to one of their favourite causes. 

    The family wishes to thank the staff at Nanaimo General Hospital and Trillium Hospice in Parksville.

  • Dandelion  (Chris Morrison)

    Dandelion (Chris Morrison)


    Died in her own time at Comox, B.C.  Pre-deceased by her mother Marion Catto (nee Haddow), father Charles Edward Catto, sister Eleanor Catto, brother Rev. Charles Robert Catto (Barbara Loveys), ex-husbands Ross MacKenzie and Kevin Morrison.  Survived by her sister Dr. Sheila Pennington (nee Catto) (Ben Harrison), many nieces and nephews, and her cat “Fraggie”.

    Chris lived in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver, she worked as a professional librarian during her second marriage at UVic, and in Jamaica with CUSO.  Later she trained in San Francisco as a psychotherapist (Drama Therapist) and had a private practice in Salmon Arm and Vernon, B.C.

    In her later years, she took the name Dandelion, worked with Animal Protection of New Mexico and lived in the City of Sun of Columbus, New Mexico, for several seasons.

    She was a fervent activist in Animal Protection, women’s issues and environmental issues (arrested at Clayoquot Sound in 1993).

    Throughout her life, she thrived in theatre (acting, directing and playwriting).  Particularly Ottawa Little Theatre, Shuswap Theatre, founded Gabriola Players and lastly Courtenay Little Theatre.

    She volunteered with Hospice in Nanaimo and Comox, and fervently believed in the right to die.  She enjoyed many friends through the Unitarian Fellowship in Comox, and sends her love, gratitude and blessings to all.

  • Bruce Bracewell

    Bruce Bracewell

    Sept. 29, 1955 - Apr. 18, 2020

    On Saturday April 18, On Saturday April 18, 2020, Bruce Bracewell passed away at age 64, as a result of complications due to cancer. 

    Bruce was born on September 29, 1955 in Bella Coola, B.C. to Grant and Eleanor Bracewell. Bruce was proud of his birth-place in the remote northern community and family stories tell of his epic escapes from the backyard, as a toddler, to be found wandering on the wharf watching the fishing boats come in. His first food was oolichan, a small oily fish that is a delicacy and a staple amongst the First Nations people of the area. 

    His family eventually relocated to Toronto, Ontario where Bruce attended high school and then earned a degree in Political Science from University of Guelph. After a few trips to visit his sisters who had one by one, left Toronto and were living on Cortes Island in B.C., Bruce too made the decision to return to his roots on the west coast of Canada. Here he reoriented his life, earning a Horticultural Diploma from Malaspina College and delved into landscaping. 

    He and his partner, Valerie Sonstenes settled on Gabriola Island in 2003 where they lived busy and fulfilled lives, until Valerie’s death in 2010. Although Bruce never really got over the loss of Valerie, Gabriola was his home. He loved the community and his job as an independent landscaper. Bruce was extremely well-read, an intellectual thinker and a loyal friend and one of his great pleasures was sharing a drink and a debate (on any topic!) with people he cared about. 

    Bruce was preceded in death by his sister, Louise, who also died from cancer, 6 weeks before him. He is survived by his parents, Grant and Eleanor and his sisters, Donna and Maureen, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and a grand-niece and grand-nephew. He will be deeply missed by his neighbours, his Gabriola community and his close friends Rick, Bill, Candace and Parris. 

    A memorial will be planned, on Gabriola, once life returns to some semblance of normalcy. 


  • Daniel George Urban

    Daniel George Urban

    Feb. 22, 1956 - Apr. 4, 2020

    Announcing with great sadness, the premature death, at 64, of a longtime friend and previous partner, Dan Urban. He died peacefully in his home on Gabriola Island after being diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer last July. Predeceased by his mother from Germany and his father from Czechoslovakia, Dan was an only child and leaves no family in Canada.

    Dan never married. He was the ultimate “loner”, a very private person, but kind, compassionate and thoughtful to the extreme. For the past many years he had been working on Gabriola Island for Home Support Services and, as such, will be remembered fondly by many Gabriolans.

    In his youth, Dan was an avid wind-surfer, loved biking and hiking, sailing and swimming. For many years he collected baseball cards and comics, loved eclectic music and movies and, more recently, was dedicated to his garden and growing his own vegetables. His home was his castle.

    Dan loved his holidays in Mexico over the years and was so looking forward to his retirement next year, so he could spend his winters in that sunny paradise. He will be missed and remembered well. Travel afar, my friend into the light, and rest in peace. A “Celebration of Life” will be held for Dan later this summer on Gabriola. Donations may be made to the Cancer Society in his memory.

