July 3, 1926 – January 13, 2023
at the age of 96 years:
Please join us for an Acadian lunch to celebrate the life of Bernie on Saturday, May 27, 2023, 12pm, Notch Hill Hall, 1639 Notch Hill Road, Sorrento, BC
Bernie passed quietly at Bastion Place after a brief illness, on January 13 at age 96.
He was born in Moncton, New Brunswick on July 3, 1926. He was predeceased by his wife of 48 years, Beryl (1998); his parents, Lévi and Loretta; his brothers Rudy (Flora), Eric (Annie) and Pierre (Honorine) and sister Stella (Henri). Left to remember him fondly are sister-in-law Annie; brother-in-law Henri; his large extended family and many longtime friends.
Bernie joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1944 at the age of 18. He worked as a surveyor with the Mapping and Charting Department of the Royal Canadian Engineers and rose to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer.
He travelled throughout the northern wilderness by dogsled and packhorse train during the postwar years when the defense of the North was a priority for the Canadian Military. He surveyed and mapped areas of the country that had not been precisely charted until then. He was awarded a Centennial Medal in 1967 for his contributions.
He and Beryl moved from Ottawa to BC in 1973. It didn’t take long for Bernie to become actively involved in the Sorrento community. He worked as a contractor building houses, he participated on the Sorrento Water Board and was a member of the Shuswap Volunteer Fire Department. He was honoured as Citizen of the Year in 1989.
Bernie was never idle and he truly enjoyed being around people. He loved spending time at Romyn’s farm in Notch Hill; hosting parties and preparing delicious food for his friends and neighbours. In his retirement he learned to ride a motorcycle, fly an ultralight and he travelled across Canada in a converted school bus with his restored 1928 Ford Model A in the back.
Even after suffering a stroke, he never lost his zest for life. From the comfort and confines of his recliner, he still managed to give good advice, get his neighbours to attend to his needs like a well-disciplined military unit, enjoy a glass of rum with his friends on Friday nights and hand out jars of New Brunswick lobster to anyone who dropped by. He still loved good food and had a twinkle in his eye until the end.
Sincere gratitude to all the Community Care Aides and neighbours who took such good care of Bernie for many years; allowing him to live in his home for as long as possible; to the staff at Bastion who gave him loving care and comfort in his last year and to Dr. Osmond for her genuine compassion.
Bernie was a proud Acadian, which showed in his joie de vivre, good times shared with friends and his deep connection with his family’s history.
À la prochaine, mon ami.
A celebration of Bernie’s life will take place at the Notch Hill Hall, 1639 Notch Hill Rd, Sorrento, at 11:00 a.m. on May 27, 2023. Everyone is welcome. If you would like to honour Bernie’s memory, donations may be made to the Shuswap Branch of the BCSPCA. Many an orphaned cat found love, comfort and safety in Bernie’s home.
Henri Thomas and family send their sympathies to Bernie’s friends and family. Will miss you Uncle Bernie
Henri, Claude, Monique, Lucie and Pauline
The Canadian Military Engineers extend to you and your family our deepest sympathies in your time of sorrow upon the passing of Bernard Gallant.
Major General D. Benjamin, CMM, CD (Retired)
Colonel Commandant of the Canadian Military Engineers
Bernie was one of the Shuswap’s last Second World War veterans. He joined the Army in New Brunswick in 1944 and after the war, while still serving, he worked for the Mapping and Charting Organization in Ottawa, from which he retired. I was honoured to have been able to write up his record of service for the BC/Yukon Military Service Recognition Book. Bernie had been a member of The Royal Canadian Legion for over 45 years and was a well known attendee at the Saturday meat draws .