For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar
PELLY, Wilfred Raymond - "Gone Fishing". On December 4, 2019, Wilf Pelly passed away due to complications following a stroke earlier this fall. He died peacefully in the morning with family at his bedside.
Wilf was born on January 15, 1925 in Chilliwack, the eldest child of Raymond and Norma (née Muir) Pelly. As he put it, "his young life was filled with fun times, though the 30's were difficult." He walked and biked all over the valley, playing, golfing and working at part-time jobs until his graduation in 1943 from Chilliwack High School. Following graduation, he joined the Royal Canadian Navy at HMCS Discovery. After training at Esquimalt, he was shipped to the east coast and eventually assigned to a new corvette, the HMCS Strathroy, to escort merchant shipping and patrol for U-boats. He was escorting tankers to the Azores when the war in Europe ended and he was on his way to service in the Pacific theatre when the war ended.
Upon discharge, he spent half a year working on his uncle's fish packer and then completed year-long training as a cabinet maker. He worked full-time in a cabinet shop in Vancouver and moonlighted at his trade for three years. Back in Chilliwack he also had something else on his mind. His high-school sweetheart Pat (née Roberts) was there and he would come to the Peaks Restaurant where she worked and play 'Sentimental Journey' on the jukebox so she would know he was home. The charm must have worked and they married in 1947, moving to Vancouver to set up their first home. Haney was their next move, where they continued to grow their young family while he worked both full-time in the mill and part-time as cabinet maker.
In 1957, the family moved to Kamloops to get in on the ground floor of a business opportunity building recreational boats. The business didn't work out but the hunting and fishing got in his blood and Kamloops became home for most of the rest of his life. A new house in the Dallas Subdivision was built in 1957/58 and the (ultimately four) children were all raised to adulthood in this stable and supportive neighbourhood. In 1965, he took on a new adventure as a maintenance carpenter at the Kamloops School District, moving through to the Supervisor of Maintenance in 1970. Over the years, he took on more responsibilities and oversaw the construction and expansion of many schools as well as the adoption of new building technologies across the district. He was widely respected across the province and served on the executive of BC School Plant Officials in several capacities.
In 1985, he retired as Director of Support Services for the Kamloops School District and at his retirement celebration one of his colleagues encouraged him to 'beat the odds' and have a long and active retirement. Well, he did so and continued to hunt and fish with Pat, family members and lifelong friends met at work and in the Dallas community. He was also an avid golfer and curler, especially while living at Logan Lake.
He has enjoyed golfing with his children and spouses, his grandchildren and more recently with his great-grandchildren. How many people get to do that?
Over the last 32 years, he and Pat lived and made friends in Royston, Logan Lake, Ashcroft and back in Kamloops again. Sadly, in the last several years his eyesight deteriorated and they had to shift to apartment living when his vision prohibited rounding up firewood and taking his famous "mystery tours" of backroads and lakes.
But as he said many, many times, "where there's a Wilf, there's a way"! When fishing and hunting were no longer possible, he doubled down with the help of some supportive curling teammates and a fantastic group of golf partners. He curled at McArthur Park and continued to golf many courses around Kamloops (especially if they had seniors' specials), and on the simulators in winter. He got a hole in one when he was 92. He golfed right up until his stroke on September 1, 2019.
Wilf was predeceased many years ago by his parents Raymond and Norma (Muir) Pelly and in the last year by his brother Jack. He is survived by Patricia, his loving wife of 72 years, their children Lyn (Craig), Judy (Bob), Doug (Cathie) and Joanne (Dav), their thirteen grandchildren and twenty-six great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother Bob (Betty) in Princeton and sister Mildred in Langley as well as nieces, nephews, their spouses and children.
The family wishes to thank all the staff at Trinity Hospice Center for their respectful and gentle care. A celebration of life will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Wilf's favourite charity, the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign or, if you wish, raise a glass of rum in his honour.
Wilf was a strong, determined, knowledgeable and loving man and he will be sorely missed.
(Kamloops This Week 17 Dec 2019)
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