Robert Brown: 1938 – 2023
Bob’s journey with Parkinson’s and dementia ended in much the same way that he lived, with silent strength and his loved ones by his side.
Adopted by his loving parents Boyd and Ida Brown in 1939, family was the cornerstone of Bob’s life. He married his soulmate Betty (nee Williamson) in 1959 and together they built a tight-knit family with daughter Debbie (Roger) Pires, and sons Bob (Christine) and Rick (Rhonda) Brown. A beloved ‘Papa,’ Bob remains a hero to his grandchildren Michael (Jessica), Alysa (Adam), Adam, Alana (Dan), and Emma (Peter). In 2021, Bob was promoted to “Great Papa” with the birth of his two great granddaughters, Sawyer and Lucy.
Bob proudly spent his life in service to his community both as an Assistant Chief at the Victoria Fire Department where he retired in 1993 after 32 years, and as a dedicated soccer and lacrosse coach. A lifelong athlete, Bob passed on his love of sport to his children and grandchildren. He enjoyed swimming, cycling, running, tennis, and basketball, but his truest passion was cheering on his grandchildren. Rain or shine, he never missed a game (or a dance recital). Bob loved holidays and all family gatherings. From annual readings of “The Night Before Christmas” to hiding under the “troll bridge” at Rathtrevor Campground, Papa created magic for his grandchildren through countless traditions and meaningful memories. Bob was a kind man and a good friend to all.
He is predeceased by his parents, and his sister-in-law Louise McCulloch. He will be greatly missed by his sister Linda (Ken) Armstrong, his nieces and nephews, and his dear friend John Devlin, who was a constant with his caring visits through the end of Bob’s life.
Our deepest thanks to the staff at Saanich Peninsula Hospital, Extended Care Unit 1 for their incredible care and support, not just of Bob but our whole family.
Though it is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Bob/Dad/Papa, we are able to move forward with strength and care for each other because he showed us how.
“True love is a many splendored thing”
No service by request, but donations to SPH Foundation (Long Term Care) are greatly appreciated.
Lance Caven: 1973 – 2023
‘Utterly heartbroken’: Langford in mourning after death of long-serving firefighter
Goldstream News Staff Mar. 20, 2023 11:30 a.m.
Langford residents and the city are paying tribute after long-serving Assistant Chief Lance Caven died after a valiant battle with cancer.
Caven spent 30 years with Langford Fire Rescue, first as a volunteer when he joined in 1991, and then moving into a career position in 2002, and finally working as assistant chief since 2017.
Karen Engbrecht, Caven’s neighbour of 15 years who first met him when he was 11, said she was “utterly heartbroken” at the news.
“He grew up here,” Engbrecht told Black Press Media. “He kind of is Glenridge Drive, and not seeing him drive past anymore, not seeing him walk or ride bikes with his family down the street is just, it’s heartbreaking. He’s definitely going to be missed by so many people.”
Engbrecht said they helped organize a reunion for former classmates from Belmont Secondary last October, and Caven was still making people laugh even while he was struggling with cancer. Many people attended and for some, it was their last chance to reconnect with him.
“He just put a smile on your face. He was always funny. He was always laughing and his laugh was unmistakable, he had a very distinct laugh, and it made you laugh. So, any conversation I’ve ever had with him in my entire life involves many, many laughs.”
A number of people paid tribute to Caven in the comments on a Facebook post Engbrecht shared to a Belmont alumni page.
“Lance was such a nice guy and it was always great to run into him and chat. He was always so friendly and so good with the kids he’d take on tours around the fire hall. My condolences to his family and all of his loved ones. He will be missed,” wrote Erin Pugh.
The city also paid tribute to Caven.
“He dedicated his life to preventing fires and saving lives, and will always be remembered for his love and passion for firefighting and fire prevention. He will be greatly missed, and his legacy will remain in our hearts forever,” a spokesperson for the City of Langford wrote in a statement.
Flags will be lowered throughout the city and the region in his honour.
“The family and the Langford Fire Department ask for privacy and space to grieve, and treasure AC Caven’s memory during this difficult time.”
Forrest Owens: 1958 – 2022
August 10, 2022
It is with tremendous sadness the Central Saanich Fire Department mourns the loss of Assistant Fire Chief Forrest Owens. Forrest was known and loved by many. He was a leader, a brother and a mentor; above all else, he was a proud husband, father and grandfather. He passed away on July 21, 2022, peacefully at home.
