December 15, 1924-April 26, 2004
Always an early riser, our father Nick, peacefully left us just before sunrise on Monday morning to rejoin Mom after nearly eight long years apart.
Born to parents, Michael (Russian) and Irene (Polish), father could remember immigrating to Canada from Poland when he was just five years old. He learned compassion growing up in the multicultural neighbourhood of east Vancouver, eventually attending Vancouver Tech, and then joining the Air Force at 18. After several memorable trips by rail back and forth from coast to coast to attend various training sessions, he was posted to a special unit, deciphering encoded messages on the west coast of Vancouver Island. When the Second World War ended, he was discharged and resumed working with his father, a stone mason.
Taking a jaunt around Dundarave Pier one afternoon in a rented motor boat, he met the love of his life (Novella, our mom); and in 1947 they eloped and began a marriage that would last more than 49 years – in fact forever.
They set out on their own a few years later and spent six years in Alberta before moving to Chilliwack in 1956, where father went to work for our maternal grandfather, Bryon, rebuilding Chilliwack General Hospital. Father continued as a masonry contractor for the next 25 years and many may recall his familiar ad on the front page of the local paper: “Stone or Brick, Call Nick!’’
As a politically astute person, strongly apposed to war, he was pleased and humbled to become a Canadian citizen in 1963. His productive garden and tidy yard were another source of pride as well as joy. He also liked playing an occasional game of Saturday night “Nickel and Dime’’ poker, from which he often came away as a winner, and always came away with a smile, regardless of how the game went.
Bust most of all he fully enjoyed the role of being our dad. He loved to be with us and take us places – on fishing, hunting and camping excursions, on holidays at the ocean each summer, down to the river for dawn swim, up to Cultus Lake for an early morning water ski, out to the Vedder River for a wiener roast, up into the hills to cut a Christmas tree, or off to Stanley Park to visit the aquarium, walk the seawall, look at the totems, and poke around the rocks. And he always welcomed our friends to come along. He took great pleasure in seeing “all the brats’’ having fun. His kind heart extended to animals as well, so we all grew up loving cats and dogs, particularly, as if they were part of the family.
In the most altruistic sense, father lived for his family, he loved us, was proud of us, and always gave us the best he could of himself. We know how much he missed mom, and knowing that, we give them both our love and say farewell – until we meet again. We have been so lucky.
Predeceased by his wife Novella; son Bryon; parents, Michael and Irene; and parents-in-law, Bryon and Hallie Dobson.
Survived by his children, Nick (Murdena) of Rosedale, Sharon (Ronnie) of Princeton, Robert (Katie) of Merritt, and Laurie (JC) of Sorrento; grandchildren, Duncan (Sheila) of Big Valley, Alta., Lonni (Joe) of Hope, Scott (Donna) of Rosedale, Robin of Vancouver, Nicky of Calgary, and Chrissy of Victoria; six great-grandchildren; brother-in-law Earl Dodson (Suzanne) of North Vancouver; and 18 year old cat “DC’’ (damn cat).
A family gathering to celebrate father’s life was held at Nick Jr.’s place on Thursday, Apr. 29, 2004.
Donations would be appreciated to any of the following organizations, B.C. Lung Association, Memorial Department, P.O.. Box 34009, Stn. D., Vancouver, B.C. V6J 9Z9, or SPCA, Chilliwack Branch, P.O. Box 142, Chilliwack, B.C. V2P 6H7, or Canadian Cancer Society, 9347 Mary St., Chilliwack, B.C. V20 4G9.