RIPLEY, Hedley E.
November 5, 1935 – March 23, 2021
Survived by son Michael, daughters Betty (Cliff) and Holly, Grandchildren Amanda (Todd), Nathan (Nicola) and great grandchildren Emily, Adrian, Zachary and Gabe; brother Ian and sisters Luella and Jeanne, and sister’s in law Barbara, Judy and Bonnie as well as many many wonderful nieces and nephews. Predeceased by his wife Lois (Priest), father Clyde, mother Pansy (Stonehouse), and brothers Donald, Ronald, Graham, Keith and Glendon.
In the early morning hours of March 23, 2021 our Dad – a quiet, hard-working family man passed away in his sleep. Dad was born in Collingwood Corner, Nova Scotia. Being one of nine children, Dad went away to work in the woods at the age of 12. At 15, he worked for Ray Austin at his sawmill nearby and was always grateful to him for paying him $1.00 per day when the other sawmills only paid him 50 cents because he was a boy. Ray told Dad that he was doing a man’s job and he would get a man’s wage. Ray came to Clearwater as well and their friendship remained strong.
Dad worked on the DEW lines in Labrador and 16 and ended up with double pneumonia and pleurisy. Lung problems were to plague him his entire life. Drinking with a buddy one night, they dared each other to enlist in the Army. Dad knew that he would never be accepted because of his lung issues but to his surprise he passed the medical but not his buddy. He spent 3 years in the Army as a Gunner until his lung issues were discovered and he was given a medical discharge.
Dad met Mom while she was cooking in his father’s logging camp. They eloped on January 1st, 1957 and dad always said that it was a smart move to marry the cook! He borrowed $5 from his grandfather to buy Mom’s ring and he reminisced recently that he didn’t know if he ever paid his grandfather back. They spent 3 months in the summer of 1957 travelling throughout Eastern Canada and the US with another couple, having great fun tenting as they went.
Work was scarce in the Maritimes, so Mom and Dad moved to Ontario, staying with family and friends to look for work. Dad did whatever work he could find, including laying floors and taxi driving. Michael arrived in 1959 and Dad heard from his brother Ron of work and good wages out west and arrived in Clearwater in the winter of 1959. He spoke many times of there being no accommodations here and ended up staying in a cabin in the flats area of Clearwater with 5 other men and one bed. Whoever got home first got the bed, the rest shared the floor. In the spring of 1960, Mom and Mike arrived and they lived in Nellie and Stan Davison’s shed on their property. Dad and Mom said many times that they would have starved to death had it not been for their kindness and generosity. Betty arrived in the summer of 1960 and while Michael slept in an apple box, Betty slept in a drawer from a chest. A couple of moves later Dad in 1964 ended up buying a partially built home on Trutch Road and moved everyone in – including family and boarders. That winter was one of the coldest known and the house never warmed up much with only plastic on the windows. Holly arrived during that cold winter to complete the family. Many hours were spent playing cards with family and attending local dances which he and Mom both loved.
Dad started working for Clearwater Timber Products loading rail cars. He worked for many years never taking a holiday. Hard work was his mantra and he instilled that in us all. Hunting and fishing were always his passion having spent his youth roaming the hills and woods in Nova Scotia. Always to provide sustenance to his family and others in need. As we got older our holidays, whatever the season, were always spent in the bush camping and fishing with family and friends. Once taking us winter camping and fishing in the Little Fort area with us, 4 neighbour kids, and 2 dogs. Always an adventure. Dad loved to reminisce and tell stories around the campfire and we are so lucky to have those many, many wonderful memories. Dad enjoyed horseback riding and especially the overnight trail rides in the mountains of our community. On one occasion Holly remembers the horse flies being so bad at Fight Lake that she jumped off the horse to apply bug repellent to herself. Dad said “No! The horse gets the bug repellent first – he eats first and drinks first. He’s what got you in here and he’s what will get you out”. Another life lesson.
In 1979 Dad and Mom bought the Fur, Fin and Feather Resort on Canim Lake. They so very much enjoyed hosting many derbies and were appreciative of the support from the residents of Clearwater who would come to stay. They sold the resort in 1987 and Dad retired as superintendent with Slocan Forest Products (formerly CTP). He enjoyed gardening and always had at least two on the go – his “weedless” gardens a neighbour always commented.
Dad always spoke of how much time and fun he used to have with his grandparents and so he became very involved with his grandchildren. He would pull them behind ATV’s and snowmobiles after school and played games around the yard with them. He spent many hours camping and fishing with Amanda and Nathan and carried on that tradition with their children, his great grandchildren. He was so very, very proud of his grandchildren and all of their many accomplishments. He was so very excited when his first great grandchild Emily was born in Langley and couldn’t wait for the next visit or picture to arrive. When his great grandson Adrian was born in Kamloops, he gowned up and went to see him in the neonatal intensive care unit to get a glimpse of another “red-head”. Each birth brought him great joy and filled him with pride. He loved to have all the kids, grandkids and great grandkids visiting and playing in his yard where he could laugh and grin at their antics.
There were many trips to Nova Scotia over the years to visit family and friends and Mom and Dad enjoyed some trips to Reno. In 2016 Cliff, Betty and Holly drove to the Yukon with Dad. This was the last place that Dad wanted to visit. Dad was definitely the strong, silent type but we always knew he loved us. He was our port in a storm with wise advise. He loved to tease and be teased back. We will miss his sharp mind, calm presence and support. It gives us solace to know that he and Mom are together again. We love you Dad.
We would like to thank everyone who called, sent cards, flowers, plants and food. Many, Many thanks to Jim for the coffee visits when Dad could no longer go out and to Marilyn for her abundant caring and support. Dad always looked forward to your visits. Thank you as well to Dr. Soles, the Medical Clinic, and Hospital staff for their efforts on Dad’s behalf. Thank you as well to Robin Earle for her patience with our requests and arrangements. It was very much appreciated. A private graveside service will be planned for the future.Print This Obituary & Condolences