Forrest started with the Central Saanich Fire Department in 1986 and put in over 35 years of service to the community. He was a volunteer firefighter, Captain, and career Assistant Fire Chief, and upon retiring from his career position he continued on as an active paid call Assistant Fire Chief.
“Forrest was someone who was always there to help, he was kind, generous and was a rock for our department,” said Deputy Chief Stacey Lee. “He was a true legend in the Fire Service and our community and it’s never been more evident than with the recent outpouring of love for Forrest to his family and our department.”
Forrest was a leader who wore many hats. He advocated for mental health awareness for emergency responders, was pivotal in the training of Central Saanich Fire members, led the community’s prevention and inspection program for many years, and was well respected and liked by all.
“Forrest’s contributions to the community have had a lasting impact,” said Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor. “He will be greatly missed.”
He was well known and respected in the community not only as a firefighter, but also as an avid fisherman, dedicated coach in hockey and lacrosse, and member on several boards and committees.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Forrest Owens Memorial Scholarship, c/o the Central Saanich Volunteer Firefighters Association to be established for local youth pursuing a career in firefighting. Donations can be sent by e-transfer to email@example.com.
Condolences to the family or the fire department may be sent via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard Shumka: 1947 – 2022
SHUMKA, L.F. (Rick) 1947 – 2022 Rick died on February 3, 2022 following a brave battle with esophageal cancer, confirmed to be a result of exposure to workplace hazards while serving as a Firefighter in Saanich. He retired as an Assistant Chief with 32 years of service. He died a hero.
Always a very funny guy, Rick kept his sense of humour right to the end. The day before he died, he told his wife as he was suffering in pain “You can remove ‘he passed peacefully’ from my obituary”.
Rick was born in and spent his whole life in Victoria. He was predeceased by his father (John Shumka), his mother and stepfather (Annie & Fred Malish) and his brother (John Shumka).
Rick will be dearly missed by his beloved wife Bridget, his loving children Travis (Kim), Candice (Chris) and Aharon and his very special grandchildren Jake, Brooke and Lily.
Aside from his firefighting job, Rick had a construction company and built/renovated many homes. Always someone who jumped at the chance to try something new, he took up real estate after retirement. Rick was passionate about skiing, hiking, fishing, long driving trips and politics.
He mostly loved cars which he restored and painted. His final project was to build a 1935 replica Miller Ford Race Car, his dream car, a project that kept him going during his illness. Rick seemed to know everyone everywhere and always had all the time in the world for the people in his life. Rick was well loved and respected by the auto hobby and firefighter communities.
The family is grateful for the many friends and relatives who supported Rick during his illness. You know who you are.
A private graveside service was held on February 11, 2022. A Dedication Ceremony at the Saanich Fire Hall followed by a Celebration of Life will be held in his honour in the spring. More details will be provided closer to the date. Condolences may be offered to the family at www.mccallgardens.com
John Charles Cassidy: 1966 – 2021
Memorial for late Colwood fire chief set for Saturday
Procession, service for John Cassidy to be held at West Shore Parks and Recreation
Rick Stiebel Jul. 6, 2021 5:30 a.m.
The community will have an opportunity this weekend to publicly pay their respects to John Cassidy for the dedication, professionalism and passion he shared as a member of Colwood Fire Rescue.
Cassidy, who died on June 23, had been part of the force since 1999 and served as fire chief from 2017 until his death.
The memorial service on Saturday, July 10 begins at 1 p.m., with a parade starting at the Juan de Fuca Library next to West Shore Recreation Centre at 1767 Island Hwy.
The procession will move from the parking lot down the hill to soccer field number two, where the ceremony will run from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
There will be seating for dignitaries, family and firefighters and efforts will be made to accommodate as many members of the public as possible, with seating available at soccer field number one, said Colwood Acting Fire Chief Greg Chow.
The Cassidy family has requested that in lieu of flowers, people can make a donation to the Darryl Corrigal Memorial Scholarship Fund overseen by the Colwood Volunteer Firefighters Association.
Parking is limited, but the park and ride at Ocean Boulevard and Island Highway will be open.
RELATED STORY: West Shore firefighting peers pay tribute to Colwood chief
Full obituary can be viewed here: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/timescolonist/obituary.aspx?n=john-charles-cassidy&pid=199384472
Ken Gill: 1960 – 2018
Oak Bay community mourns loss of protector and confidant
‘He was an amazing man. Everyone you ask is going to give you the same story’
Keri Coles Apr. 4, 2018 12:45 p.m.
The Oak Bay Firefighters’ website calls for thoughts and prayers in the announcement of the March 28 death of Oak Bay Fire Department Chaplain Ken Gill.
