We Remember

HEMELSPECK, Michael (Mike) Daniel

Passed away at the age of 84 on June 12, 2016 surrounded by his loving family. Survived by Jean, his wife of 39 amazing years as well as 7 children: Laurie (Bill), Debra (Pedro), John (Sandra), Jim (Gayle), Brian (Audrey), Blaine (Lianne), and Patti; along with 17 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. Predeceased by his first wife Yvonne in 1975, grand-daughter Bailey, sister Jeanne, brother Jack, and brother-in-law Carl.

Mike began his career as a meat-cutter at the tender age of 13 at the Kelowna Packing House. He quickly progressed to managing the meat department for Super-Valu in Kelowna in the 1950’s. With an uncanny resemblance to a young Elvis, it’s not surprising Mike became known as the “hamburger king”. In 1961 he moved his still-growing family to Kamloops where he managed the meat department and eventually a store at Safety Mart, a BC owned and operated supermarket chain that eventually grew to 8 stores in the BC interior.

After raising 7 children, Mike “retired” from the grocery business but shared his more than 40 years of experience by teaching meat-cutting at Cariboo College (now TRU) in Kamloops. In later years, he concentrated on his life-long passion — fishing. From Alaska and the Yukon, to the Kootenays and the Cariboo and everywhere in between, Mike explored lakes, rivers and inlets in his trusty Jeep Cherokee. Whether trolling Shuswap Lake in a wooden rowboat, fly-fishing in his aluminum boat, ice-fishing, or deep-sea fishing at the Coast in his cabin-cruiser, Mike was most at ease with a rod in his LEFT hand. He spent the off-season crafting things in his meticulously organized workshop — cedar chests, chairs, tables, and assorted crafts (including “moose” jewelry and walking sticks) that he gave away to family and friends.

Being a father was a vocation he took seriously and he was widely known as the “coolest dad” in town. And it wasn’t just because of his cowboy boots and his flower-painted Volkswagen van. In winter he built a skating rink and a snow-mobile track in the back yard and taught his children the fine art of pool. Summers were spent at the cabin on the North Shuswap where he cooked massive roasts in his custom fire-pit, made endless circuits of the Lake either fishing or towing water-skiers and shared his special brand of hospitality and humour.

His life was too full to be captured in a few paragraphs or even a few pages. He was a self-made man, who exemplified the value of hard work. He was a true gentleman who taught his family the importance of kindness and generosity. His legacy is his family. He will be deeply missed but will remain forever in our thoughts, our hearts, and our memories.

His family would like to thank the wonderful and caring staff at Hospice House as well as Dr. Erika Scheffler. A private family service will be held on June 18, 2016 at Springfield Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Central Okanagan Hospice House at 2035 Ethel St, Kelowna BC V1Y 2Z6

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A private family service will be held.

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