We are sad to announce the passing of our Dad, Grampa, Great-grampa, Great-great grampa, at Abbotsford General Hospital. He was born on December 10th, 1911, in Smoky Lake, Alberta. Dad was blessed with a long and healthy life and completed his journey on December 9th, 2008, minutes before his 97th birthday.
He was predeceased by his parents and siblings and his devoted wife, Sophie, in 1991, after a marriage of 61 years. To celebrate his life, he leaves his daughters, Lillian (Cornelis) Steneker of Quesnel, BC, and Mae (Walter) Willoughby of Langley, BC, as well as grandchildren, Nicki, Terry, Dan, Casey and Sonja, nine great-children, two great-great grandchildren as well as nieces and nephews and many friends over the years.
Our Dad will be remembered for his love of family, his commitments to the community and his ability to make friends wherever he went. He was responsible for the Warawa family farm in Alberta about the age of 15 and after his marriage and becoming a father of two children, he moved to BC during the difficult Depression years and to Wells in 1938 where he was employed as a carpenter with Dezell Construction building the new town of Wells for the Cariboo Gold Quartz. His time in Wells involved managing Johnston Bros Garage, owner-operator of Crescent Motors and later adding Crescent Hardware until both Cariboo Gold Quartz and Island Mountain Mines closed and he and our mother moved in 1979 to Langley, then Aldergrove and finally to Abbotsford. He was Fire Chief for the Wells Volunteer Fire Brigade from 1939 to 1964 and continued as a volunteer fireman until leaving Wells. As a founding member of the Wells Rod & Reel Club, he maintained his love of fishing and the outdoors well into his nineties. The Bowron Chain of Lakes and his cabin on Bowron Lake was a favourite topic of remembrance as well as his “farm” on Antler Creek which was planned as a retirement home until our mother’s health intervened. The “farm” remains in the family. The outdoors included snowmobiling and among other events, he was a participant in the Yank’s Peak Snowmobile Rally in 1971 at the age of 60 winning 2nd place in the Rally; two years later placed first in the Repeat Rally. Adding local politics to his activities, he was Cariboo Regional Director for Area “C” (Wells, Kersley, Alexandra, Likely) from the mid 60’s to 1977. He wanted Wells to survive the mine closures and dedicated almost all his time and efforts during another difficult economic time in his life. Cariboo Masonic Lodge #4 in Barkerville was a very important part of his life and was Worshipful Master in 1953. These are some of his accomplishments in the community but he is most remembered by us for his ability to “make it work” in whatever he did, his love for us and being there for us whenever we needed it, his interest in whatever we were doing and a role model we had difficulty living up to. We are proud of you, Dad, and will miss you.
Our family is grateful to the nursing staff at Abbotsford General Hospital for the extraordinary care and attention during his last days and a special thank you to Dr. Pawlovich, his doctor and friend.
A Family Graveside Memorial Service will be held at a later date. If desired, donations may be made to the charity of your choice.