January-March 2017

Charles "Lofty" Alexander Aird

Charlie Aird was born in London, England, on October 18, 1925, and was a true Cockney having been born at Rose Alley, within the sound of Bow Bells. Son of a London “bobbie”, he served in WW II, first as a youthful homeguard member, and later in the Royal Navy where he served as a seaman on several of Her Majesty’s frigates, including the Cleopatra and Ramelies. After being invalided out of Portsmouth Naval Station where he contracted pneumonia while on nightwatch, Charlie was treated at Gosport Naval Hospital and then while recuperating, for the good of his health was sent to the Mediterranean and subsequently the Far East where he participated in the liberation of Singapore. The pneumonia resulted in a lung infection that dogged him for the rest of his life.

Post-war, Charlie came to Canada and was employed in Alberta as an electrician and later in Whitehorse by the Army in support of maintenance of the Alaska Highway where he developed a fascination with the wilderness and began prospecting. In 1953, with partners Wally Green and Chuck Hankin, he discovered the Wallgreen nickel-platinum property in the Kluane Range of Yukon that was subsequently explored by Hudson Bay Mining and Exploration and which enabled Charlie to buy a Chev car, the future classic 1955 model, and enter the University of British Columbia as an undergraduate. As a summer student he was employed by Mackenzie Syndicate, managed by Len White, that explored what became the Cantung tungsten mine. With Don Rotherham he co-authored the first technical report on the deposit.  After graduation, he was employed by Utah Mines Ltd. in southeast Alaska and also participated with Art Humphrey, Ed Rugg, Gerry Noel, Harold Jones and others in the discovery and exploration of Gordon Milbourn’s Port Hardy, B.C. prospect that became the Island porphyry copper deposit.  Employment as a senior geologist for Vangulf Exploration and district exploration manager for Esso Minerals followed.

Both in Whitehorse and Vancouver, Charlie was active in the BC & Yukon Chamber of Mines (now AME) as a member of several committees and served as President from 1986 - 1987. The Wellgreen deposit that propelled Charlie into university has undergone several generations of exploration and academic studies have contributed greatly to the understanding of alpine-type ultramafic-hosted mineral deposits but the discovery never gave Charlie any further rewards.

Charlie married Audrey Muncey in June 1961. By coincidence, Audrey had been employed as nurse at the Wellgreen minesite by HBM&S but they only met in Vancouver! They enjoyed 57 years of married life and enjoyed sailing the “Scalawag” in the Strait of Georgia, even circumnavigating Vancouver Island, and traveling with Elderhostel and UBC tours and with their sailing comrades among the Greek islands.  In retirement, they maintained strong friendships with colleagues in the mining industry, attended numerous jazz festivals, and travelled to Ireland and Norway. A visit to London enabled Charlie to revisit his roots and to his delight, find his birth records in St Botolph church in Aldgate.

Charlie and Audrey lived in Point Grey until 2014 when failing health required a move to Yaletown House in Yaletown, Vancouver where they received the best of kind and gentle care and where Audrey continues to reside.  In addition to many friends and colleagues in the mineral exploration industry, they are remembered by Lorne and Anne Ball and Erik and Lynne Ostensoe and their families, their lifelong friends with whom they spent many happy times.

Eric W. Denny

Eric was born in Nelson on April 24, 1923 to Norman and Mary Denny of Willow Point and passed away peacefully at Summerland, BC on January 17, 2017. He married Peggy MacLeod of Proctor on May 4, 1951 celebrating their 65th anniversary during 2016. Eric joined the Air Force immediately on turning 18 in 1941, serving overseas as an airframe mechanic on Lancaster Bombers. After returning at the end of the war he was a self employed logger owning his own sawmill, plus in later years he became well known for danger tree falling. His passion was always prospecting and he took every opportunity to head for the hills, eventually turning it into the only thing he did. A few of his part time jobs were working on wharves and the pile driver on Kootenay and Arrow Lakes plus he was the guide for the Columbia River survey when they periodically measured the glaciers in Kokanee Park. He became a life member of the Chamber of Mines of Eastern BC in recognition of his volunteering, advocating for mining and always helping anyone who was interested. He was an instructor for the prospecting class for several years and often hosted school classes at the chamber. In 1993 he became a life member of the BC & Yukon Chamber of Mines, now AME, and he was recognized by winning the H. H. “Spud” Huestis Award for excellence in prospecting and mineral exploration in British Columbia. Eric wrote a small book called West Arm Echoes, a history of Willow Point based on a series of interviews with all the local old-timers, which became the 1967 Willow Point Centennial project. 