    Condolences may be left and information found at 250-924-8484

  • James Alan Ramsay 

    James Alan Ramsay 

    June 12, 1937- Feb 24, 2020

    Our Dad, Papa Jim passed away after an extended and well-fought battle with a heart problem complicated by cancer.

    Jim was born in Brandon, Manitoba and raised in the gold mining town of Pickle Crow, Ontario. After finishing high school Jim joined the Canadian armed forces, becoming a specialist in communications with the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME).

    After 5 years in the RCEME he joined the Canadian Overseas Telecommunications Corp., COTC, which later became Teleglobe, a company that installed and maintained many of the telephone lines across and around the Pacific. Jim spent his career there and had extensive involvement with the creation of their new Burnaby station, retiring in 1995 as the West Coast Manager.

    Besides his electronic expertise, Jim loved woodworking. This is evidenced by an impressive collection of his creations as well as the 25 years he spent teaching it to others at night school at Van. Tech. and Kitsilano High school in Vancouver. 

    Jim had a strong love for model aircrafts, being a member of the Fry’s Corner flying group, and various model clubs for over 40 years. He built many various scale flying models, and was happiest when he was working in his shop. Jim was one of those people who could build, fix or figure out anything he put his mind to- and he put his mind to a lot of things!

    In 2015, our Mom, Bonnie, the love of his life and wife of 48 years passed away. Jim sold their beloved home and moved to Gabriola Island where he spent the rest of his life in the company of  new friends and family. He was an active bridge player and a director at the Rollo centre.

    He will be remembered by many friends and loved ones who were in his life until the end.

    He leaves behind him, stepsons Rick (Evelyne) Jackson and Stephen Jackson of Gabriola, daughter Debbie Abbrusci (Tony) of Coquitlam.

    Grandkids Rick (Shealyn), Mike (Becky), Timshel and Maya Jackson, Chlorinda Baptista (Nelson), Sabrina Brooks (Joe), Chantelle Sethi (Davinder), and Eva, Emilie Gomes Vachon.

    Great grandkids Sophie, Liam, Cece, James, Gia, Mattia, Nia and Zain.

    A previously scheduled celebration of life was cancelled due to the COVID situation, and will be reconsidered at a future date. Meanwhile, Jim definitely would tell everybody to stay the f@ck at home.

  • Richard Bradshaw

    Richard Bradshaw

    July 26, 1943 - Mar. 17, 2020

    Richard ended a heroic battle with brain cancer on St. Patrick’s day.

    His family would like to express their deepest appreciation to the people of Gabriola for their heartfelt support during his illness.

    Richard was born in Aldershot, England. There he married Judy Treloar, a talented actress and stage director. Together they had a daughter Zoe, and a son Leon, and eventually two grandchildren, Emma and Kai. 

    Richard and Judy lived in Australia and New Zealand before settling in Victoria, BC. 

    Richard’s second partner, Jennifer Green, was a wonderful visual artist. When together with Jennifer and her daughters Bre and Ajana, Richard enjoyed the most fruitful time of his life, as a master piano technician. His skill for ‘voicing’ was incomparable. Richard was popular among professional musicians in Victoria, many of whom depended on him to prepare instruments for concerts and recordings. 

    Two years after he was separated from Jennifer, Richard met pianist Hiromi Nogi, who was fascinated by his pure passion for music. 

    Richard and Hiromi moved to Gabriola 13 years ago. While still travelling to Victoria to work on pianos, Richard also tuned for the island. 

    He was full of life and much enjoyed living on Gabriola. He had fun playing harmonica in pubs some nights and also took up sailing in 2008. 

    He  will be remembered for passion for music and for life.

    Photo courtesy Don Butt

  • Josephine Mahalah Kenny (Wood) 

    Josephine Mahalah Kenny (Wood) 

    Jan 6, 1916 - Feb. 26, 2020

    It is with great sadness that we announce that our loving Mother, Josephine Kenny (nee Wood), has recently passed away at the grand age of 104 years. Mother was an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who loved her family deeply, and a caring and loving friend to many. She was a true lady in all respects and an inspiration to all she met. She greeted everyone with a beautiful smile, a kind word and her arms wide open for a hug - she was loved by everyone around her. Predeceased by her husband in 2001, she leaves to mourn, her three children and their spouses: Dixon and Lucile Kenny of Gabriola, BC, Deirdre and Charles Longenecker of Comox, BC, and Naomi and David Chard of West Vancouver, BC, nine loving grandchildren - Rick Guthrie (Julia), Shannon Fox (Grant), Eric Kenny (Angela), Jacqueline Bardana (Davide), Tara Guthrie (Glenn Farn), Erica Landrock (Clint), Ryan Guthrie, Christine Pogue (Ryan) and Byron Chard and 13 great-grandchildren – Brittney & Richard Guthrie, Evan & Madison Fox, Melanie & Jason Kenny, Matteo & Luca Bardana, Alexander Farn, Logan & Tegan Landrock and Liam & Ryder Pogue. All will miss her terribly.

