The family of Orlan Rye are sad to announce his passing at the Nanaimo Regional Hospital at the age of 88. Left to mourn this wonderful man is daughter Sharon Etty, son Dan (Randi); daughter-in-law Darla Tate; granddaughters Jennifer Etty (Gordie Parkes), Sarah Creally (Sean), and Kristine Rye (Mike Kanigan); great grandchildren Ryan, Kayla, Eva, and Rauni; brother Bruce (Jessie). Married 66 years and predeceased by his wife Lois in November 2017; son Dave; grandson Dean; grandson-in-law Kenny; brothers Lloyd, Art, Clarence and Ivar; sisters Helen and Marion.
Orlan was the 3rd oldest son of Henry and Alma Rye, born in Robsart, Saskatchewan. He had to quit school at the age of 15 to help his parents support their large family. That winter he earned $15 per month as a farmhand. The following year at age 16 he headed west, ending up logging at Port Renfrew earning the princely sum of $9 per day! Eventually he ended up in Quesnel working in the sawmill, until becoming a sales rep for Kelly Douglas grocery wholesaler. During those 8 years in Quesnel, he met and married the love of his life, Lois, and his first two children Sharon and Dan were born. In 1957 Kelly Douglas transferred Orlan to Nanaimo. As a salesman traveling Vancouver Island over the following 2 years, an opportunity arose to purchase Jim Muir’s Red & White grocery store in Qualicum Beach. It was then renamed Rye’s Red & White. Their last child Dave was born in 1961. In 1968 Orlan partnered with Don Tamboline to purchase his 2nd grocery store. Those two stores were soon combined into one operation named Qualicum Red & White. Together in 1976 they opened the Villager Menswear. Two years later they sold the grocery store but continued operating the menswear store for the next 15 years.
Dad was a well known and respected citizen in the Qualicum Beach community, spending many years on
council, and was honored to be their Mayor. He was a visionary in realizing community needs. Orlan was a big supporter of building a much needed community sewer system; building the town’s first library; and instigating a 2nd water reservoir. But one of his proudest achievements was the building of the Qualicum Beach and District Curling Club in the early 1960’s. When the club opened in 1964 he was the 1st Club President, and awarded Membership #1, with Lifetime Membership following in 1989. Also, being a member of the Rotary Club for 23 years, he was involved in many major projects, including the development of the airport and the building of Qualicum Beach’s seawall that many enjoy to this very day. As a business owner he was a member of the
Chamber of Commerce and did a term as president.
In 1996 Dad was named Qualicum Beach Citizen of The Year and was honored to be the recipient of the
Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
Dad’s first heart attack led to his retirement from work and politics. Through all of dad’s achievements, mom was always his avid supporter. However, they both took time out of their busy lives to enjoy hunting trips to Alberta with Mel and Betty in the early years. Fishing with many on his boat, the Dragonfly, was another priority, not to mention golfing and curling. Travel excursions and their 2nd home in Palm Springs also became a part of their retirement.
Always proud of his children and grandchildren, visits from the great grandchildren were indeed special
moments. In the later years Orlan’s enjoyment also included “the boys at the coffee shop”.
Qualicum Beach has lost a much revered citizen of 59 years, and he has left a void in our hearts forever.
Our many thanks go to Dad’s family physician Dr. Duncan. Also, greatly appreciated was the devoted care he received while in hospital and Palliative Care. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Qualicum Beach Hospice Society.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre on Friday, September 7th at 2 pm.