We Remember

WILLISTON, James Reginald “Reggie”

January 12, 1934 — July 27, 2020

It is with profound sadness and heartache that we share the news of the passing of our beloved husband, father, Grampy and Papa, at Kelowna General Hospital at the age of 86.

Reggie was born in Douglastown, N.B. to Jack & Annie (nee Jessamin) Williston, the sixth in a clan of seven.  With his older brothers Ray, Charlie, Mort, and Cam, older sister Ina, and younger brother Harold, he grew up in a home surrounded by love.

From the start, he was a hard-working and industrious lad who loved to build carts for all different purposes.  He was well known for taking his little red wagon, which happened to match his hair colour, to deliver milk as one of his chores. On the way home, he would stop at the local landfill to collect “treasures” to bring home to fix, rebuild, or to make more carts. This practice continued well into adulthood, including “repurposing” the Jones’ family dishwasher or “fixing” a washing machine by taking out spare parts.

Reggie loved to drive, so much so that at age 15 he fibbed about his age on the application he mailed in for a driver’s license.  Driving was a lifelong passion which also supported his family, in both his careers as a long-haul truck driver and as a regional travelling salesman. His work and travels took him throughout BC, Canada and into the US, and in the process earned him many, many lifelong friends, especially his best friend Bob Jones.  They are likely now sitting somewhere in a library, having a cool beverage, before basket weaving class.

In 1954, he followed his older brothers Mort and Cam and headed West to BC, finding his way to Kelowna.  There he met the love of his life, beautiful young Alice Kowalchuk,  and they were married in 1956.  They soon started their family, filling their home with love and children, and between 1956 and 1964 welcomed Debbie, Craig, Denise, and Karen.  They worked hard, Reggie driving truck or managing a freight terminal, or with Alice’s administrative skills operating their own trucking firm;  volunteering on Parish Council and on Catholic School Board;  never missing a high school football game, all while raising a family and building a wonderful life filled with memories.

Reggie was a kind and loving gentleman who loved and was devoted to his family above all else.  Left to mourn his loss are his loving wife of 64 years Alice and his children Debbie (Roy) Gemmell, Craig (Carolyn) Williston, Denise Robertson (Bill Fahlman), and Karen (Kevin) Waldal.  He was the most amazing Grampy to his 9 grandchildren Brad, Christina, Megan, Carly, Nikki, Jaynie, Lexis and Danielle, and later in life was happy to connect with his eldest grandson Chris.  He was adored by his 11 great-grandchildren Bellamy, Caiden, Rhiley, Elaina, Nicholas, Otto, Malia, Kian, Liam, Daphne, and Morgan, who thought Papa was the best. He also leaves behind many family members and friends who will miss his kind spirit, ready smile, and the twinkle in his eye.

Papa we all promise to make sure we keep our vehicles clean and well maintained.  We will love and miss you forever.

The family would like to thank Dr. Dan Obedkoff for his many years of kindness and compassion, and for going well beyond the call of duty to provide Dad with the best possible healthcare; Dr. Evelyn Kwok,  IHA nurse Sherry, and Case Manager Lesley Johnson who worked so hard to improve his quality of life over the last three years with your gentle care and home visits; and the staff at KGH 6W and 4E, especially nurse practitioner Crystal, for Reggie’s care in his final days.  A special thanks to the secret angel who visited him and made one of his final days so much better.

In lieu of flowers, Reggie’s request was a  donation to the Okanagan College Foundation Health Sciences Centre, www.okanagan.bc.ca/OC-Foundation, or to the charity of your choice.

A celebration of life will take place later when travel restrictions are lifted, and our family is able to gather.

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

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Okanagan College Foundation Health Sciences Centre Link: www.okanagan.bc.ca/OC-Foundation




  • Shiree Sherriden says:

    My deepest condolences to all of you in the loss of your dear Reg. He was a good man, kind and thoughtful.
    It was a pleasure to talk to Reg he was interesting and had a good sense of humour. I appreciated the care, concern and support he so readily offered. It was a great privilege to have shared some time with Reg, I miss him and will never forget him.

  • Glenna Turnbull says:

    Alice, Karen and family,
    I’m so truly sorry to hear about Reg’s passing. You’re lucky you were able to have him in your life for so many years and that you have so many wonderful memories to hold onto. Sending big hugs to everyone and looking forward to the day I can give hugs in person and join the celebration of Reg’s life. I can just imagine the smile he’d have on his face over your photo choice. Totally awesome James Dean-like picture to celebrate a man who always had a twinkle of mischief in his eyes!

  • Wilhelmus C Meere (PIM) says:

    I am sorry to read of the passing of Reggie, whom I met when I came to Kelowna and met him , when he was a Sales Agent
    to the RV Manufacturing Industries and shared many meetings and laughs with him over the years and will remember the good times we shared

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