Eric was predeceased by his sister Joyce Woods and son-in-law Blair Donaldson and is survived by his wife Peggy, his daughter Heather Donaldson and son Jack (Linda) Denny with grandchildren Murray, Rhonda, Bob and Brandy. He also leaves six great-grandchildren and several other extended family. 
The family would like to thank Dr. Krabbe and the Summerland Seniors Village for their compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to any organization or charity of your choice in Eric’s memory. A memorial service was held February 11, 2017 at the Thompson Funeral home in Nelson.

Juhan (John) Kalmet

After a brief but determined fight, Juhan (John) succumbed to a rare form of thyroid cancer on January 30, 2017 at the age of 79 years. Born in Rakvere, Estonia, John fled to Sweden during WWII with his mother and uncle, and later immigrated to Canada in 1948, initially living in Vancouver and then Toronto. John graduated from the University of Toronto in Mining Engineering, and immediately started his career with the Noranda Group. Upon marrying his wife Maria, he and his family were transferred several times across Ontario, Saskatchewan and B.C., finally settling in Tsawwassen, B.C. in 1982. After achieving "Quarter Century Club" status with Noranda, John joined Canada Tungsten, and then culminated his career as President and COO of Wheaton River Minerals. After retiring, he remained as a director for several mining companies, but then launched a new 15 year career of travelling the world to far flung places. Predeceased by his father Juhan, his twin sons Juhan and Anthony, his uncle Karl, his mother Karin, and his stepfather Eerik, John will be forever cherished by his loving wife of 47 years, Maria; his daughters Kristina (Lee), Astrid, and Natalie (Jeremy); his sister Anne (Tõnu); his brother-in-law Fernando (Jen); his most favourite people Keegan, Kaelin, Greta, and Magnus, in addition to his special nieces and nephews. The family thanks the wonderful staff at Delta Hospital who gave John tremendous care towards the end of his fight. A celebration of John's life was held at Delta Funeral Home,  Ladner, BC on Friday, February 3, 2017. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in John's memory to the Delta Hospital Foundation. Though we may no longer hear the words in person, we will never forget your vast knowledge, sage advice, and many adventures off the beaten path. 

Gudmund (Bing) Lovang

Bing Lovang, a member of The Mining Men and Life Member of AME, passed away on February 20, 2017. Bing was a prospector and exploration and camp manager for Teck Corporation.

Anthony (Tony) Julien Petrina

In your mind's ear you can hear that voice, that deep, rich, comforting voice that signals it's all going to be okay because Tony is here. Sadly, Tony slipped beyond the horizon on March 27, but still, even today, you can hear him telling you it's all going to be okay. After a lengthy fight to hang on and squeeze the most out of every day he had, Tony said goodbye to his loving family. While he may have departed, his presence will forever be felt.

His life is that of a Horatio Alger novel, a story of an impoverished young man who beat the odds. Tony was born in the shadow of the smoke stacks of Sudbury and came of age down the road in Geraldton, Ontario. He leapt into mining as a high school student, lying about his age to work underground alongside his father, then left home and childhood behind at the age of 16; but the life of a tramp miner was not the one he was destined to live. After graduating with an Engineering degree from Queens' University in 1959, Tony was on his way to an audaciously successful career that saw him rise to the very top of the Canadian mining industry. When he wasn't at the helm of Canada's largest gold producer, Tony sat as either a Director or Chairman for over a dozen resource-based companies, associations, and charities. To suggest his life was only about mining, however, would be a misrepresentation of a man who most loved his wife, his children, and his grandchildren. It was on a blind date on January 1, 1955 that Tony met Gloria, the woman who would be his forever love. By 1960, BC was calling. Merritt would be their new home. And just a stone's throw away lay Nicola Lake, a place that would become and remains a family sanctuary. The Petrina children would spend endless days and nights there wrapped in the warmth of family. Tony would putter away in the mornings, fixing this or that. And in the afternoon, he would sink into his favourite chair beside the lake and get lost in the one of several books he was devouring. Friends of the Petrina family always knew they could drop by for a visit, have a meal and enjoy a beverage. Tony always welcomed additions to his tight-knit family. With the eagerly anticipated arrival of his grandchildren, Tony was dubbed Dan Dan – a name he resisted but eventually grew to wear with pride. Being a grandfather was a role he cherished and it seemed as though he had spent his entire life preparing for it. Tony was known to be a man of great integrity. He had no time for pretentious people, but always welcomed and was genuinely interested in people from all walks of life. He had a reputation for being as comfortable with a chainsaw as he was in the boardroom. 

