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