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David Wakelin

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David Wakelin

September 8, 1945 - April 3, 2020

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It is with profound sadness that I announce the passing of my beloved husband of fifty-three years. Dave took his last breath shortly before 6am on April 3rd with our two sons and myself at the bedside. Over the last four and a half years, Dave struggled with a debilitating and progressive illness that eventually took away his speech and mobility. He was a fighter and battled to the very end. As a consequence of his neurologic decline, he suffered an aspiration event that proved overwhelming for his weakened state. He was predeceased by his mom, Margaret in 1992, and his dad Lorne in 2009. Besides myself, Dave is survived by his sister, Jeanette Taylor (Joe), and his two sons Don (Cynthia) and Rob (Mindy). He has also left a legacy to five grandchildren – Asher (5), Cole (7), Landon (9), Devon (23), Shyanne(24), and two great-grandchildren, Emmitt (9 mo) and Kai(3).

He was born at Grace Hospital in Vancouver B.C. and moved with his family to Victoria in 1952. Dave attended Monterey, Quadra, Landsdowne and ultimately graduated from Mt. Doug high school in 1962. He started post graduate studies in Forestry at Victoria College but transferred to pre-med after observing the world of medicine up close and personal as a result of an acute appendicitis. He was accepted into medicine at UBC and started his medical training in 1965. In the summer of 1967 we were married . In 1969, he began his internship at St Joseph’s in Victoria and was accepted into an ophthalmology residency in Ottawa. In 1973, Donny was born and Dave completed his training by the summer of 1974. Shortly thereafter, we moved back out to Vancouver Island and Dave started the Duncan Eye Specialist clinic. Robbie was born in the winter of 1976. Dave was in solo practice until joined by Dr Stan Polack in 1978, Dr Donald MacGregor in 1989, and then Dr Karen Hoar in 2009. Starting around 2000, in an attempt to acquire more time for family and golf, he cut down his work schedule. In the years that followed, Dr Arnie Laxdal, Dr Ed Patterson, and Dr John McLeod all helped support the practice and patient needs for a number of years.

Dave was a long-standing member of Cowichan Golf & Country Club and eventually also joined Royal Colwood. He loved golf, but perhaps even more the bonds and friendships the game fostered. Dave played soccer for many years early in his career starting back in the late 70s continuing into the early 90s with the doctor’s squad. This included many local games, but also a number of international tournaments. With the exception of one particular victory over the local lawyers, I don’t really recall hearing much about the wins and losses – but he definitely enjoyed sharing a cold beer afterwards with the boys. He encouraged a diverse number of sports for his own sons and even ended up coaching a little hockey in the mid 80s. He loved watching his boys play hockey. He went to Edmonton and Montreal for tournaments and when Robbie was playing Junior in the interior, he flew out to watch some games – even if that meant enduring a bus road trip with the team.

Dave had very steady hands and was quite skilled at what for some would be considered tedious work. He loved to build models as a boy and this blossomed into his RC plane hobby. He belonged to the local Radio Control Club for many years and has built countless planes that still line his shop. Even after his illness progressed, he would still regularly try to make his planes air-worthy but recognizing his limitations, had others take them up for a flight.

Although he was well traveled, Dave wasn’t a big traveler – he was typically quite content to enjoy life in this beautiful part of the world. However, I certainly liked to get out and see the wonders of our planet and he was more than happy to accompany me on almost any adventure. To that end, he even functioned as the “team doctor” for my field hockey team on trips to Fiji and Hong Kong where his primary role often transformed to that of “team musician” regularly entertaining us on guitar. Beyond the trips that I would organize for us, starting back in October 1981, he loved to be a part of an annual pilgrimage with “the boys” to the likes of Tahoe or Vegas in honour of one of their fallen colleagues, Rollie Martine. He also was able to travel a number of times to some of the more fabled and historic golfing destinations in Scotland and England.