Tony Petrina, everything you did, you did with the best of intentions and you gave it all you had. You made a difference. Tony is survived by his wife Gloria; children Michael (Auri), Susan, Jennifer (Darrell), David (Jeanette); grandchildren Nicholas, Georgia, Anthony (Jackson), and Sam; brother Ronnie Petrina and sister Donna Schindel.

Please consider making a donation in Tony's memory to: St. Paul's Hospital Foundation or donating blood to: The Canadian Blood Services. Visit www.mbfunerals.com to send a personal condolence.

Robert Arthur (Bob) Spencer

Bob, an AME Life Member, was born April 6. 1926 in Stettler, Alberta; and died January 21, 2017 in Vernon, BC. He was predeceased by his first wife Peggy in 2001 and his sister Isabelle in 2016, and survived by his second wife Thelma Irvine of Vernon. He is also survived by daughters Elaine in Burnaby and Kerry (David) Waters in Kelowna, two granddaughters and two great granddaughters and John and Lynn Irvine of Vernon, Leslie Irvine and Rob Apps of Vernon, Brian and Shelley Irvine of Quick, Sandra Irvine and Leo DeGroot of Nelson, and Jim and Linda Irvine of Protection Island. 
Bob was a very proud alumnus of University of Alberta, Faculty of Engineering 1948. After graduation he was hired by Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company of Canada (later Cominco and now Teck Resources Limited) where he spent his entire professional life. Bob’s job took the family to many places in Canada but he was happy to make his final move to Vernon, his favourite place in BC. 
Bob had lifelong interests in Canadian history, especially railways, stamp collecting, curling, and camping across Canada. He had special interest in the Britannia Mining Museum and The West Coast Railway Association in Squamish. 

The family would like to thank Heritage Square for all the care and compassion they gave Bob during his stay. A memorial service was held on February 17, 2017 at Pleasant Valley Funeral Home in Vernon at 1:00 PM. 

No flowers please. If you wish, donations to Parkinson’s Society British Columbia would be appreciated or your preferred charity. Arrangements have been entrusted to Vernon Funeral Home; condolences may be offered at www.vernonfuneralhome.com. 

Jay Kent Taylor

With profound sadness, we announce the peaceful passing of our beloved and loving husband, father and grandfather, Jay Kent Taylor, in his home in Birch Bay, Washington on January 4, 2017.

Jay is survived by his wife, soul mate and joy of his life, Florence Taylor and children: Kevin (Cherie) Taylor; Denise Taylor (Ryan Chamness) and Trevor Taylor. He leaves behind, siblings Sherrill (Blaine) Nelson, Glenn (Janice) Taylor, Micheline (Will) McKay and Sidney (Catherine) Taylor. Cherished grandchildren: Spencer and Marissa (Taylor) and Ethan Chamness.

Jay was born June 21, 1946 in Burnaby, BC, the eldest son of Sidney and Mavis Taylor. After spending most of his childhood years growing up in South Burnaby, Jay continued his post-secondary education completing professional degrees in geological and mining engineering at the University of British Columbia.

Jay worked as a global pioneer in mining spanning the last 33 years of his career leading Placer Dome Inc. The challenges opened doors for both Jay and Florence to live abroad in Canada, Chile, South America, and The United States of America.

After retiring, Jay continued his hobbies in classic car restoration, as well as travel with his many friends and family. He took pride in seeing all his family pursue their education and dreams. He had an enormous impact on all those who knew and worked with him. Most of all, Jay loved his wife, children and grandchildren and they will miss him immensely. 

The family will be confirming a future date for his celebration of life. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Bellingham Peace Health Hospice Society. 

To leave a condolence for the family, please visit www.sigsfuneralservices.com.

All my love forever......... 

