Ernie was born in Hull, Yorkshire and emigrated with his beloved wife Doris and son David in 1948 to Trail, BC. He commenced work as a machinist at Cominco where he was renowned for his well-honed skills and keen wit. Ernie hung on to his love of English rugby and cricket but soon became a passionate hockey fan, many a winter was spent in their favourite corner of the Trail rink with his pal Paul Baryluk who cheerfully munched on peanuts throughout the Trail Smokeaters games. Dad’s favourite home pastime was watching NHL games. He loved the game. He also coached minor hockey for a time when David was young. He enjoyed curling and skating in his younger years.
Dad’s other great love was fishing with his friends. He taught his children the great skill of how to cast a salmon-fly or grasshopper, which was attached to a home-made float, into the Columbia River, without hooking his head too many times (daughter Kath was good at doing just that). Ernie would walk with his daughter Susan all the way down the flats and across from Rock Island, quite the walk just to hook a fish! Ernie never drove a car due to an inner ear imbalance but walked his entire life from Daniel St. up to Cominco and back home again. He would walk over the ravines and mountains surrounding his home, sometimes accompanied by his own dog or strange dogs that wanted to tag along! Ernie liked to get out in the boat and go camping with Susan and Steve where he used to get up at the crack of dawn, before anyone else was even awake and take Suze’s dogs a mile or two down the road. He would be back in time to go early morning fishing for those Kokanee that he loved to eat.
He lived in the downtown Trail area for the past five years and continued (up until last week) to walk to Ferraro’s daily for his shopping and to have a chat with his friends. He was enthusiastic about life, always positive and reassuring in telling us everything was and always will be alright. He would often tell us that you should pass a good deed on whenever possible to those in need.
His daughter Susan and Steve were at Dad’s home almost daily, enabling him to remain in his apartment at Jubilee, where he loved to reside. The managers there made him and all the residents feel like family. He loved his Esplanade walk each day, and was so happy (as were we) that he was able to live there until a few days before his passing. We could not ask for better than that! He loved to play dominoes. Ernie was most loved and cherished and our memories of his smile and humour will always bring a fond smile to our faces. He encouraged us to never snack between meals, and to always walk each day- twice a day, to have a good life and good health.
A very special thank you to the kind, compassionate Doctor Behrens who helped Dad in his last years. Dad loved to visit him.
Ernie is survived by his daughter Susan (Steve) Scaia of Trail, Kath (Chris) Hubbard of Sydney, Australia, and their children; Martin of Trail and Sarah (Siua) Nisa of Sydney as well as his late son David (Judy) Kirby’s children; Michael (Claudine) Kirby of Whitehorse, and their children; Christine of Kamloops, David of Ontario and Samantha of Whitehorse. Also by Dave’s other son Steven (Laura) Kirby of Nelson and their children Kieran and Liam; Steve Kirby and Rhonda Kirby’s daughter Katie of London, UK. Ernie is also survived by his loving sister Gladys Wirsch of Trail and her extended family.
Ernie was a very proud, humble and very intelligent Yorkshireman who taught us so much about honour, respect and love of life. Ernie took a broken piece of our hearts when he passed on and he will be remembered each and every day for the rest of all of our lives.
“ ‘Til we meet again – we love you xoxoxo”.