Smith, Gary Willard

September 22, 1951 – May 26, 2023
at the age of 71 years:     

It is with great sadness we announce the sudden passing of Gary Willard Smith, May 26, 2023, at Bastion Hospice in Salmon Arm, BC.

Gary was born September 22, 1951, in Regina, Saskatchewan. At 13-years-old Gary moved with his family to Richmond, BC. He started UBC in 1969 and went on to earn a Biology degree with Honours, a teaching certificate from SFU and a Masters Degree in Administration, from University of Oregon.

Gary spent 33 years teaching in Fort St. John starting at Bert Bowes, in 1978 and retiring from NPSS in 2011, when he retired to the Shuswap.

Gary was with his wife, Brenda, for 54 years. What we will miss most about Gary was his enthusiasm for all things. Gary loved being outdoors and spent many trips hunting and fishing. His strength was being in the water. Gary renewed his PADI licence several years ago and on his last trip to Mexico, he scuba dived a wreck dive with his son and daughter-in-law. On his last trip to Costa Rica in February he was snorkelling and zip lining. 

Gary is predeceased by his parents, Mary and Gerry Smith, and his in-laws, Archie and Ethel MacKay.

Gary is survived by his devoted and loyal wife, Brenda, daughter Amber Leonty (Vincent), son Christian Smith (Claudia), and his four beloved grandsons, Avery, Miles, Zach and Xavier. Gary asked immediate family to gather on the pontoon boat to spread his ashes on Shuswap Lake.

Some family and friends are planting ‘Gary trees’, in his memory, which pleased him very much. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a charity of your choice.


  1. Brenda, I was shocked when another NPSS colleague shared this sad news about Gary with me. He was such a help to me when I was TTOCing there. He and I made an immediate connection when he told me his grandmother was from Orangedale. This is yet another example of a great person taken way too soon. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family.

  2. You are in my thoughts daily. I remember the first time I met Gary, your red headed “heart throb”. He will be missed dearly. Our most sincere condolences go out to you, Brenda and your family. Take one day at a time.

  3. I have known Gary since he was 17 when he met my good friend Brenda. I have always been so grateful they met and shared a rich and wonderful life together. Sincere condolences to Brenda and all the family. Love, Karen Erickson (and Rob Grant)

  4. We send our deepest condolences to you and your family, Brenda. We talk about Gary’s ready smile, his generosity, his sense of fun and adventure, and we remember.
    Much love to you,
    Margaret and Peter

  5. I am very shocked and saddened to hear this news. You are in my thoughts and prayers Brenda, I am so sorry to hear of this loss. Big hugs to you and your kids. Lori and the girls

  6. Gary will be extremely missed by us and many others. Our sincere condolences to his family which he loved dearly

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