July 17, 1922 – September 7, 2018
On the morning of September 7, 2018 at 8:04 A.M. Dad passed away peacefully surrounded with love. Dad went by many monikers… Silver, GG, GPa, Great Pompom,
Super Pompom, Grandpa, Papa Smurf, Uncle Spence, and finally his favourite…Dad.
Dad in his 96 years, & 52 days on this earth lived a very long and productive life. Raised in Prince Rupert he grew up with the freedom that small town living gives a child. Memories of going to the docks to get a bucket of Halibut cheeks ( those were thought of as discards then), chasing their goat and having to walk the goat back home through town, leaving Prince Rupert in the summer and riding the train to Saskatchewan to spend summers at the family farm, were all fond memories for him.
Once through school, Dad attended UBC with the dream of becoming an Engineer. Summers during this time were spent at Pinchie Lake working with a geologist for what was then known as Cominco. Throughout school and university Dad was a gymnast and was very talented on the rings.
War came, interrupting his education, and Dad enlisted in the Navy on the Corvette “the Dauphin”, as a radio operator, even though he never learned to swim! “If the ship goes down in the North Atlantic you don’t want to be swimming, and the kitchen comes with you” was his reasoning. During this time, he married and had two children, Eleanor and John. After the war Dad lived in Wells, B.C and worked for the Cariboo Gold Quartz Mine for a few years before coming to Trail, B.C. Dad settled his family in a house in Sunningdale that was supplied to the veterans coming home. He tried to get on at “the hill” but had trouble due to his smaller stature and weight. A company doctor helped him out with that and fudged his size a bit, so he could get hired. One of his first jobs in Cominco was to help build the Trail Arena. After that he moved into the fertilizer plant where his education was used in the assay office. From there he moved to research where he completed his working life. He was always very proud that he was retired longer than he worked, 34 years working & 36 years retired! Dad was involved with the union and at times would drive the Co-op bus. One time the brakes failed as he was driving down the hill, loaded with fellow workers. Fortunately, he was able to avoid disaster and all on board remained safe.
While living in Sunningdale Dad chose a lot up the top of the cut-off in what was to become Montrose. There he built his first home, hitch-hiking and at times riding a bike to get there, where he dug the basement out by hand. This he did after he got off work. Never one not to be involved, Dad was on the first council of Montrose and was the last original founding father left. He was responsible for the road planning and construction as well as other council member duties. He also helped to construct the first Montrose hall. When his marriage ended Dad purchased the lot at 365-10th Ave for a whopping $700.00. There he started construction of what was to be his home for the rest of his life. During this time, he met Helena Wilde. They married, and his family grew again with the addition of Helen’s children, Roger and Mary. Soon after, his final child Bradley was born.
He lived simply, was wise with his earnings, and would follow the stock markets faithfully. The Globe and Mail business section was read without fail.
Dad was an avid fly fisherman and would have his own statutory holiday every year known as “Flying Ant Day”. The first day of seeing a flying ant, he would get Helen to phone in sick for him and he would head over to Kootenay Lake for a day of fishing. He tied his own flies, and to watch him cast was a thing of beauty, he was a master at casting. For forty years he enjoyed having a trailer at Cummings Resort on the lake.
New Year’s Eve block parties were a grand time, with big wagers being bet with penny poker. One year a neighbour decided not to come so in the middle of the night the remainder of the party-goers decided to bury their front door with snow. Needless to say, this neighbour showed up for the party the following year!
Dad loved a good prank. One time another neighbour who was really excited about being able to grow a garden found a fully ripe tomato had appeared on her tomato plant. While excitedly telling dad about this big tomato she had, he could not keep a straight face and she realized that he had snuck down in the night and tied the tomato to her plant. Dad was an avid gardener and enjoyed growing a garden into his 90’s as well as grapes and his roses.
Birdwatching was a hobby he loved, and he would take part in the bi-annual bird count faithfully. His favourite day was when the swallows came back. Nesting boxes were well maintained and cared for, so he could watch families of swallows and robins raise their young.
He was a carpenter, building most of the furniture in his home, including a pool table, complete with ball returns.
Dad loved to travel. His last trip was when he was 93 years young. Trips to Europe, Costa Rica, Mexico (so many times there are few places he hadn’t been), an Alaskan cruise, and exploring the coastal communities on the Lady Rose were all enjoyed immensely.
Later in life Dad became quite the cook. His homemade stews were excellent!
He was a walker. He would walk daily around Montrose and make sure all was well and there were no problems. An animal lover he would make friends with every dog and cat he would come in contact with.
It was during a walk in the winter two years ago that he fell and broke his leg. This slowed him up and made life more challenging for him. With the help of Serendipity Home Care and Jen’s Lawn Care he was able to remain in his home. He continued to enjoy his weekly Monday cribbage nights at Montrose hall. He never managed to get the perfect 29 hand, however he came close, getting a 28 hand twice.
Dad was a problem solver…we watched him solve both real and imaginary problems with a zeal that was unmatched. Many family jokes were made about his “problems”.
Most importantly Dad was a great father. Teaching his children, the benefit of working for what you want, to be kind, to have fun, and to be decent human beings, and independence. He was charming, witty, and loved to banter. When asked how he was doing his favourite comeback was “crabby and cranky”.
Some of his final words included “I did my best”. You certainly did Dad! You were the best!
Dad was predeceased by his wife Helen in 2006, brother Bill and sister Marg. He is survived by his children Eleanor (Marty) Martin, John Davies, Roger (Denise) Wilde, Mary (Tim) Goldberg, Bradley (Debbie) Davies, his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
A tea honouring Dad and his life will be held on October 6, 2018 at the Montrose Hall between 12:00-5:00pm. Gwen Ziprick of Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Service has been entrusted with arrangements.
Rest in Peace Dad, we love you.
As an expression of sympathy, the family asks that you make a donation to a favourite charity.
You are invited to leave a personal message of condolence at the family’s online register at www.myalternatives.ca
Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Services