Essex, Ronald Lee

July 28, 1939 – May 28, 2021
at the age of 81 years:

A memorial tea will be held on Saturday, September 3, 2022, 1-3 p.m. at the 5th Avenue Seniors Centre, Salmon Arm

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Ron Essex at Shuswap Lake General Hospital, May 28, 2021. He was an amazing father, friend and partner.

Ron was born in Kamloops, B.C., to William and Evelyn Essex. Ron’s father worked on the CNR and as his job changed locations, their family moved. Ron attended elementary school in Jasper, Calgary, Newton and then Vancouver. One of Ron’s truly memorable times in his life was when he lived in Newton and was finally able to get eyeglasses. He was absolutely stunned to see the world with such detail!

At the beginning of Grade 7, Ron and his family moved to Powell River where he attended Brooks Junior-Senior High School until his Grade 12 graduation in June of 1957. While in Powell River, Ron spent many happy years with Air Cadets.

In the fall of 1957, Ron entered his first year at UBC enrolling in Arts and Sciences, and in the spring of 1962, Ron graduated with a B.A. degree in History and English. In the fall of 1962, Ron attended UBC to complete his Teacher Training.

During his second year at UBC, Ron began going to the Kitsilano United Church and attended the Young People’s Club, where he met Jane Watt. They began dating and two years later were engaged. They got married on Sept.8, 1962, and were together for 55 years, until Jane’s passing in July, 2017. During their years together, they had their son, Christopher, and daughter, Karen.

Ron spent the summers of 1959 – 1962 in Blue River, Smithers, Prince George and Port Mann, working on the CNR as an extra-gang timekeeper and a Relieving Roadmaster’s Clerk.

Ron began his teaching career in 1963 in Powell River, teaching alongside half of his former teachers. Over the next three years, Ron taught in Richmond, during which time he enrolled in the M.Ed. program at UBC with a concentration in English and Library Science in order to pave the way to a continuing appointment as a teacher-librarian.

In September of 1967, Ron and his family moved to Salmon Arm where Ron began his Teacher-Librarian position at what is now Shuswap Middle School. Ron taught there for 31 years until his retirement in the spring of 1998.

After Ron retired, he enjoyed many years of volunteering with the Emergency Support Services and continued to volunteer with the formation of the Shuswap Emergency Program, attending his last meeting just over a week before he sadly passed. Ron was a dedicated and committed volunteer who loved helping others and was always prepared for any event where he was needed. Over the years as a volunteer, Ron received many awards. In 2017, he was honoured with the Emergency Management BC’s Public Safety Lifeline Volunteer Award for lifetime achievement.

Ron thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Shuswap Amateur Radio Club, which he joined in 1993. In 2014, Ron was awarded a lifetime membership. Ron and his HAM radio buddies liked going to Jane’s Place Restaurant at Picadilly Mall every Tuesday and Saturday. They were treated like royalty and had such a wonderful time chatting together. When Jane’s Place was unfortunately closed due to COVID, the guys kept in touch on the Net and Zoom. Ron also looked forward to and enjoyed checking in with the Vernon Net every Sunday morning, and running an 8:00 pm Net Sunday evenings. Ron’s last Net and Zoom meetings were on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.

Ron is survived by his son, Christopher (Janie McCallum) in North Vancouver, his daughter, Karen (David Schatzky) in Toronto, his loving partner, Patsy Butler (Lund) and by his many wonderful friends.

Ron is predeceased by his wife, Jane, his brothers, Evan and George and his sisters, Moneta and Leah.  

We would like to thank everyone who lovingly cared for Ron throughout his battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, including Dr. Delorme and staff, Dr. Edmondson and staff and colleagues, as well as the paramedics, nurses and staff at Shuswap Lake General Hospital. Ron’s time in Oncology, while undergoing chemo, infusions, and transfusions, was made much more bearable by the friendly, caring and compassionate nurses and staff. They really were a family and Ron spoke so highly and with much love for everyone there. Thanks to all of you.

A memorial tea will be held at a later date.

Donations in Ron’s memory may be made to the Shuswap Hospital Foundation – Oncology Ward.

‘When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.’

