Richard Ross Popham

March 4, 1941 – November 30, 2021
Rich Popham was a man with a big heart and a generous spirit. He left this world peacefully on November 30, 2021, surrounded by abundant love. He will be dearly missed but we know that his suffering is over and he is at rest. He was many things to us, our brother, dad, grandpa, great-grandpa and friend, and, of course, beloved husband of 60 years to his wife Barbara. Most of all, he was a man well worth knowing and a guy who would give you the shirt off his back. When asked if he would change anything in his life, his answer was a resounding no!
Rich was born March 4, 1941, and grew up in the village of Barons, Alberta, oldest brother to Ross, Les and sister Joan. At 18, he heard the call of the sea and embarked on a career with the Royal Canadian Navy, where he trained to be a chef and, more importantly, met his bride. Navy life took Rich, Barb and their children across Canada from Nova Scotia to Quebec to Alberta and Ontario, and finally Chilliwack. It even saw him serve in Alert, just a stone’s throw from the North Pole. He spoke affectionately of the ships he served on such as the HMCS Annapolis, Bonaventure, Saguenay and Nipigon, and made friendships that lasted a lifetime. Truly, his love of the sea was something Rich carried to the end of his days.
When he retired from the navy, he plied his culinary skills for BC Rail on their Pacific Starlight dinner train, then for Federal Corrections until he fully retired. Even then, Rich played an active role helping feed school children through Chilliwack Bowls of Hope, and cooking countless dinners for his congregation at St. Dunstan’s Anglican in Aldergrove. He had a hard time saying no when asked for help, and he was always at home in the kitchen, surrounded by food.
When he wasn’t feeding people, Rich could be found trying to remove one or more of his fingers on his table saw, for he was a prolific woodworker of the ‘measure once, cut twice and swear’ school of carpentry. He crafted numerous cabinets, tables, benches and other projects that remain in our homes as tangible reminders of his time and talents. He was proud of his workshop, yet freely lent or even gave away tools to loved ones who needed them. And it was important to him to know that they would eventually be handed down to his family.
Rich was an avid reader who swapped books with like-minded family members, and he cherished the opportunity to spend time fishing with his son. He liked music and spent years singing with Barb in their church choir. Whether it was his barrel chest or his gusto for the hymn, it was never hard to pick out his distinctive voice ringing out from the group.
Rich lived with health issues for years, but you rarely heard him complain. He didn’t want to be a bother to anyone, but he needn’t have worried for he was deeply loved and well-cared for by those around him. In the end, his final wish was to go home, and that’s where he is now; pain-free, cooking great food, singing with Leonard Cohen, telling stories and sailing the seas.
Left to keep Rich’s memories alive are his wife Barb, his children Kim (Frank), David, Leasa and Karen (Steve), his grandchildren Craig (Kristen), Kristen, Tessa, Meagen, Jacob, Andrea, Clayton, Taylor and Brittany, his great-grandchildren, his brothers Ross and Les, his stepbrother George and his many friends. Although we will miss his welcoming bear hugs, his big grin, his trademark suspenders and hats and his warm presence in our lives, Rich will never be far away, for he has left an indelible print on our hearts.
Thank you to the staff of 3 North at CGH and Cascade Hospice for their special care and attention. A celebration of Richard’s life will be announced soon. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Canadian Cancer Society.Obituary

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