It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Paul Gretchen. A gentle soul, and a kind generous, hardworking, family man. Paul was born in Waneta, BC February 25, 1936. He attended school only completing grade 4. In his teen years, he worked in the Okanagan, as well as other places doing various jobs. Paul grew up in Crescent Valley and came to Salmo at the age of 16. He started working at the Emerald Mind (Canex) as an underground Loader operator and then later a miner. Paul married the love of his life, Patricia, on October 12, 1957. They lived at the Canex townsite, and had 2 daughters: Debbie and Wendy.
Paul and Patricia moved downtown Salmo in 1967. They bought their first business, the Salmo Recreation Pool Hall and Café in 1968. Paul continued working at the mine until it closed, while Pat ran the Pool Hall and Café. They also had the House of Music in Castlegar for a time. In 1972 they bought and opened the Rainbow Restaurant (1st Salmo full liquor license). They moved the pool hall downstairs in the restaurant, and later had the Totem Home and Gift Shop. In 1977 they leased out the Rainbow Restaurant to the Dragon Inn. Paul later opened a small grocery store next to the Hardware Store. After selling the restaurant building in 1981 Paul opened the Valu Mart Grocery Store (now Shop Easy). In 1993 Paul leased out the grocery store (Paul & Pat still own the building), he then had Krsity’s Chicken for a short time and Canadian 2 for 1 Pizza in Trail. Paul & Pat owned the forestry land, so Paul built the Mini & RV Storage, opened a bottle depot, farm & pet feed store and Irly Building Supplies until his health slowed him down. He retired in 2003, and they moved to Castlegar. Paul loved to go for coffee with his friends.
Paul is survived by his loving wife, Patricia, of 59 years; his daughters Deborah (Grant) and Wendy (Dwight); grandchildren Aaron (Sylvia), Stacey (Marty), Patrick (Amanda), Kristy (Richard); great grandchildren Brayden, Reece, Lucas, Kylan and Morgan; his brother Louie Gritchen and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents Louie and Elsie Gritchen; brother Alex; sister Nellie and 2 half- brothers, Pete and Harry Gritchen.
Paul was a member of the Salmo Fire Department and the Salmo Lions Club for many years. He enjoyed curling in his younger years, and travelling with Pat – they travelled to Hong Kong, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Florida, Mexico, most all of the USA, Caribbean Cruise and half of Canada.
He has touched so many hearts and his strength will live on forever in all of us. As an expression of sympathy, donations may be made in Paul’s name to the Heart & Stroke Foundation or to the Salmo Lions.
A Celebration of Life will be held on November 12, 2016 at the Salmo Legion at 1:00 p.m. with a luncheon to follow.
The Castlegar Funeral Chapel has been entrusted with the