     Joey graduated from St Paul’s School of Nursing at the age of 20 where she nursed until her marriage to her beloved Eric at the age of 25. She saw joy in everything from the tiniest leaf and the miracle of new life, to the grandeur of other cultures. In doing so, she and Eric travelled the world, both in support of Eric’s career, and for the joy of traveling and learning. 

    Throughout his career, Mother completely supported Dad, and received deserved recognition for the contribution she made. Among other awards, she and Eric were presented to Queen Elizabeth II in recognition for his outstanding work as an officer with the Canadian Armed Forces. 

    In 1968, she and Eric moved to Gabriola to start a new life and challenge. They bought and managed Surf Lodge, an incredibly beautiful resort on the west coast of Gabriola Island, where they lived and thrived for 7 years. During that time, they fell in love with Gabriola and knew this was where they wanted to remain. They built a new home on the south tip of the island, and devoted the next 25 years to working with and supporting this close and caring community. In the beginning, they helped conceive and build the lovely Gabriola Island Golf Club, stone by stone and log by log, which, to this day, stands as a major contribution to the fabric of our island. They were strong supporters of the Gabriola Lions Club, and once the Golf Club was up and running, along with the Lions, they began another project, The Lions Garden Homes (eventually renamed “The Garden Homes”), a luxury apartment building for seniors. This, they felt, was their greatest legacy, and would be a boon for many who loved the Island and didn’t want to leave. Josephine lived there for a few short years before moving to Berwick on the Lake in Nanaimo almost 7 years ago. 

    The family would like to thank the staff at Berwick for their loving care and generosity of heart. You were more than workers or caregivers to her…you became part of her family, and she loved you all.

    At the end of a life, the only thing that really matters is how many people you loved and how many people loved you. Mother’s list was very long, and her well of compassion, love, and caring was very deep.

    We can only try to carry on her legacy.

    There will be a Celebration of Life in the near future. 

    In lieu of flowers, donations could be sent in her memory to: Gabriola Island Lions Foundation, Box 261, Gabriola, BC. V0R 1X0

  • John Ernest Taylor

    John Ernest Taylor

    Sept. 16, 1930 - Feb. 28, 2020

    Our dear Husband and Dad passed away suddenly of heart failure. We were by his side and enjoyed a beautiful time talking, laughing and telling stories to the end. He went painlessly full of stories of his wonderful life. His faith in the Lord sustained him throughout life’s ups and downs and shaped him as the humble and loving man he was. 

    Born in Vizagapatnam, India. He went to boarding school at Allen Memorial School In Mussoorie, in the foothills of the Himalayan Range. John left school having captained the athletic teams and with a letter from the headmaster recommending him as the best “Head Boy” and School Captain the school had ever had.

    His first job after school was in Nagpur as Load Master for Himalayan Aviation. He started his lifelong career as an accountant at Titaghur Paper mills in Calcutta (Kolkata). In later years he and Alethea became business owner’s in Penticton, owning The Beachside Motel and a Window Blind business, Window World.

    It was in Calcutta that he met Alethea. Within one week of meeting her and after three dates he proposed by saying to her I have to marry you. It is a love story that lasted 67 years and spanned three continents. Their very last words together were, “I love you sweetie, I love you too Honey.”

    From their first home in India to England then to Canada they went. Throughout their life together their home was always a haven for transitioning family. 

    Their open hearts and open door, always a drop in zone for family, friends and those in need of emotional or spiritual guidance in their local community.

    John’s quiet humble demeanour always made people feel comfortable in his presence and this played a large part in this unofficial ministry, the result of which is a huge extended family of every status, and belief.

    Throughout all his adult years he passionately pursued many hobbies.

    Photographer, Stamp Collector, Avid Bird Watcher and Nature Lover, Model Railroader, Gardener.

    John with his ever-present camera will be so missed by his loving family and many, many friends. 

    He was predeceased by:

    His parents Jack and Violet, sisters Pamela and Sheila, and brother Carlton.