“He was an amazing man. Everyone you ask is going to give you the same story,” said Assistant Fire Chief Darren Hughes.
Gill worked as the captain in charge of fire prevention for the Oak Bay Fire Department during the last 17 years of his 32-year career, before retiring in 2014. After taking a year off after retirement to travel with his wife and spend time with his family, he returned to the Oak Bay Fire Department as its chaplain.
“He was a man of integrity, truly. A family-oriented, people-oriented man,” said Hughes. “The chaplaincy speaks to who Ken was. He is just that selfless person, who even after retirement came on as the fire department chaplain in order to help.”
During his career as the Fire Prevention Officer, Gill was often the public face of the department, visiting buildings and businesses in Oak Bay. His passion for fire prevention and safety and ensuring the residents of the district were always kept safe, was evident in his many initiatives in the community like upgrading residential apartment buildings with fire doors, removing old oil tanks, and working on commercial projects with the fire suppression systems and fire safety in new building construction, including multi-million dollar projects at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel and the new Oak Bay High school.
“Professionally he was really on his game and well-respected within the fire prevention community,” said Hughes. “He did the investigations as well, so not only the prevention of fires but he also did the bulk of fire investigations so he would lend his skills in that area as well.”
He was always looking for the betterment of the community as a whole, said Hughes who noted that it was a natural transition to chaplain for Gill after retirement.
“It was like ‘Oh, of course he is that person’. And not because he was a man of faith but because that was who Ken was. That was how he lived his life. He was just that trusted confidant and a true professional,” said Hughes.
Gill had a strong faith throughout his life. Whatever faith people practiced or whatever beliefs they had, Gill was always there for them. He was always interested in how people were doing and how their families were doing.
“He was that steady keel in the water,” said Hughes.
As chaplain, Gill would take members of the department out for coffee and to talk.
“In some way, he has helped every member of our department,” said Hughes. “He was very dedicated. He was the person who could do that because he was very well-respected. He just had that level of respect and admiration. Everyone saw him as a trusted confidant.”
Gill leaves behind Marie, his wife of 36 years, his two children, Brian and Ashley, and a grandchild on the way.
“He has an amazing wife. His son is in the ambulance service and is doing extremely well there. And Gill was very proud of his daughter as well,” said Hughes.
“I can’t think of anything that isn’t just super positive about Ken,” said Hughes.
Gill was born at the Resthaven Hospital in Sidney. He began his career as a fire dispatcher with Langford in the early 1980s, moved to the Department of National Defense at CFB Esquimalt, then to the Sidney Fire Department and eventually to his post with the Oak Bay Fire Department, following in the footsteps of his father and father-in-law, both of whom spent time as firefighters. Through Gill’s fire service career, he attended the Canadian Forces Fire Academy and is accredited with the British Columbia Justice Institute. He was also an active member and involved as part of the leadership team of the Peninsula Mission Community Church.
SCOTT BRYANT: 1975 – 2016
Scott Bryant, beloved husband, father, son, brother and friend, passed away on July 6 at the Victoria Hospice, 6 weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Scott was born on Dec. 3, 1975, in Victoria, B.C., the third son of Bill and Marion Bryant. He grew up in Victoria and spent many years playing ball and building long and lasting friendships. Scott was the co-owner of Crest Fire Extinguishers and was a dedicated employee and employer. In 2001 Scott met Dana, the love of his life. They married in 2005 and had three sons: Carter (2007), Trenton (2009), and Hudson (2012).
Scott’s life reflected his personality: giving, patient, humorous, fun-loving, hard-working, mildly sarcastic, caring, and selfless. He was a fabulous friend and a devoted husband and father. Dana and their boys were the centre of his life, and he always focused on their happiness and well being.
Scott is survived by his wife, Dana, and their sons Carter, Trenton, and Hudson; his father, Bill; his brother Todd (Jeanette); his brother Terry; father- and mother-in-law George and Jacqueline Beninger; sisters-in-law Bree (Brian) and April (Chris); brother-in-law Mike (Treava); and nieces and nephews William, Abby, Emily, Kaitlyn, Pelham, Alma, and Bridget; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. Scott was predeceased by his mother, Marion, in 2014.
Special thanks to Dr. Keith McQueen for his continued care and attention, and to the caring staff and volunteers at Victoria Hospice.
A celebration of Scott’s life will be held at North Douglas Pentecostal Church, 675 Jolly Place, on July 16 at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to Victoria Hospice are gratefully accepted.