David is described by those who knew and loved him as open, sensitive, amusing and friendly. He was without a doubt a genuine character to the end. He had a quick wit, a sense of fun and enjoyed a good laugh especially in the company of family and friends. Throughout his life he was game for anything and managed to see “the best” even in challenging circumstances. With an inherently compassionate nature, he was from a young age an earnest and devoted champion for the underdog and the environment. He cared about the basic rights and dignity of people above all else.
Born in Bournemouth, David spent his childhood with his lovely sister Sylvia at Sandbanks boating in and around Poole Harbour where he developed his lifelong love of sailing. After attending Sherborne School, he completed his two years of National Service in Egypt and then headed to Cambridge University for his Bachelor of Arts (1953-1956).
David first met Sally at a drinks party in Lilliput and the following summer they headed off on a cycling adventure through France with sister Sylvia and Sally’s brother David. Dad had his sights firmly set on Sally from that time forward.
Following his years at Cambridge, he set off for the west coast of Canada for a three-month summer job that ultimately led to his building a life abroad. His journey included a move to northern BC (Fort St John) where he worked as a social worker, establishing lifelong friendships and solidifying his love of the outdoors.
After four years he returned to England for a visit and reconnected with Sally. He convinced her to join him in Vancouver where he had begun his degree in social work at UBC. They married in 1961 and soon after began their family, moving to Horseshoe Bay where they established a home and a wonderful community of friends. David continued his career in social work at Woodlands School and subsequently at Sunny Hill Children’s Hospital. He was always a compassionate advocate for those in his care.
In his spare time, he enjoyed family camping trips throughout BC, sailing on Camelot, brewing wine and beer, carpentry, and working to build the family cabin on Gambier Island.
Following his retirement, he and Sally enjoyed some memorable trips with friends and family including road trips in the VW Eurovan to Alaska and the Northwest Territories as well as holidays to the UK, Europe, Fiji, Hawaii and the east coast of Canada amongst others. On the home front, a huge focus was family/friend gatherings at Gambier and Madrona and later at Beach Drive. Dad was also a proud and ardent fan of his seven grandchildren’s interests and spent many an afternoon or weekend at the side of the field cheering them on. No personal challenges or inclement weather would ever deter his enthusiasm.
While he didn’t quite fulfill his expectation of surviving to the ripe old age of 110, he nevertheless lived a rich, full life as a brother, friend, husband, father and grandfather. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his family. He will be missed and lovingly remembered by his wife Sally, sister Sylvia, his four children Joanna (David) (Steven), John (Alison), Lisa (Kyle) and Andrew and his grandchildren Nicole, Liam, Jamie, Megan, Avery, Callum and Jacob.
A special thank you to the remarkable staff at Oak Bay Lodge who provided such a warm and welcoming environment for Dad, his personal care givers at Selkirk Place and most recently to all those who cared for him so attentively at The Summit. Our heartfelt thanks.
So, let’s all raise our glass and toast David with his favoured happy hour cocktail, an icy cold double rum and coke. Sail away….
A family celebration of life will be held outdoors in the late Summer. In lieu of flowers, donations to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice https://www.canuckplace.org/donate/ would be appreciated.
Condolences may be offered to the family below.