Gary Steeves was born and educated in Moncton, New Brunswick. He attended Mount Allison University in Sackville where he studied economics and political science.
While attending University he worked at various mines and mills in the West and the North of Canada.
Gary's commitment to the labour movement started early - he was a shop steward for Local 168 of the Rock and Tunnel Worker's Union in Stewart in 1973 and 1974.
During the 1970's, Gary worked in the research departments of both the Canadian Labour Congress and the Canadian Union of Public Employees. For six years he worked in the House of Commons as an Executive Assistant to a Member of Parliament. Gary was involved in organizing and was the first president of the Parliamentary Association of Support Staff at the House of Commons in 1976.
He met Marina in 1978 and they were married in October 1979 after he was hired in Burnaby by the BC Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU).
Gary served as a Research Officer, Arbitration Representative, Assistant Director of Membership Services, Coordinator of Technical Support Services and as a Regional Coordinator.
He was the Director of Field Services and Organizing from May 1993 until his retirement in June 2004.
He was a tireless advocate for improving working conditions for union members and was also a community activist working on social and environmental issues even after his retirement in 2004.
Gary served on numerous government boards and agencies including the Industry Training and Apprenticeship Commission, the Contract Training and Marketing Society and the BC and the Labour Force Development Board from its creation in 1994 until it was disbanded in 1996.
He held various positions in the union movement including executive council member of the BC Federation of Labour from 1999 to 2004 and on the board of the Labour Heritage Centre from 2004 to 2015. Upon retirement, he ran for and was elected to the Islands Trust where he served for 10 years as Trustee, nine of them as Vice Chair.
Gary was renowned for his extensive knowledge of Labour History. This autumn he published a book, Tranquility Lost, which documents the events that took place in1983 as BCGEU members came together, ousted management and ran the Tranquille School for people with developmental delays in Kamloops. Gary played a key part in the occupation supporting union members.
Gary is survived by his beloved wife, of 41 years, Marina Horvath; his sisters Shelly Steeves and Bonnie Steeves, her daughter and grandchildren; his "kids" Angeline Brandt and Cayle Rogers; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Lana (Horvath) and Larry Wise; their children and grandchildren; many cousins and their families and many dear friends.
Gary's funeral will be held at St. Sophia's Russian Orthodox Church in Victoria on Saturday, December 12, followed by internment at Pender Island Cemetery. Due to Covid-19, attendance is limited to immediate family. A celebration of life will be held a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Pender Island Health Care Society, (5712 Canal Road, Pender Island, BC, V0N 2M2)by clicking on donations in the left menu. He served as the organization’s President and held it very near and dear to his heart.