Obituaries

Nancy Richler (1957-2018)

“In all my writing, I explore the slipperiness of morality and identity in the face of extreme loss and threat, though the settings and circumstances change with each novel.” — Nancy Richler. All of Nancy Richler’s novels were written in Vancouver. The first of these, Throwaway Angels, was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis First Novel…
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Al Neil (1924-2017)

“New York has William Burroughs, Los Angeles has Charles Bukowski and Vancouver has Al Neil.” — John Armstrong “Whatever I’m doing belongs right here in Vancouver, B.C.” — Al Neil “Al Neil gets more pleasure out of walking down the road than other people get from buying a car or skiing down a mountain.” —…
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Jim Taylor (1937-2019)

Born on March 16, 1937 in Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Jim Taylor died on January 7, 2019, at the age of 82. For many years he was B.C.’s most widely-read sports columnist. He was also a successful B.C. author. Taylor began his newspaper career in 1954 as a part-time sports reporter at the Daily Colonist in Victoria…
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#354 Dave Perrin (1948-2018)

First published Aug. 27, 2018. Dave Perrin has died on August 6th, 2018, in Calgary, Alberta at the Foothills Medical Center at age 70. A memorial service was held at the Creston and District Community Complex in Creston on August 11th. He had a manuscript soon to be published entitled Better Late than Never. According…
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#322 Stephen Reid (1950-2018)

First published June 14, 2018. Stephen Reid has died at age 68 of pulmonary edema and third-degree heart block in the hospital at Masset, B.C., on June 12, 2018. Following Reid’s death, Masset Mayor Andrew Merilees commented, “He was always friendly and pleasant. He was enjoyed by most of the community despite his past failings.”…
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#313 Doreen Armitage (1931-2018)

First published June 1, 2018. Born in Toronto on August 14, 1931, Doreen Alice Ellen (Hayes) Armitage died at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver on May 15, 2018. A writer who believed strongly in oral history, Armitage wrote for publications such as Canadian Geographic, Outdoors Canada and Canadian Living before publishing her first book,…
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#304 Nancy Richler (1957-2018)

First published May 17, 2018. “In all my writing, I explore the slipperiness of morality and identity in the face of extreme loss and threat, though the settings and circumstances change with each novel.” — Nancy Richler. All of Nancy Richler’s novels were written in Vancouver. The first of these, Throwaway Angels, was shortlisted for…
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#298 Three tributes to Al Neil

First published May 4, 2018. An obituary on this site has already recorded the life and times — and books — of Al Neil. But there’s nothing like a personal reminiscence–or three–to reveal how extraordinary and perplexing and difficult and odd he could be.                   1. In…
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#276 Alan Fry (1931-2018)

Alan Fry (1931-2018) An obituary by Alan Twigg First published March 30, 2018 * Whistleblowers are seldom cited as heroes—especially those who can be dismissed as crackpot racists. The importance of Federal Indian Agent Alan Fry’s first novel and second book, How a People Die (Doubleday 1970; Harbour 1994), has therefore gradually been glossed over,…
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#202 Al Neil (1924-2017)

First published November 17th, 2017. “Whatever I’m doing belongs right here in Vancouver.” — Al Neil, author/pianist (The Cellar 1959) “New York has William Burroughs, Los Angeles has Charles Bukowski and Vancouver has Al Neil,” — local author John Armstrong “Al Neil gets more pleasure out of walking down the road than other people get…
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#201 Peter Trower (1930-2017)

A GATHERING TO REMEMBER AND HONOUR PETER TROWER WILL BE HELD FROM 3 – 6 PM AT THE FORMER LOCATION OF THE RAILWAY CLUB IN VANCOUVER ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25. THE VENUE IS NOW CALLED THE RAILWAY STAGE AND BEER CAFE. IT’S AT 579 DUNSMUIR. Peter Trower, one B.C.’s most beloved poets, has died at…
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#159 Joan Skogan was one of a kind

Joan Skogan was one of a kind An obituary by Alan Twigg First published August 20, 2017 * Born in Comox on September 29, 1945, Joan Skogan knew joy and sorrow. An intrepid researcher and a conscientious writer, she will be much missed by those who knew her fascinating, passionate nature. Joan Skogan could be…
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#155 S.C. Heal (1925-2017)

S.C. Heal (1925-2017) An obituary by Alan Twigg First published August 15, 2017 * “In my opinion there is no finer interpreter of the marine scene in British Columbia.” — John M. MacFarlane, nautical historian As a columnist and contributor to specialty shipping magazines, the writer-turned-publisher S.C. Heal made a major contribution to the maritime…
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#154 Jim Wong-Chu (1949-2017)

Jim Wong-Chu (1949-2017) An obituary by Alan Twigg First published Aug. 15, 2017 * Chinese Canadians weren’t granted the federal vote in Canada until 1947 and they first voted provincially in 1949–the year Jim Wong-Chu was born in Hong Kong on January 28th. Jim Wong-Chu was brought to Canada, aged four, in 1953 where he…
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#153 David Watmough (1926-2017)

David Watmough (1926-2017) An obituary by Alan Twigg First published August 14, 2017 * “I hope my work is myopically ‘westcoast’ and persistently graceful in language.” — David Watmough “That rarest of birds on the literary scene, the natural storyteller.” — Robert Fulford QUICK REFERENCE ENTRY: Homosexuals in British Columbia can now express themselves openly…
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#39 From Quilchena Creek to Flanders

ESSAY: For Remembrance Day 2016, Michael Sasges has reconstructed the life of Nicola Valley rancher John Foster Paton Nash. First published Nov. 7, 2016 * Note to Ormsby readers: I have dusted off this essay by Mike Sasges for re-use on Remembrance Day, 2020. I have rewritten the introduction, re-sized and rearranged the photos, and…
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W.P. Kinsella (1935-2016)

First Published: September 17th, 2016. Born in Edmonton, Alberta, on May 25, 1935, William Patrick (Bill) Kinsella invoked the assisted dying provisions of Bill C-14 and died at Hope, B.C. at 12:05 p.m. on September 16, 2016. He had been a type 2 diabetic for most of his adult life. W.P. Kinsella was born in…
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Arthur Black (1943-2018)

Arthur Black was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer in early January of 2018 and died at Lady Minto Hospital on Saltspring Island on February 21, 2018 at age 74. Typically, he made jokes about his illness in a series of blog posts, suggesting getting a terminal diagnosis was akin to being swatted by a…
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