In February of 2015, Dave finally retired from his ophthalmology practice and in September received a diagnosis of multiple myeloma. This was a date that dramatically altered the course of our lives. He was forced to hang up the golf clubs which was quite difficult for him to accept. Initially, he spent more of his free time working on his RC planes. He continued to read voraciously, but as he started to decline cognitively, even these activities proved too difficult. In the spring of 2017, as a family we coerced him into one final trip to Hawaii. Initially, he expressed reservations about making the journey, but when he learned his boys and their families would be present he agreed to make the effort. At that time, he was still ambulatory with a cane and could enjoy swimming in the pool with his grandchildren. In spite of his plight, I never recall him asking the question , “why me?” In hindsight, I know he had to have suffered in silence, especially if I ever let on either consciously or unconsciously, how upset I was at his fate. But as he declined, the outpouring of support from our close friends was real and greatly appreciated. Through it all, he was always gracious to those around him trying their best to help him through the struggle.

Dave had a quiet but consistent faith in his Lord and Saviour. He was always extremely grateful for the good things in this world. Dave’s knowledge and wise counsel, his innate sense of humour, his tenderness of heart and generosity toward friends and family all underscore the very essence of his life. To say the least, it has been a great blessing to have been by his side all these years. He will be deeply missed.

In lieu of flowers, please consider an online donation to the Cowichan Valley Hospice Society or Camp Imadene.

Memorial Service TBA in the weeks to come.

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From: Karen McClinchey

Dear Joan, I was very sad to hear of David’s passing. I truly appreciated his advice and expertise taking care of our mutual patients over the years. It was always a pleasure chatting with you both at the annual Rotary Club auction. Please accept my sincere condolences, Karen

From: Richard Grimes Jr.
Relation: Friends

Hi Joanie, thinking of you in this very difficult time! I have great memories of Dave as a close friend to my dad for my entire life. You both mean a lot to my parents and he will be dearly missed. With love, the Vancouver Grimes’ (Richard Jr.).

From: Craig Young
Relation: Freind through golf

Dear Joan & Family,

Just a small note sending our thoughts and condolences. A quick little word about Dr. Dave. I came to the Royal Colwood Golf Club in 2001 as a Golf Professional, this is where I met Dave. Dave was always so kind and engaging, I had the pleasure of interacting with him quite often at the club. Dave loved his golfing time at Royal Colwood. RIP Dr. Wakelin. 🕯

From: David Martine
Relation: Dad's collegue, Our teamate, Mom's neighbour

Dr. Wakelin, my Dad, Roland Martine’s colleague, became just “Dave” to me on the soccer field, as we created the first doctors (and a few of their kids – Jamie Bowen, Kay Ringham and myself) soccer team. The first day of practice, Dad showed up wearing a pair of runners (didn’t know he even owned those), Tony Turner with high-top rugby cleats, but then there was Malcom Ringham, Dr. Harris, Dave, Jamie and myself , quietly strapping on our soccer boots. Dave new the game and could play it. What a great time we had playing the Ambulance drivers, the rowing club, and later against my own teachers at Brentwood. The early games were of most significant for me because Dad was still well and played in goal.

I have some wonderful photos to share with you, from the early days, Joan, of Dave, Mom, and yourself at a costume party somewhere, as well as photos of you and Mom fishing back in the 70’s or early 80’s. I remember you being part of bridge group maybe even a couple of times over the years. I have some things to share with you on that too.

Dave was quiet, but knew how to call for the ball. He had a wise grin something like my Dad had as well. And then I was delighted years later to find that you and Dave were living at Woodmere with Mom – I was comforted knowing she had such great old friends as neighbors such as Dave and yourself, Joan. Mom adored you both, with just the best things to say about each of you.

With the recent passing of my Mother, Joan, the empathic pain is very real right now. You know Linda and I are always here for you, as you’ve made it clear you’re here for Linda and I too. May the fondest of memories prevail beyond the grief of loss. God bless.

From: David Young

Dear Joan and family,
We were saddened to hear that Dave had passed away.
He was a very kind person and a skilled physician.
Barb and David Young

From: Laura Prellwitz Ferguson
Relation: Field Hockey and through son Don

Joan, Don and Rob…. I am terribly sorry for your loss. I have fond memories of Dave from when I lived in Duncan and he was an avid supporter of our field hockey club. You are all in my thoughts. Laura.

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