We Remember

ELLIS, Timothy “Shane”

With broken hearts we announce the passing of our Northern Star, Timothy “Shane” Ellis, on Monday, July 12, 2021, exactly one month to the day after receiving a rare cancer diagnosis. He left us much too soon, but we are forever grateful he was here with us when he slipped away, ever so quietly, and began his next big journey into the unknown.

Born in Whitehorse, Yukon on April 12, 1960, to Margaret Lee Thompson (née Ellis) and Edward “Ted” Earl Thompson, Shane’s home until he was 2 years old was a log cabin in Wolf Creek, just outside of Whitehorse. After realizing his father was not going to be a part of their lives, Margaret and Shane moved into Whitehorse and met the wonderful O’Connor family, who decided on a whim to immigrate to New Zealand and asked Margaret and Shane to come with them. Margaret decided to take a chance and start a new life for herself and her son, and they all departed on the P&O Ocean Liner from Vancouver Harbour in the fall of 1963. Shane and Margaret arrived in Christchurch and happily settled in for the next six years, living near Brighton Beach. He attended St. Michael’s School in the early years and all in all had a most magical childhood in New Zealand – exploring the banks of the Avon River after school, venturing downtown on his own for a coke float, going to the hot springs up the island, skating on frozen Lake Ida, and generally just being free to wander and enjoy life.

In 1969, Shane and Margaret returned to Canada, by ship again, having another fantastic journey, with stops in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Jamaica, cruising through the Panama Canal, and then on to Acapulco, Honolulu and Los Angeles, where they spent some time exploring the city, including Hollywood, Universal Studios and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. After sailing on to Vancouver, they moved to Terrace, BC for a short time, then settled in Chilliwack, BC where Margaret soon remarried in 1970. Shane attended school in Rosedale and Chilliwack, and had his farm chores to keep him busy, including berry picking; haying; and raising his two piglets, Napoleon and Bonaparte, to eventually sell at the auction. He was responsible for a paper route at 10 years old and saved enough money from the route to buy a ride-on lawnmower, so he could start his own business mowing lawns for his neighbours.

Life for Shane became somewhat difficult in his early teen years, and he decided to set out on his own when he was 13 and venture north to Prince George, BC. He found a job in the kitchen in a railway camp, peeling pounds and pounds of potatoes every day to feed the men who worked in the camp. Soon however, his boss realized he was only 13 and kindly suggested that Shane return home and go to school. He briefly returned to Chilliwack but then again went north to Chetwynd, BC to live on a ranch with his great aunt and uncle and their children. They took him under their wing as one of their own, and some of Shane’s fondest memories were experienced there. He returned to school, learned to ride horses, and to hunt and run his own trapline. He again returned to Chilliwack and then back up to Whitehorse when he was 15 years old. He stayed briefly with the O’Connors, who had by then also returned to Canada, and was fortunate to meet Father Rigoux, who offered to take Shane and one of his friends to Faro, YK with him to go to school and live at the Church rectory. Father Rigoux became a very important, positive influence on Shane, and he remained in touch with Shane’s mother for many years, assuring Margaret that her wayward son was not a bad boy, but merely a troubled good boy. Shane travelled back and forth between Chilliwack and Whitehorse a few more times before deciding to go to Edmonton, AB when he was 16 in search of work. He ended up in Fort McMurray, AB working for a janitorial company for a short time, meeting some young men who worked there but lived in Edmonton on their time off. They invited Shane to come with them to a big party in Edmonton one weekend in February 1977, and of course he accepted the invitation. It was there at the party, leaning casually against the fridge door in his navy blue peacoat, bell-bottom jeans and navy blue clogs, flashing his baby blue bedroom eyes around, that he overheard a young lady mention that she was from Okanagan Centre, also in British Columbia. He introduced himself and learned that her name was Cheryl. They began talking and quickly became smitten with each other.  As Cheryl was about to leave the party, Shane said, “Aren’t you going to kiss me goodbye?”. Cheryl did not hesitate for a second and promptly kissed him goodbye, clearly forgetting that she had come to the party with another young man, who was not amused.  The rest is history, with a few twists and turns of course. Shane and Cheryl married on June 30, 1979 in Winfield, BC. They moved to Whitehorse shortly thereafter, where Shane worked in industrial sales at Northern Metallic Sales. They enjoyed the early years of their marriage exploring the Yukon and Alaska, travelling to Hawaii and Belize, and making many good life-long friends. They stayed in Whitehorse until 1983, then returned to Chilliwack, Cultus Lake, Okanagan Centre, and then to Vernon, where Shane worked at People’s Jewellers. He was transferred to Cranbrook, BC in 1987, and then to Kelowna, BC in the summer of 1987. He worked in construction and was fortunate enough to be offered the job of Captain of The Funseeker, a charter houseboat, in the summer of 1988. In February 1990 Shane and Cheryl had their first daughter, Brighton Lee Ellis. Shane decided to work as a bartender at Jonathan Segals, so they would not need daycare for Brighton. He continued bartending and was at Mickey’s Pub in 1993 when their second daughter, Brooklyn Mary Ellis, was born in June. In 1995, the family moved up to Whitehorse, where Cheryl stayed home with the girls and Shane returned to work at Northern Metallic Sales for another fun filled Yukon year. In 1996, they returned to Kelowna, and finally settled down.

