It is with profound sadness that our family mourns the passing of Norman Kopec on January 5th, 2022, at Vancouver General Hospital. Norman passed away peacefully with his son Michael by his side, sharing the loving last words of his wife Diana, his children and his grandchildren, who were not able to be with him.
Norman was born in Kamloops on February 13th, 1936. He was the second of four children born to Polish immigrants, Walter and Leona Kopec. He grew up on the family farm in Brocklehurst, doing chores and playing in their apple orchards. Norman spent his winters ice skating and summers swimming in the McArthur Island slough. His other favourite pastimes were hunting pheasant for supper and fishing for suckers. Norman graduated from Kam High Senior Secondary, where he met and then married the love of his life, Diana, in 1958.
Norman worked as a brakeman for CP Railway from 1954 to 1973. Following this time, Norman and his younger brother Ralph ran Kopec Tire, a family business they were very proud of. In 1960, Norman and Diana welcomed their first child, Karen, and shortly after came another daughter, Kelley and then four years later, their son Michael joined the family. Norman and Diana raised their three children in Kamloops, Paul Lake, Merritt, and eventually settled back in North Kamloops, where they lived for the past 40 years. Norman was involved in the Merritt and Kamloops communities through church and sports. He was part owner and the GM of the Merritt Centennials and one of the original shareholders of the Kamloops Blazers. Norman enjoyed spending time with family at the ranch near Hyas Lake and camping and motorbiking at several area lakes in his leisure time.
Norman was a man of the Catholic faith and regularly attended services at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
After retiring, Norman did not slow down. He had many hobbies and passions that kept him busy and entertained. Together, he and Diana enjoyed travelling, watching hockey, playing cards, tending his garden, camping, fishing, fixing everything and spending as much time as possible with his grandchildren. Dede, as he was known affectionately by his grandchildren, and Diana took all their grandchildren camping every summer to Wright’s Beach Camp on Skaha Lake for 22 years. There was always a tremendous amount of popsicles and cookies consumed that week. Dede adored and reveled in all of his grandchildren. He loved to watch them play hockey, soccer, basketball and volleyball and supported all of their interests. Dede was at every game, rain, shine or snowstorm. He was proud of all of them and always gave them lots of praise whether they won or lost.
In 1994 Norman was diagnosed with emphysema, and his health deteriorated over the next several years. In 2001, he was given the gift of life and received a lung transplant at Vancouver General Hospital. Our family is eternally grateful for the precious gift of 20 more cherished years with our Dad and Dede.
Norman had many lifelong friends that he and Diana remained close to. These relationships were very special to him, and they share so many great memories that span many decades. His favourite morning routine was to meet his buddies for coffee and a good round of BS. Then he would come home and play a few matches of spite malice, which was his and Diana’s favourite card game.
Norman had a special gift of striking up a conversation with anyone. He took a genuine interest in learning their story. Norman always said that “God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
Norman was predeceased by his parents, older brother Joe and his only sister Mary. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 63 years, Diana, his brother Ralph (Patricia), children Karen (Ed) Repka, Kelley (Vic) Cook/Sagorski, Michael (Kristin) Kopec, grandchildren Clint (Cara) Cook, Travis Repka, Cache Cook, Diesel, Ava and Chase Kopec, sisters-in-law, Donna Geefs, Fran Kopec, and brother-in-law Dave (Cathy) and many nieces and nephews.
The family is planning a celebration of life in the spring.Print This Obituary & Condolences