Gary Gunniss Shepheard was born on Moss Street in Victoria, to Harold & Mae on December 16th,1940. He was the oldest boy, followed by Gayle, Lynn and Richard, and was the fourth generation of his Victoria family. His parents lived in the Willows area on Hamiota Street. They then moved to Gary's grandparents on Toronto Street in James Bay while his Dad built in 1949- 1950 their home on Scolton Road in Cadboro Bay. Much time was spent playing on the beach. He had a very happy childhood. Gary had to go to Doncaster school as no primary school had been opened in the Cadboro Bay Area. He was then in the first classes to go to the new Landsdowne Junior High school for grades 7,8,9.
He learned to drive at 14 years old, a truck for the McPherson family to help cut the hay fields for them, on the land which is now the grounds of the University of Victoria campus. He bought his first car at 16 years of age. With his freedom, he was not home much, except to eat and sleep. He was now going to Oak Bay High School, playing with cars, and was known to party and have fun. He liked a good time. A few times he crashed parties he'd hear his sister's Lynn & Gayle talk about. They sometimes didn't admit he was their brother. Lynn & her girl friend named him "Fat Boy" and some friends still call him by his nickname. Gary left Oak Bay School High school in grade 11 because he got caught skipping school. His Dad said if he did it again he would have to go to work at the Queen's Printer, where his Dad worked. He started working there and 2 years later, in 1957, was offered an apprenticeship. Gary loved his job and had a wonderful record of service, only missing one day of work in 38 years of service. He was a union rep for close to 20 years. During those years he had some hot cars and got involved in Drag Racing and building a car with his partners, Bert Sweeting and Larry Whitman. They had one of the first dragsters on the island and raced at San Cobble track and travelled to Mission, Alberta, and to Washington State NHRA. This was 50 years ago.
Gary and Bert had lots of fun in these years, but the people they met and became friends with during their racing days earned them lots of trophies.
At age 30, in 1970, most of this friends were married and had families. On August 14th of 1971 Gary married Janet Ford and took on her 3 kids. What a brave guy. To Jan's surprise it worked pretty well and they bought a house on Townley Street and lived very happily there for 24 years. When he bought on Townley his new neighbours were Wally and Carol Lum. Wally and Gary had known each other in Doncaster School. Wally had also raced at Western Speedway. He introduced Gary to his love of fishing. Wally took Gary to China Creek on a fishing trip and this became Gary and Jan's favourite fishing place. He also fished Gold River, Sooke, Barkley Sound, and French Creek.
Gary re-mortgaged the house to buy a boat and began 48 years of going to China Creek. Many great friendships were made there. Our family is one of the original permanent campers to be in the park. The kids, grandchildren and all of the family came and were taught to fish. They always received lots of sockeye, springs, prawns, and Gary's awesome Smoked Salmon. They always looked forward to getting gifts from the sea. He also had a fishing derby started by his Dad and Uncles in the 50’s on Thanksgiving weekend at Bowser. It was a Bucktail Coho Derby. The group ended up calling themselves the "Bowser Bums".
When Gary retired in 1996 at age 55, they moved to Parksville. They then travelled winters (always after Xmas) and fished the summers. Gary and Jan saw more of the world than they ever thought they would. They made 27 trips to Mexico and a trip to Bermuda with long-time friend Don Shaw. A month on the Big Island with Evelyn Moisher. Three times to Australia where they met a lot of Jan's down under family. Cruised through the Panama Canal. Great cruise holidays to South East Asia and China, New Zealand, New York and fall cruises up the Eastern Coast to Canada to see the fall colours.
Gary shared many family holidays with family friends, it was a happy busy life. If he was talking with you now, after not being well the last 18 months, he would tell you, "Enjoy each day to the fullest, and don't put off anything you would like to do, till tomorrow. Life's too short, so always look for Joy, Love and Lots of Laughter.”
Love ❤️ and Hugs from Gary, Jan and our Family to you all.
I would also like to thank the Oceanside Hospice for being so caring, considerate and helpful to our family at this time. Their website is www.oceansidehospice.com if you would like to make a donation in lieu of flowers in Gary's name.
Lives Cherished and Celebrated