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Obituary of Stan BLAKE
Stan was born in Birmingham, England under unknown circumstances on April 3, 1929. He was raised by his mother and grandparents until the age of 6, at which time he was placed in care at the Middlemore Home for Children. A year later he and a small contingent of other emigrant children were sent to Canada on a steamliner, The Duchess of Atholl, to begin a new life at the Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm School located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. The property, near Cowichan Station, spanned over 1,100 acres. The children shared a cottage with their house mother and spent their time doing daily chores, attending school, playing sports, farming the fields and tending to the livestock. Stan would come away from this experience with several life-lasting friendships, which he cherished. He always spoke very positively about his experience at Fairbridge and believed that it provided him with many opportunities in life that he otherwise wouldn’t have had. After leaving Fairbridge Farm School at the age of 16, Stan worked at various jobs in and around the Province before eventually attending the University of British Columbia where he began studies in Philosophy. At some point he changed his focus and set his sights on becoming a Chartered Accountant. After graduating and becoming an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Stan worked at the CRA, eventually setting up his own practice, which would span the next 45 years. While in Vancouver, Stan met and married Maureen, and they spent 20 years together living in West Vancouver while raising a family. Their adventurous spirits brought them back to Vancouver Island on many occasions while the children were young, and it wasn’t long before they found and purchased the family cottage in Qualicum Beach, which would end up being their permanent summer home for just over a decade. Stan fondly referred to Qualicum as “paradise” and would often speak of all the magical memories there. Stan was a loyal friend to many; a man of his word, with a keen wit and a wry sense of humor. He was kind and generous, and he was forever an optimist. He had many uniquely Stan modes of conveying sentiment - usually in the form of a gesture - a waving of his arm and hand, or a quick rise of the eyebrows, sometimes accompanied in tandem with a quick roll of the eyes. Those who knew Stan, will know what this looked like. He was an avid reader and attained a great mastery of words. If you were ever in his presence while he was entertaining a thought, you would often be rewarded with a cleverly crafted reply - usually succinct and thoughtful . Stan’s enduring passion from a relatively young age was the game of golf. It provided him with many enduring friendships, and accompanying adventures abroad. Stan was a long time member of the University Golf Course and on almost every Sunday he could be found - in all kinds of weather, walking the local fairways, and stopping to enjoy a beer afterward. He also somehow managed to work Thursday afternoons into his permanent golf schedule and continued to share his love of the game with a steady group of friends throughout his active life. Stan’s other great past-time took place in many of the local billiards halls in and around the downtown area. He enjoyed many good times with friends at the Legion, and in his later years at the West Vancouver’s Senior Activity Centre. His enjoyment of snooker was similar to that of golf, in that he took the greatest pleasure in making the lowest percentage shot. This would be immediately followed by a facial expression denying luck had anything to do with the result, but if you could hold his gaze long enough you would always get a smile. Stan’s greatest pride in life was most undeniably in his children, Simon and Wendy. It would be commonplace to hear Stan talking about his son and daughter using their nicknames “Number one (son)” and “Princess”. He was a wonderful father and found his greatest comfort in knowing that his children and their families were happy and well. During the last seven years of his life, Stan had the good fortune of relocating back to the Island and found himself living at the Kiwanis Village in Victoria, and very near to his daughter and her family. In his residency at Heatherington House (Kiwanis Village), Stan was lucky to develop several meaningful friendships and was cared for and admired with great love and respect. Up until the last few months of his life, Stan could oftentimes be seen by passers by, sitting outside the Viv Centre, set up in his chair, relaxing contemplatively and contentedly while gazing out at the world. This is quite certainly how he is keeping a watch now, always with a smile on his face.
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