Shane and his three girls had many adventures over the years, enjoying the PNE, West Edmonton Mall, dinosaurs in Drumheller, Science World, Canucks’ games, Rockets’ games, Thunderfest, and many epic concerts. They explored Honolulu often, adventured in Costa Rica, and lived it up in Santa Monica, LA and Hollywood.

Shane loved (playing and watching) his sports, especially the Vancouver Canucks and the Oakland Raiders. He would frequently pick his girls up from school and go shoot hoops, play baseball or toss a football around. Being a part of some fun teams himself, he even helped coach Brighton’s fastball teams over the years. Shane was sharing the beauty of soccer with Brooklyn in his final days and teaching her a lot, as he always did. He was an in-tune and fun-loving kind man, always had a twinkle in his eye and a good joke to share.

When the girls were teenagers, Shane decided to leave the hospitality industry to become a courier driver for FedEx and Purolator. In 2014, he returned to Destruction Bay, Yukon to work at the bar once again, eventually moving to Whitehorse to work at the Airport Chalet, where he made friends that are like family, then to a campground in Sunshine Valley and a resort in Muncho Lake. He then decided to try out the Maritimes, settling in Shediac, New Brunswick for a short time. He was lured back to Whitehorse for the final time, working as the bar manager at the Gold Pan Saloon, and then officially retiring and returning to the Okanagan earlier this year. Shane enjoyed meeting people and was always a gentleman, charming the ladies, old and young, and making children and babies giggle with his silliness. He was a music lover, and each week bought a new album to add to his growing collection of vinyl. He continued to share incredible music with his loved ones to the end. Photography became a hobby for him during his travels, as did conjuring up crazy meals in the kitchen. For a time he also wrote a weekly sports column in the Winfield Calendar. He loved games, especially Scrabble, Backgammon and Risk, teaching Brighton and Brooklyn to play poker with pennies when they were very little. He built the best sandcastles at any sandy beach he found, and loved walking and hiking, especially with Bob and Pepe, his two furry sons. We will miss him dearly. He was our fearless leader and constant light, teaching us to strive to be happy and work hard to enjoy life to its fullest. “Hope is not a plan” he would say. He kept us thinking, learning and laughing no matter what life threw at us, right up to the very last day.

Shane is survived by his wife Cheryl; daughters Brighton and Brooklyn; mother-in-law Loretta Barr; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Scott & Brenda Barr (Jenson and Kalem); sister-in-law and brother-in-law Kathryn Hughes & Mark Dejoode (Bianca, Koa, and Jarod); stepsister and brother-in-law Ron & Jackie McFee (Malcolm, Heather, and Colin); three great-nieces and -nephews;16 stepnieces and stepnephews; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Shane was predeceased by both his parents; his father-in-law Gerald Matthew Barr; and his niece Madison Elizabeth Barr.

The family wishes to thank the Palliative Care Team, Dr. Appleby and the caregivers who helped look after him, especially Danny and May, for their unending kindness and gentleness throughout.

A celebration of Shane’s life will be held on Saturday, August 7, 2021, at 2:00 pm at the Oyama Community Hall, 15710 Oyama Rd, Oyama, BC. Blue was Shane’s favourite colour – very representative and telling of his journey. If you happen to have something that is blue, feel free to wear it in his memory.

“For I must be travelin’ on now. There’s too many places I got to see…”

Shane connected deeply with animals and donations can be made to the BSPCA in his name by visiting www.bcspca.ca.

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