With broken hearts, we announce the passing of our beloved Uncle Joe on Dec 6th at Comox Valley Hospital after two months of illness. We are so grateful that he enjoyed fairly good quality of life almost to the end.
This past summer he was able to travel once again to Seattle with the Evergreen Seniors Club to cheer on the Blue Jays and lovingly tend his ever-expanding garden. Uncle Joe embraced the simple pleasures in life and truly enjoyed watering his garden every day, usually with his wireless headphones on so he could listen to a ball game, with his much-loved cat Baby Minnie at his side. This season, as always, he continued to perfect his elaborate deer defense strategies.
Uncle Joe was predeceased by his father Jack (1939), mother Dollie (1976), wife Gladys (1990), brother John (1991) and sister Margaret (2006).
He is survived by adoring nieces Linda (Bob) Bunyard of Palm Desert, CA and Barbara Franck of Comox. He leaves behind many dear friends in the Comox Valley.
Deepest thanks to Silvie, Martha, Bill & Christine and Cindy for their tender care of Uncle Joe, at home and in hospital, during his illness. He will be sorely missed by good buddy Tom and other members of his Comox-based A.A. home group, Joyful Discovery.
Uncle Joe was born in Victoria, in the family’s tiny home on Camden Avenue close to Portage Inlet. Uncle’s first job was delivering newspapers at 8 years old to help support his family after his dad’s death in a logging accident. As a young adult he joined the Merchant Navy and for the rest of his life told colourful stories of his days on the CPR’s Princess Kathleen.
Back on land, he secured a carpentry apprenticeship and swung a hammer for the next several decades, working out-of-town on many big projects all over BC. Throughout his life he staunchly stood up for others, including many years as a respectful but persuasive union shop steward.
His first true love was named Grace and he kept a special place in his heart for her throughout his life. Everyone who knew Uncle Joe will also keep a special place in their heart for him.
He lived in Surrey, BC for many years with wife Gladys. After her passing, he spent 10+ years in the Cariboo on a 10-acre property. He built fences, a barn, chicken coop and took care of horses and up to 80 goats at a time. In 2007, shortly after recovering from heart by-pass surgery, he returned to Vancouver Island to live with niece Barbara in Comox.
For the next few years he was also able to spend several months a year with niece Linda and husband Bob in Grass Valley, CA. He continued to build decks, retaining walls, and stairs well into his 80’s. We were proud of him for conquering alcohol addiction, getting sober in 1973, and he enjoyed participating in A.A. both in Canada and in the U.S.
Uncle Joe, our Canadian cowboy, shared his stories, helping hand and friendship with all he met.
He loved his family, friends, sports, model A’s, carpentry, gardening, traveling and especially writing poetry. He was a gentle man with a huge heart.
We will scatter Uncle Joe’s ashes near Portage Inlet where his life journey began.
Details of a celebration of life will be announced in early 2018.
Those who wish may make memorial donations to the Alano Club of Courtenay in Uncle Joe’s name.