July 7, 1929 – November 24, 2018
It is with heartfelt sadness that we announce the passing of Mel. He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba but lived in Neville, Saskatchewan till the age of 12 when the family moved to Vancouver, BC.
Mel is lovingly remembered by his wife Patricia, sons Martin (Robin) and Carey (Caroline), granddaughters Jaclyn (Craig) Mennen and daughter Harper, Krista (Marc) Wagner and daughter Mackenzie, Melanie (Jeff) Burt and son William, and grandson Jesse Matthews (son of Lorie), stepchildren Arlene (Stephen) Ladd and son Mark, Richard (Heather) Woods and Charlie, Sam and Violet, and his sister Margaret Gidinski of Kamloops. He was predeceased by his father Fred Matthews, and mother Marion Johnston, son Freddie and daughter Lorie.
Mel led an adventurous life starting at age 16 while attending Vancouver Tech to join the Merchant Navy for the summer and sailed to Hong Kong and other places. He apprenticed as a mechanic with BC Electric buses while taking flying lessons. In 1949 he flew for BC Airlines until he joined Air Canada in 1951 and was Captain by age 28 flying everything from DC3 to Boeing 747-200. He retired in 1989 and he and Pat started Bison Ranching for 16 years operating in Barriere, BC, and with Freddie at Sunset House AB, during which time he was President of the Canadian Bison Assoc. for 3 terms. Mel and Pat moved to Chilliwack in 2013 to be close to family.
The family would like to thank Dr. Viljoen and doctors from Crossroads Family Practice as well as Chilliwack General Hospital nurses for the making Mel comfortable in his final days.
A Celebration of Life Open House will be held on December 8th. Please drop in anytime between 2-5 pm at Stoney Creek Ranch retirement clubhouse at 5986 Hunter Creek Drive, Chilliwack.