Sincerely Patsy Butler, Christopher Essex, Karen Essex


  1. So sorry to hear of the loss, I remember Mr, Essex in Shuswap School as a Librainian, such a kind general man. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. I also remember him, when my Mom and I, went on a bird sanctuary tour, him and his wife were there to. He always would say hi to me, wherever I seen him on the street, etc.

    From all the Swenson girls.

  2. I knew Ron as “Mr. Essex” from my time at Shuswap Junior High and he was probably responsible for planting the “radio bug” in my head. He was one of my favourite teachers at Shuswap, and I was saddened to read of his passing in the last copy of “The Canadian Amateur” magazine from RAC.

    I never did end up joining the radio club in school, but ended up getting my amateur radio license later in life. While visiting my in-laws in Enderby a few years ago, I managed to re-connect with Ron on the weekly net on the Vernon repeater, which was a great experience as a new HAM.

    My sincerest condolences to Ron’s family, and anyone who knew him.

    73 DE VE7LXC

  3. Our late mother, Moneta Neighbor, was Ron’s sister. We, her family, are saddened to have learned of Ron’s passing and extend our condolences to Patsy, Christopher, Janie, Karen and David. Over the years Ron maintained consistent contact with Moneta, who always enjoyed his calls. He also sent detailed, annual letters with photos to us. We treasured the contacts we had with him in person. He will be remembered as a kind, interested and interesting uncle.

  4. My condolences to the Essex Family.

    He was a great teacher and mentor to all of the students that were fortunate to have know him. I am sure he will be missed.

  5. Troy and I are very saddened by Mr. Essex passing. He was an inspiration to all his students and his volunteer work. Our condolences to his family. Troy and Susan Clifford
    Overdue book award recipient 1982

  6. He was always kind and caring. His library was a safe oasis in a chaotic and tumultuous place- during a very challenging period of his students’ lives. He made a real difference in our lives. He will be missed.

  7. Sending condolences to family. On the loss of your loved one.
    My late wife Phyllis new Ron quite well. Unfortunately I did not know him so well.

  8. Sorry to hear of Ron’s departure. Hadn’t heard from him for awhile till I heard of his death today.
    High school, Ham and Harley chum. Leo Oyer, Kamloops. Formerly Powell River

  9. We are saddened to hear of Ron’s passing. Ron’s legacy in Amateur Radio will continue long into the future. His commitment to others was apparent, whether he was working for his home community or for Amateur Radio as a whole. It was always a pleasure to see him at the Amateur Radio events. He will not be forgotten.

    Bill and Fumi Crowther, VE7VTC & VE7VTE

  10. Our sincerest condolences to Ron’s family. We were shocked, surprised and saddened to hear of Ron’s passing.
    He was a true gentleman and a good friend. He will be missed by everyone particularly those in the Amateur Radio (Ham)
    Ken and Marge Hoshowski, VE7FP & VE&DML
    Kamloops BC

  11. Mr Essex was the best librarian. I enjoyed his smile. Well loved and missed. Never forgotten.

  12. My Condolences to the family! I had Mr Essex for my English Teacher way back in the 1980”s & he was absolutely a great teacher& he was great to chat with when he had the time .You will be greatly missed! ..

  13. Our condolences to the Essex family-Ron was a wonderful man and will be remembered by many people in the school and volunteer community.

  14. Our condolences to the family. Hoping you will find comfort knowing Ron and his work will not be forgotten. VE7RZZ and VE7RZE

  15. So sorry to hear the news of Ron’s passing. I first met Ron about 10 years ago when he was running an Amateur Radio class for the Shuswap Amateur Radio Club (where he was a heavily involved member). I was a student in that class and Ron played a key role in being my first ‘Elmer’ or mentor in the hobby. We’ve seen each other annually since then and I also heard him on the radio repeaters almost every week. I hope I can speak for other Shuswap club students in the hobby that Ron was a fantastic teacher and friend. In our hobby he is now called a ‘Silent Key’ and will be always remembered fondly. A minute of silence for Ron was held on the NORAC Sunday Net this past Sunday (May 30th 2021) in memory of Ron. As a past NORAC member Ron will also be commemorated as a Silent Key on our website.


  16. My condolences to all of Ron’s family. So sorry to hear of Ron’s passing.

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