It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Joseph Uhrich, beloved father of his twins Carmen Sigalet (Mike) their children Joe and Julianna, Lane Shupe (Ron), their son Spencer and his loving partner Pat Arnot; and lifelong friends (too many to mention). Joe passed away on October 24, 2017 in Kelowna surrounded by his loving family at the age of 89 years.
Joe also leaves behind his loving sisters and brothers who also surrounded him with love to give him strength during his final days: Helen (Russ), Edmonton, Ann and Ella, Kelowna, Leigh (Mitch), Kamloops, Val (Ruth), Penticton, Don (Pat) Burnhope, Nova Scotia and Len (Bea), Kelowna and many close and valued friends in Quesnel and Kelowna.
He was predeceased by his parents, his brother Leo also of Quesnel in 2015 and “the love of his life” Martha MacDonald Uhrich in 1986, after 37 years of marriage.
In 1989, he met Pat Arnot and they were happy together until his death. Joe enjoyed a special relationship with Pat’s two children Carolyn (Marty) and their sons Ryan and Shawn, Brian and his son Riley.
He was born on September 20, 1928 to Mike and Ethel Uhrich in Odessa, Saskatchewan, one of 9 children and the oldest son with three older sisters, 4 younger brothers and one younger sister. They spent most of their lives in Masefield and Francis, Saskatchewan where they farmed. In 1944, at the age of 16, Joe took the train with his two older sisters to Kelowna. They stepped off the CPR Train Station on Ellis Street in Kelowna and were hired immediately by Horace Simpson who owned the S.M. Simpson Sawmill. The Train station is still in operation as a pub and there is also still a working mill. In 6 months they had made enough money to bring out the rest of the family. “We are moving you to Paradise,” Joe told his family and they settled in Okanagan Center, BC where they all worked in the Orchard industry. In Okanagan Centre they met many other transplants from Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Uhrich, MacDonald and Kennedy families became very close and eventually permanent unions took place within their families.
In 1959, Joe moved his family to Quesnel to pursue his fortune in mining. The mining venture did not last long but his love of mining lasted all of his life. He built and operated sluice boxes on the Quesnel River and Lightening Creek and panned for Cariboo gold every chance he got. His claim to fame was that Margaret Trudeau’s wedding band contained some of his Cariboo Gold.
After his endeavor with gold mining, Joe tried the timber industry and in 1968 started Upland Logging, a very successful logging operation that he owned and operated until his retirement in 1990. He continued to spend his retirement in Quesnel with frequent trips to the Okanagan Valley to see family and friends.
Joe loved playing his guitar and whenever he and his family were together they would all play instruments and sing songs from their youth. He also loved the outdoors and would recall fishing for world class salmon and hunting on horseback in the Itcha Mountains. In later years that was replaced by walking daily on the Quesnel River Walk, taking long drives in the wilderness or solving crossword puzzles with Pat and surrounding himself with good friends for coffee or showing off his culinary skills.
He was loved and respected by everyone that knew him and was devoted to his family. A Celebration of Joe’s life will be held in Kelowna in the Spring, allowing everyone time to grieve. If you would like to make a tribute to Joe’s life, we ask that you consider The Quesnel Chapter of the Salvation Army as he greatly appreciated their commitment to his community. Donations can be mailed to The Quesnel Chapter of the Salvation Army, Suite 103 – 246 St Laurent Avenue, Quesnel, BC V2J 2C9. You can also email them at [email protected] or telephone Rosemarie Fransen at (250) 992-8784 in Quesnel. If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or to share a memory, please scroll down this page to the area called “share your condolences.”