We Remember

Updated Information GAUCHER, Olivier Georges

 A Celebration of Life is to be held on Sunday, July 17, 2022, at 4:00 pm, at 4207 Spiers Road, Kelowna, BC.  Please RSVP by email to seven@telusplanet.net if you plan to attend.

Dad (affectionately known as the Big Eagle) graduated to Heaven on January 29, 2022. The last few years we have had quite the ride together and I wouldn’t trade any of it for all the money in the world.

My Dad was an incredible man. He was born on March 17, 1930, at the family’s farmhouse in Saskatchewan. He was number 8 of my grandmother’s 12 children. Dad was the inquisitive one in the family and would spend hours taking things apart and then putting them back together again to see how they worked. Mom and Dad married in 1955 and moved to Kelowna from Saskatchewan for a short time before moving back to Saskatchewan where they had 2 children (myself and my brother Marc). Eventually, in 1968 they again moved back to Kelowna to stay and my brother Paul was later born here.

Dad was a man who squeezed all he could out of life. He was never a rich man in a financial sense but he was rich in so many other ways. His heart was so full of love which he generously poured out on others. He loved all of his family immensely and was so proud of each of his children and grandchildren. I am not exaggerating when I say that Dad told me he loved me and what a special person I was at least 10 times per day in these last few years we have had together. In turn, he got so many hugs and kisses from me that I don’t know why he never got calluses on his cheeks-lol!

I have learned so many things from my Dad, like how to fix things around the house, how to sew and knit and do needlepoint. The most important things I learned from him though were the importance of integrity and pouring oneself out on behalf of others without expectation of being paid back. He taught me how to love and not be shy about it. He was honest and you always knew that what he was telling you was the truth and not an exaggerated story or a half-truth. This made him trustworthy.

Dad’s life was not always the easiest but he never gave in to self-pity or lost hope. He was one who pushed through and carried on despite the challenges that would present themselves. He was always one for an adventure and we had so many of those. He taught himself to ski in his 40s and started rock climbing in his 60s with his youngest son, Paul. He and I traveled to Egypt in his 70s and Italy in his 80s. We did a lot of skiing together and he was still skiing straight down the hill at age 85. When he was 84 he expressed an interest in going zip-lining as he had never tried this before and so off we went to Whistler and he had a blast.

When he was 89 years old, while out for a walk, he fell and hit his head on the pavement, and bled throughout his brain. The doctors were not sure if he would survive but he did and he was in the hospital for 4 months recovering from this. I took 4 months off of work to be with him and we could write a book of the adventures and hilarious things we experienced during that time. At one point a doctor pulled me aside and told me it would have been better for him if he had died from his injuries. I can tell you that this was so far from the truth. Dad touched so many people’s hearts in the last 2 1/2 years of his life. His love and enjoyment of life were contagious. Dad loved to sing and it was not unusual for him to break out in song no matter where he was. He did not fear what people thought. He was happy and he wanted to sing. Even despite having to be locked away in his bedroom for weeks at a time during this pandemic the nurses and care aides could hear him singing in his room.

Unfortunately, being locked away was hard on his physical health and the last lockdown of the care homes in BC was a bit too much for him. I strongly believe though, that despite this God knew the day and time He would be taking Dad home to be with Him. That day and time were meant to be January 29, 2022 at 3:45 pm.

Dad had a strong faith and would often say that when it was his time to leave this earth it would be the ultimate trip. I was there to witness his departure from this earth and though I will miss him dearly I am so happy for him that he has finally graduated and his spirit has moved out of his earthly suit to a much better place and he has joined my mom.

The last 2 1/2 years since his fall have been some of the most intense with lots of valleys but we were one in heart and spirit in many ways and it has taken me to such deep places of love that I would have never experienced without the challenges in the middle of it all. Head injuries and viruses and mandates could not affect love. In fact, these only deepened it. And for Dad to experience unconditional love and acceptance from those around him despite his disabilities and inability to do many of the things he used to do for us after his brain injury was such a gift. To know and experience love even when you would be considered a liability by society is a profound thing. Dad was not only one who loved well but also one who learned to accept love well. To be kissed or hugged by so many despite others’ fears to even touch him was a great gift. It is too bad that this cannot be everyone’s experience as they near the end of their life. I feel for our elderly these days. They have such a lonely road to walk. Wouldn’t it be an awesome thing if it wasn’t like that?

For the last 2 1/2 years of his life, Dad was living at the Springvalley Care Home where he received such good care from all of the staff there. I am so grateful for all of the dear people there who work such long hours and pour themselves out for the residents in the home. Thank you also to Trisha Koroluk who would pick Dad up from the home and take him out on excursions when I couldn’t be there. You loved my Dad and cared for him like he was your own dad. He loved you SO much!

Dad was in the hospital from January 14, 2022, until he passed away on January 29, 2022. While there he was well taken care of by the nurses and doctors but one physician was especially great and took the time to call me with progress reports and listen to my concerns. To me, he was really living out his calling as a doctor and I pray that as he is teaching the residents and medical students about caring for patients they will also begin to embody that care and concern for each of their patients. To see them as people and not just a disease in a certain bed. Dr. Arthur Skotnicki thank you so much for your care. You are an amazing man and doctor. Thank you also to nurse Leo for standing up for my Dad. What you did for us will stay with me forever.

Dad in many ways the last 2 1/2 years have been the best I have had so far. To be able to spend them with you has been the greatest privilege of my life. You have taught me so much and for that, I am extremely thankful. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH Dad and I am going to miss you more than you will ever know but I am even happier that you are free. I will see you sooner than you know. This life is just a fleeting moment and before we know it we will be reunited and going on adventures together again with Jesus.

Celebration of Life to be held at a later date and will be announced when the date is set.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.

Sunday, July 17, 2022, at 4:00 pm. Please RSVP by email to seven@telusplanet.net.

4207 Spiers Road, Kelowna, BC. 

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