Jüri (George) Vooro

Died peacefully February 23 at the Kiwanis Pavilion, Victoria, BC. George was born February 14 in Antsla, Estonia eldest child to Hermann and Nelli. "I'm Estonian by birth and a proud Canadian; in response to the question, 'What is the origin of your name?'" The war years were difficult for the family after his Father was taken away by the Russians and sent to Siberia. George was only 10 and required to work and help on the family farm in Estonia at an early age. Following a perilous overland journey from Estonia to Germany, as both the Russian and German armies advanced, the family were temporarily settled in an immigration camp in Germany, where he worked at various odd jobs to help the family income.

Immigration to Canada came in January, 1948 where he was able to establish himself and sponsor his Mother and 3 siblings the following year. He made his pledge to Canada and became a citizen in 1958.
Mining was his forte beginning in 1948 at Campbell Red Lake Mine in Ontario to his retirement in 1998 as Owner, President/CEO of Hillsborough Resources Ltd, operator of Quinsam Coal Corporation in Campbell River, BC. The many stops in between included all of Canada, USA, Ireland, Brazil and Mexico. His life was consumed with work related travel, frequently for weeks at a time. He was a workaholic with an enormous sense of responsibility. Enduring friendships were formed throughout the lengthy career. With half century of service to the Canadian mining industry, he truly became an outstanding and expert miner.

He was a life member of Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and Mine Suppliers Association of BC.

George had a passion for fishing. The cold water lakes of northern Ontario and BC drew him, but the lure of the grander left him chasing marlin from Mexico to Hawaii to Madeira Island. Our last boat Goldbar made fishing for salmon and halibut off the west coast of Vancouver Island a pleasurable challenge.
George's leisure time was filled with gardening, fruit trees, grape vines, and vegetables to supply family, friends and a neighbourhood. His flower gardens of riotous colour were always enjoyed and admired by passersby. 

Sailing the oceans of the world aboard a cruise ship also occupied the 19 years of retirement. Still it took 4 years to convince him to go on a cruise. Our first cruise was thru the Panama Canal and he loved it-the food, the entertainment, the new friends, new ports, the engineering marvel of the Canal.

On one of our early cruises, a gift to Lynn was a hand painted shawl purchased in Puerto Vallarta. In return he received what was to become his favourite shirt - worn at first with great reluctance - too loud, not his style, out of his comfort zone-until the compliments each and every time he wore it. George's shirt and Lynn's shawl were never left at home as we went off on another adventure. 

When the time is right, the shirt, the shawl, George and Lynn will go to sea together one more time, where he will be set free on the ocean he so loved.

Left behind to miss him, Lynn, his wife of 35 years, son Matt, daughter Yvonne (Phil), grandchildren Josh, Lexie and Brandon, great granddaughter Brooklyn. His brothers Matt (Margie), Hans, sister Malle (Vic) will miss their big brother as will his nieces and nephews miss their uncle. His family remaining in Estonia and many friends around the world share our sorrow.

We extend our gratitude to the staff at Kiwanis Pavilion, Dr Tim Troughton and the other doctors of the Torch Team for their compassion, support and understanding while George was in their excellent care.

Life celebration will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Kiwanis Pavilion Foundation www.kiwanispavilion.ca, CIM Foundation https://www.cim.org or charity of choice.

Louis Wolfin
d. 2017

It is with heartfelt sadness that the family of Louis Wolfin announces the passing of our loving husband, father, brother, grandfather and father-in-law. He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years Joan, and children LeeAnn Wolfin, Lisa Wayrynen, Samra Mitchum, and David Wolfin, daughter-in-law Debbie Wolfin, son-in-law Matt Wayrynen and sister Sandy Roy. He was a proud grandpa to his precious grandchildren Allexanne, Talin, Taisha, Skyla, Ryan and Amanda. Born in Winnipeg from immigrant parents from Belarus as a young man he made Vancouver home and found his bride from Australia. He had a stellar career in the mining industry with the success of the pyramid mines in the 1960's, reopening the Avino mine in Durango, Mexico and the Bralorne Mine in British Columbia and the Coral gold property in Nevada. In the 1970's was involved in the first disposable camera, owned the patent on holograms and had a keyless door lock entry system that is only coming to the market now. He was a true visionary. He had an open door policy and was a mentor to many people in the mining business. He was a true giver with a large heart. He had many friends all over the world as he travelled extensively. He was a generous person and a contributor the VGH hospital heart division, the Vancouver police, RCMP, and many Jewish organizations including planting 2000 trees in Israel in honor of his parents. The funeral was at Har El Synagogue Tuesday March 7, 2017. Although you are in our hearts and we have many fond memories, we will miss you forever.