In Memorium – Reg Gunn (1929 – 2013)

Reg Gunn

Reg Gunn

Captain Reginald (Reg) Gunn. It is with great heartfelt sadness that we announce the passing of our loved one on April 27, 2013. Reg was born on June 22, 1929 in the County of Durham, England. He came to Canada in 1951, where he joined the Canadian Coast Guard. In 1961, he earned his Master of Home-Trade Steamship, and served at sea on the west coast of Canada. In 1974, he accepted the position of Regional Superintendent of Marine Search and Rescue, Canadian Coast Guard, at the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria, B.C. He was responsible for developing the successful ocean drift program known as CANSARP, which resulted in many lives at sea being saved. Reg retired from the Coast Guard in 1991 after 40 years of service. After retiring, he volunteered at the University of Victoria, in the ESL Study Centre for 13 years. Over the years, he befriended and mentored many students and kept in touch with them. He will be greatly missed by his loving wife Margaret, daughters Susan Nash (Mark), Mary (Brian) and son Gordon (Jerri-lyn), and grandsons Hayden Gunn and Gabriel Nash, his brother Norman, in Wales, along with family and many friends. In keeping with Reg’s wishes, no service will be held. His life will be quietly celebrated by his family. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the S.P.C.A. Biscuit Fund. Always Remembered, Always Loved. Bravo Zulu! – Published in The Times Colonist on May 4, 2013

To include your memories in Reg’s memorial please click this link.

Reg was never a lighthouse keeper but he was a friend to the lighthouse keeper’s. Please read his story about his life with the lighthouse keepers.

A Trip by Workboat from Carmanah Point c. 1970s – Part 1

Workboat over the side CCGS Camsell - photo John Coldwell

– by Reg Gunn (First Mate on the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir James Douglas)

To see what life was like in the workboats that delivered our groceries and took us off for holidays, check out Reg Gunn’s article Life in the Canadian Coast Guard below.

I was talking with Reg Gunn and he told me “I remember when it was first published I received favourable comments from other Coast Guarders who also had enjoyed working the workboats on the west coast.” 

His story follows.


Life in the Canadian Coast Guard

This story was originally three pages long (sorry Reg, I had to split it into two parts – WordPress restrictions) – JC). Continue reading

A Trip by Workboat from Carmanah Point c. 1970s – Part 2

Part 1 is available here.

It was a big one with a lot of energy. To slow down would have put us at risk of being carried forward up the shore. The stern went violently up and I felt my weight double. As I looked down the length of the boat, it was easy to see we were not in a very good position. I noted the crew were getting the pike poles ready for what ever came next. I thought to myself, this day has not improved. I knew the next thing would be the stern would go down just a fast and I would be floating in air. 

At the top I kicked in the throttle and braced with all my strength as we went down. The stern met the next swell and we shipped considerable water but not enough to kill the engine. I opened the throttle again and backed up and over the next swell. On the back of the next one I did a full powered one eighty degrees turn to get us clear. I slowed and moved over to the lee of the aerial anchor rock. We could assess our situation here and get ready to go out through the gap. 

       I looked at our passengers. They were soaked. I said, “Are you all right there?” Mrs. Pearce said, Apart from being a bit wet, we are fine. Thought you were going to put us back ashore again their Reg. I was glad when you changed your mind!”  Continue reading

In Memorium – Rev. Oliver Howard (1927 – 2008)

Oliver R. Howard was born in 1927, and ordained by the British Columbia Conference of the United Church in 1953. His first station was with the Prince Rupert Presbytery in Alert Bay. He subsequently served the Marine Mission in Ocean Falls, the Campbell River Pastoral Charge, the Friendship House in Prince Rupert and the Board of Home Missions in Toronto before taking over as Minister of the Thomas Crosby V (TCV) for the Central Mainland Marine Mission On the TCV he wrote “The Uttermost parts of the sea”, subsequently published under the title “Godships” (Toronto: United Church of Canada, 1984). In 1985 Tony Wade directed a documentary on the United Church mission ship travelling the west coast of Canada to Alaska and back – The Voyage of the Thomas Crosby V. 1985 This two week journey included spectacular scenery viewed by very few people and is available for viewing on Youtube. This film is followed by three more segments from the United Church of Canada: The Voyage of Thomas Crosby V (part 1) The Voyage of Thomas Crosby V (part 2) The Voyage of Thomas Crosby V (part 3) This was the captain/missionary Oliver Howard’s last voyage. The Thomas Crosby mission ship is no longer in operation. Oliver Howard died October 16, 2008. Obituary Oliver R. Howard (1927 – 2008) from classifieds.canada.com A Steady Hand At The Helm Joyce, David, and Kathleen Howard are saddened to announce the passing of long time Port Alberni resident The Reverend Oliver R. Howard on October 16th, 2008. Born in 1927, in Vilna, Alberta, Oliver was the first son of Florence and Austin Howard. The family moved to Creston, British Columbia and later Lulu Island (Richmond) to provide better educational opportunities for their children. Oliver’s ministry with the United Church of Canada spanned over 50 years. In 1953, realizing his parents dream, Oliver graduated from Union College, UBC. He was ordained as a United Church Minister and accepted an invitation from The Board Of Home Missions to be Skipper and Missionary on the Robert C. Scott based out of Alert Bay, BC. On October 2, 1954, Oliver married Joyce M. Dunn (Woodstock, Ontario). They have two children, David and Kathleen. Oliver then qualified as a Master Mariner in 1959. As Captain and Missionary, he served aboard the Thomas Crosby IV anchoring at native communities, light houses, and float camps from Alert Bay to Prince Rupert. In 1960 he came ashore to take a pastoral charge at Campbell River United Church. In 1964 the family moved north to Prince Rupert where Oliver served in church administration before moving to the national office in 1966. In Toronto, Oliver worked with the Board of Home Missions and supervised student internships. Returning to B.C. in 1975, he served as Master of the Thomas Crosby V (TCV). In 1984, his book, `Godships’, an historical and personal account of the church’s 100 years of seagoing missions on the coast was published. Oliver served in a team ministry at Metropolitan United in Victoria in 1985 then in 1987, his final pastoral call was to St. Andrew’s United Church in Port Alberni. After retiring in 1992, he served as President of BC Conference; oversaw pensions and made visitations to retired ministers; sat on the board of Moorecroft Camp; served as Minister Emeritus of Alberni Valley United Church; a Founder of the Alberni Valley Community Foundation and remained an active supporter of Alberni region organizations. Always a loving and supportive son, brother, husband, father, mentor and friend he was predeceased by his parents, sister Joyce and brother Allan. He is survived by his sister, Gay Harrigan (Mike) in Nanaimo; his daughter-in-law, Deborah (Vancouver); granddaughter, Laura (Ghana); and a close extended family. The family is grateful for the care provided by Dr. Alan Fraser, as well as West Coast General Hospital, Royal Jubilee & Ty Watson House. Without their caring assistance we could not have ushered Oliver so peacefully onto his next port of call. A Celebration of Life for The Rev. Oliver R. Howard was held on October 26th at 2:00pm at Alberni Valley United Church, 3747 Church Street, Port Alberni. In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations be made to either: Alberni Valley United Church, 3747 Church Street, Port Alberni BC V9Y 1T5 or Alberni Valley Hospice Society, 2649 2nd Ave., Port Alberni, BC V9Y 1Z8

To include your memories in Oliver’s memorial please click this link.

The Rev. Howard was never a lighthouse keeper but he was a friend to the lighthouse keeper’s – a very good friend.