Fred Vereshagin was born March 9, 1929 at home in Shoreacres to Fred and Tina. He had two older sisters, Mary and Anne. Fred began an early working life driven to accomplishing what he eventually built up for his family. His career included working at his Grandfather’s farm in Salmo, picking fruit in apple orchards, working at a sawmill above Grand Forks, working as a labourer at Cominco and at the Trail Hospital, a painter, a carpenter, and a heavy construction worker. He worked at many of the dams surrounding our area by starting on the survey crew, and ending as a foreman; he made the first and last concrete pours on our historic Waneta Dam. As a foreman, his crews admired him as a fair, decent man. He stood for truth, holding you accountable for your actions, yet providing teachable moments to remember. He was a union man, eventually holding an executive position. NDP all the way – and there is no other way, as he’d say.
At the age of 20 he met his true love, Lorna Makortoff. They married on June 14, 1952 and they’ve lived together in Shoreacres on their property for 64 years. In his younger years, he enjoyed listening, playing guitar and harmonica, and singing to the greats of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, George Jones and many, many others. He built his house with his own hands, and with the help of his two brother’s in law, Jack and Mike Makortoff. He shared that it took a whole $200 to pour the basement and that he never held a mortgage in his entire life – something he was very proud of considering his humble beginnings. He moved his family into their home in 1964 which has and still is considered home for all the children and grandchildren. We still feel that once we drive over the tracks into Shoreacres, we’re home. He was very proud that every tree on his property was planted with his own hands; there are over 100 trees on Fred and Lorna’s land. Fred was a self made man, learning as he went. With Lorna’s help, they toiled in various large gardens around their property. Fred and Lorna (and us kids) harvested all of them; we prepared, canned, juiced, froze everything and anything they had, then put the shkorkey (scraps) back into the gardens, preparing for the next season. Fred spent some of his free time fishing locally and at the coast. He’d bring back salmon that he himself caught in the ocean either with Jack Makortoff or Pete Tarasoff. The salmon were the size of his youngest children, and we’d feast on salmon steaks, or canned salmon, or the coveted smoked salmon, which were smoked in a smoker that he built himself. Funny thing was, he never liked to eat fish – only to catch it! Although quite a private man, he was very proud of his Russian heritage. He was strong in his beliefs and would vocalize to his family and friends his position on whatever matter that was being discussed. He instilled to his kids to not be afraid of using your voice and saying what’s on your mind, and always doing so in a respectful way. He also had quite a funny side to him, sharing jokes and tricks to his children and grandchildren, with a little laugh at the end, and always that twinkle in his eyes. After retirement, he was often seen on his lawnmower, mowing the vastness of his property, and also on his tractor, not only cleaning the snow from his driveway, but also the neighbours’ driveways as well. When his wife became ill, he helped out with everything around the house and still planted and cultivated the garden. Known in our household as the Mayor of Shoreacres, being the oldest living person in our community, and honored with a tree planted on the grounds of the Shoreacres Hall (of which he helped to build many, many years back). He shared many stories about our community – he could have written a book about the history of this place, we call God’s Country.
At the age of 87, on July 10, 2016, Fred gently passed on with Lorna at his side holding his hand.
He is predeceased by, his father, Fred, his mother, Tina, and his sister, Mary Vereshagin. Survived ~ are his Wife, Lorna; Sister, Anne Rogers; Son, Randal Vereshagin (Noreen); Son, Barrie Vereshagin (Jeanesse); Daughter, Connie Relkoff (Larry); Daughter, Monika Hlookoff (Gary); Grandchildren, Vaughan and Jordan Vereshagin; Desiree Anthony (Jaymee Kitchenham); Dylan Anthony; Allie Relkoff; Christopher Vereshagin; Gevyn and Jaden Hlookoff; Great Grandchildren, Everley and Eden Kitchenham.
A heartfelt thank you to Dr. Ankenbauer, the doctors, nurses and staff of the Trail Regional Hospital, Pharmacist and staff of Pharmasave, Castlegar Funeral Chapel, Harry Zeabin who officiated, Shoreacres diggers at the cemetery and to all our family and friends for their loving support.
Fred was a humble and kind man. We miss him and we love him dearly. Rest in Peace and we will meet again.