    Survived by his loving wife Alethea, son Michael (Christine), grand sons Tim (Nicole), Matt (Melissa) grand daughter Petra (Mike) great-grandchildren (Liam, Madelynn & Liv), brothers Reginald (Dorothy), Roland (Theresa), sister Barbara, sisters-in-law  Daphne, Myrna & Molly, his nephews and nieces in Canada: Rodney, Graeme,& Bruce, Mark and Stephen and Trudy, and in Australia: Jonathan, Christopher, Simon, Karen, Jackie, Beverley, Amanda and Jason. Janet Joy, and Stewart 

    Celebrations of John’s life will be held Thursday March 12th at 2.00 pm at Gabriola Fellowship Church and;

    Monday March 23rd at 2.00 pm at The Lakeside Resort in Penticton.

    If you wish to make a remembrance donation, please choose your favourite local charity.

  • Captain James Robert Ewart, MM

    Captain James Robert Ewart, MM

    June 7, 1958 - Feb. 10, 2020

    Looking back on the memory of the dance we shared beneath the stars above 

    For a moment all the world was right 

    How could I have known you’d ever say goodbye 

    And now I’m glad I didn’t know the way it all would end the way it all would go 

    Our lives are better left to chance 

    I could have missed the pain 

    But I’d have had to miss the dance.

    ~The Dance (Garth Brooks)

    It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of “Capt. Jim”. We are only now beginning to realize the immense impact he had on so many right across this country and beyond. We were fortunate to know him as: a loving husband, an amazing dad, and a cherished brother, uncle and cousin. He also always had a very special spot for great-nephew, Mr. E. 

    For others, he was a loyal colleague, a trusted mentor and a treasured friend. He had a very generous heart and a belief in never taking more than you can give – and give, he did. As he would say, he “loved fiercely” and first and foremost was the love he had for his two beautiful daughters, Adrienne and Samantha. He was immensely proud of the women they have become and the lives they have begun with their partners. 

    A sense of duty and service ran throughout his life and, in particular, his 38 years with the Canadian Coast Guard where he has maintained many solid lifelong friendships. He also had a deep conviction to giving the disadvantaged a fighting chance which was evident through a variety of causes he supported such as his long-standing commitment to World Vision and his assistance for Champ, a sweet disabled pup from Iqaluit.

    Jim forged a new life partnership with his wife, Robbin, with whom he ran SILA North, and together they proudly served interests in Canada’s eastern Arctic. His other much-loved role was leading an expanding husky pack with whom he was known for his secret recipe cookies and bacon Sundays. Jim was also a strong voice encouraging inclusion and diversity in the maritime industry through the Company of Master Mariners of Canada (MMC) of which he was a proud member, Divisional Master of the Vancouver Island Division and National Board member.

    His sudden and unexpected departure has left all of us completely devastated. We please ask for understanding as his family navigates this difficult time. We wish to reflect on how best to honour this great man who has been a huge part of our lives and find the appropriate way to show our respect and undying love. Celebrations of life will take place in the months ahead as we try to find our strength and our way forward without him at our side, cheering us on as he always did. We loved him as did so many and know that our lives will never be the same without him but consider ourselves fortunate for every moment spent in his company.

    Jim is survived by his wife Robbin; daughters: Adrienne (Matthew) and Samantha (Evan); sisters: Susan, Janet (Richard); brother Barry and former wife Lori (Wayne). 

    We hope to join you in celebration later but for those who wish to express their thoughts and support now, please note a few of Jim’s favoured charities are the MMC Foundation, Iqaluit Humane Society, World Vision.

    As well, his Facebook page will be opened to accept tributes, grand stories and great yarns of his adventures that have touched many. 

    Details of arrangements made to celebrate his life will be posted at and on his Facebook page.

    With love and much gratitude, Capt. Jim’s family

  • Betty Jean Madaski nee Logan

    Betty Jean Madaski nee Logan

    Apr. 2, 1929 - Feb. 17, 2020

    Survived by her children, Bob (Linda), Brian (Rhonda), Susan (Bruce), Cathy, Melanie (Dave), Bev (Matt); 16 Grandchildren, 21 Great-Grandchildren and 3 Great-Great Grandchildren.

    Pre-Deceased by her parents, Kingsley and Annie Logan, Step Father Norm McLearn and sister Lois Rowan.

    Betty was born and raised in Steveston BC and retired to Gabriola in 1975, where she enjoyed sharing her beautiful waterfront home with her family for 37 years. Mom devoted her life to her family and very fittingly left us on family day, with her children by her side. 

    Thanks to the wonderful staff at Eagle Park Health Care Facility for taking such great care of our mother for the past 5 years.

    The family is planning an informal gathering in the spring.