After a long and full life, Cecil Everett Rees died on January 9, 2021 at his residence in Victoria, B.C. Born in Calgary, Alberta on October 11, 1918 to Hannah and William Rees, he was pre-deceased by his infant brother Harding, his young sister Ruth, his younger brother Clifford as well as his parents. The grandson of Salvation Army Commissioner David M. Rees, Cecil grew up in the United Church of Canada following its formation in 1925.
After contracting polio as a boy, Cecil worked very hard to exercise his leg muscles for the remainder of his life. With characteristic determination he continued his regime at Berwick House even following his broken, and then dislocated, hip. It was only in the last few months that he was unable to stand or walk on his own. After graduating high school in Calgary, he attended Mont Royal College (now University) for secretarial training, winning an award for the fastest and most accurate typing. He then began a 35+ year career with the Canadian National Railways first in Calgary, then Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Prince Rupert and finally Vancouver. It was in P.A. that he met a lively young woman, Patricia Anita Ross, in the church choir. Their marriage on October 15, 1945 lasted nearly 75 years.
A daughter, Gwenne Ruth, was born in 1949 and a son, David William, followed in 1952. It was also in Prince Albert that Cecil joined the Masonic Lodge (Kinistino #1), a membership he proudly maintained his entire life. He was, and still is, the youngest Grand Master they had. Promotions took the family to Saskatoon for two years and Prince Rupert for another two before settling in North Vancouver. He and Pat gathered life-long friends along the way. By now a statistician with the railway, Cecil continued his Masonic work and also got involved with Gwenne’s Job’s Daughters and David’s DeMolay groups. He joined the Gizeh Temple Shriners and proudly continued his community service with them. After being retired early by the CNR, Cecil worked for the Shriners arranging care and transportation for children needing treatment at a Shriners’ Hospital. To his great thrill, he was invited to join the Jesters a group known for their humour and appreciation of a good pun.
Cecil and Pat loved being able to travel and visited Hong Kong, the Philippines, the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. He particularly enjoyed cruises. In 1996 Pat and Cecil left Ranger Avenue in North Van and bought a brand-new house in Saanichton on Vancouver Island, where they could be closer to David and his family. They enjoyed many gatherings with friends and family in this large home and only left when declining health made it necessary. Berwick House filled their needs for the last several years and they quickly became staff favourites. After celebrating his 100th birthday in 2018 and Pat’s 100th in 2019, Cecil lost his life partner in March of 2020. Pandemic restrictions made his last months rather lonely, but he loved getting and sending emails and jokes. He thoroughly enjoyed visits from his son and family, as well as good friends, and daily phone calls with his daughter.
Left to mourn, but with so many, many good memories and life lessons are his daughter Gwenne (Clyde) in Ottawa and son David (Carmen) in Campbell River as well as five grandchildren: Warren (Lindsay), Lisa (Mike), Collin (Lindsay), Carmella, Amanda (Ian) and five great-grandchildren. Cecil made the world a better place for his having been in it. He was kindness personified and a true gentle man.
Condolences may be offered to the family below.