August 16, 1937 – April 21, 2021
Beloved Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, Brother, Uncle and Friend
It is with great sadness in our hearts that we, the children of Cliffe Churches announce his passing. Dad passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 21, 2021 at Kelowna General Hospital at the age of 83.
Dad was born in Rossland, BC on August 16, 1937, the third of four children born to Norris and Dorothy Churches. As a child he lived in Rossland, Castlegar, Burnaby, White Rock, Chemainus, Saltair and back to Castlegar. He attended SHSS and graduated in 1955. He was very active in the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets in Nanaimo, Chemainus, Trail and Castlegar and attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
Many camps and courses were attended in Esquimalt, Comox and Cornwallis, NS and he was selected as one of twenty cadets in Canada to attend a 3 month cruise to Europe and the Mediterranean onboard the H.M.C.S. Magnificent Air Craft Carrier in 1955.
In July 1956 he joined the Royal Canadian Navy and enrolled in a 4 year Technical Apprenticeship. Upon graduation, he was a Petty Officer 2nd Class Aviation Technician and served at CFB Shearwater Naval Aircraft Maintenance School VF 870, Base Technical Branch VS 880 and VU 33.
On June 27, 1959 he married the love of his life, Carol Joyce Coolen in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Before long they began their family and together they raised their 5 children. The family moved from Nova Scotia to British Columbia in August 1976 where they made Castlegar their family home. Dad was the true dictionary meaning of Family Man – a man devoted to his family.
From their birth until his passing, his 5 children, 11 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren, never had to question his love, he truly devoted his life to family and family time was the most important thing to him. Dad’s love for his family could only be outshone by the love they had for him.
He was employed at Celgar for 14 years and then went on to excel at selling Life Insurance for Pioneer Life, Sovereign Life, and then 10 years with Canada Life. In 1994, at the age of 57 he suffered a large stroke which left him unable to work.
In 1996 Mom and Dad bought a truck and trailer and set off and travelled across Canada, they spent lots of time in Nova Scotia with family they also travelled throughout the United States.
Throughout his years, Dad enjoyed playing cards especially crib, swimming and picnics at Syringa, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family and friends. For the many years he lived in Castlegar, Dad was a member of the Castlegar Seniors, and was a proud member of the Kinnaird Park Community Church.
One of Dad’s proudest achievements was the idea he had to bring Fire Protection to Robson, BC in 1978. With his idea and the hard work of many family, friends and residents of Robson they went to work and made his dream become a reality.
Dad was always so proud of all the volunteers that kept the fire department alive the past 42 years. It makes us children proud that the creation of the Robson Volunteer Fire Department is an integral part of our Father’s legacy.
Dad will be remembered for so many reasons but for his quirky little smile, his amazing sense of humor, little jokes, wittiness and pranks. One of his ultimate, biggest joys in life was watching his grandchildren grow into amazing adults and watching his great grandchildren laugh and play, they all lovingly call him Papa. They all loved him as much as he loved them.
Dad is survived by his daughters Cindy (Lanny) Racich of Kelowna, Christine Churches (Brian Murphy) of Port Coquitlam, Diana Churches of Castlegar and son Cliffe Churches (Sharon Phillips) of Kelowna, BC.
He is also survived by his 11 grandchildren Chelsea Kristian, Kristina Racich, and Shauna Adrian, Seamus Murphy, Kyle and Aaron Roos, Ryan and Kelsea Dorosz, Ashley and Taylor Bercier and Elizabeth Churches and their spouses, as well as his 11 great grandchildren, his brother Gordon (Wylla) Churches of Brentwood Bay, BC, Brother-in-law Gerald (Maggie) Coolen of Halifax, NS, his Sister-in-law’s Judy (Joe) VanDevender of Fishers, IN and Kathy (Scotty) Cameron of Windsor, NS, and their families; as well as many nieces and nephews.
Dad was predeceased by our mother Carol Churches, after almost 50 years of marriage, our sister Sandra Churches, his parents Dorothy and Norris Churches, sister Margaret Schandl, infant sister Josephine Churches, mother and father-in-law Ermie and Medford Coolen and his special pal Buddy.
A Celebration of Life will be held once we can safely gather and celebrate the wonderful man Dad was.
We would like to thank the Doctors and nursing staff at Kelowna General Hospital for their care and compassion for Dad while he was recently in their care. To the staff at Village At Mill Creek and Northwoods Retirement Resort, thank you for your kindness and care for dad.
Thank you to the Springfield Funeral Services of Kelowna, BC who were entrusted with cremation arrangements. Dad will be laid to rest with our Mom at the Springfield Baptist Church Cemetery in Springfield, Nova Scotia.
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