(Aug 17, 1925 – April 21, 2009)
Wilf passed away on April 21, 2009 at Cascade Lodge with his loving wife Pearl beside him. He was a fighter to the end and kept his sense of humour when things got rough, as usual.
Wilf was born on August 17, 1925 in Vancouver, the oldest of three children born to Cliff and Hattie Gray. He spent his growing up years in Vancouver and at 18 he joined the Canadian Navy, shipping out to Halifax on December 18, 1943. He was a wireless operator, and all of his life, the years during the war in the Navy were a constant source of conversation, quite often fond memories and even laughter. After the war he came back to Gibson’s Landing where his family had moved after purchasing the one and only grocery story in Gibsons and one in Port Mellon.
He met his wife of 58 years, Pearl, in Port Mellon and they married in 1951. They had two daughters, Georgia and Janice, and in 1954 found themselves moving to Chilliwack to become partners in another family business, Graysons’ Beverages Ltd.
Life in Chilliwack was fun and eventful. Wilf was a Volunteer Fireman for the Chilliwack Fire Department from 1957 to 1988 and it would not be an exaggeration to say that he and Pearl had some of the best times of their lives being part of the big, happy family of Fire Department Volunteers. They hosted many ‘Firehall’ barbeques at their farm on Kitchen Road, (now home to Normans Photographic) and many corn roasts, as well as winter skating parties on the ‘slough’ with Wilf out at all hours of the night flooding the ice to make it as smooth as could be for the next days’ skate.
Dad’s main ‘hobby’ would have been the cabin he and mom built at Eastgate Manning Park in the early 60’s. The cabin would be the weekend retreat for almost 40 years and there were not many weekends, summer or winter that they wouldn’t be there. Again they hosted many ‘Chilliwack Corn Roasts’ and had great get togethers with their neighbours ‘at the cabin’.
Between the cabin and the farm and the soft drink business there were some trips to Hawaii, Arizona in the winters, and fishing at Ucluelet with his pals. Anything Dad did he always enjoyed no matter what, nothing was too much to deal with and there was always time to talk to anyone and everyone.
His life will be remembered with affection, admiration and compassion by his family, wife Pearl, daughters, Georgia (Mike Barry) and Janice (Doug Hendry), his two granddaughters who loved their ‘Papa’ so much, Michelle and Lindsay Clement, his brother Roy Gray and the many friends and acquaintances who were in his big, broad circle of life.
He was predeceased by his parents, Cliff and Harriet Gray, and sadly by his younger sister Bev Kane.
Wilf’s family wishes to thank the staff at Cascade Lodge for the heartfelt care and compassion they have shown him over the past nine years, he considered them family, they made it his home and for that we are very, very grateful.
A Memorial Service was held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, May 2, 2009 in the chapel of Henderson’s Funeral Home in Chilliwack. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Chilliwack Fire Fighters Charitable Society c/o #1 Hall, 45950 Cheam Avenue, Chilliwack, V2P 1N6.
Online condolences can be left at www.mem.com