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Ernest Woods

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Ernest Woods

June 12, 1925 - September 2, 2013


After a long, happy and remarkable life, Ernie Woods died quietly in Duncan, BC, in the early morning hours of September 2, 2013, at the age of 88.

Ernie was always younger than his stated age, until cardiac events began to change him in November 2012. Despite modern technology and valiant efforts to recover from cardiovascular illnesses, he was simply unable to recover. This surprised us, as he had always been a driven and indefatigable force.

Ernie was born in Port Arthur, Ontario, on June 12, 1925, the 3rd of of 5 children. He was always a great competitor, and did well at school.  He loved sports and pursued them throughout his life. His strong suits were hockey, golf and swimming.

Ernie joined the Canadian Army in 1944 as a volunteer, and trained as a signalman. Armistice was declared before he was to join the Pacific theatre, so he saw no active service. After the war, he worked at Canada Car in Thunder Bay, producing Hawker Hurricane fighter planes for the war effort. He also worked with his brothers, Stan and Cliff, as a commercial fisherman on Lake Superior. This was followed by an exciting opportunity to move east and hire on to build a large pulp and paper mill in Terrace Bay, on the north shore of Lake Superior. He served a machinist’s apprenticeship there, because he “loved the precision work,” and this launched him into a 35-year career in the pulp and paper industry.

Terrace Bay was also home to a striking young nurse from Winnipeg by the name of Phyllis Birt. She had big brown eyes, much humour and wit. An adventurer like Ernie, she was drawn from afar to this new community. A mutual friend, Muriel Flater, arranged a blind date… and the rest is history. The two were married in 1950, produced 3 children, and made their home in Terrace Bay till opportunity came knocking in 1964. Our clan, at the persuasive suggestion of George Flater, did the bold thing, packing up and moving west to the booming BC forest industry. Ernie had accepted a management position at the BC Forest Products Crofton paper mill.

Ernie progressed through the ranks at Crofton during the hay days of the forest industry, and retired in 1989 as the plant’s Mechanical Superintendent. He oversaw much expansion and innovation, and was acknowledged as a strong leader with a bright mind and  notable fairness with his staff. Retirement was marked by volunteer contributions to the Hospice Society and the Kiwanis Club. 

Ernie and Phyllis were great models as parents. We could not have asked for more. He was the jack-of-all-trades and master of many. He was a great father, spouse and grandfather. He inspired everyone he knew and brought much love and enthusiasm to his many activities and friends. We had so much fun!

Sadly, Phyllis died in 1998 with respiratory complications, and Ernie adjusted to his new circumstances slowly. Fate brought he and Raija Loat, another widowed Crofton employee together a couple of years later, and she became the second love of his life. This couple travelled extensively in Europe, across Canada and locally, and forged a friendship that involved bridge, theatre, sports, music and the arts. They have been part a very vigorous and interesting local peer group. What a wonderful connection! Both families were delighted.

We bow to Raija’s steadiness, love, practicality and kindness in assisting Ernie during his last months. She was not only a terrific companion when he was well, but a constant and supportive comfort in the face of mounting health challenges. Her contribution was inspired and inspiring.

Ernest Woods is predeceased by Phyllis in 1998 and he is survived by Raija, by his brother Stan and his sister Hazel, by his sons Tom (Lydia), Murray (Lia), by his daughter Barb, by his grandchildren Jesse, Nicola, Simon, Emily and Ian, and by Raija’s sons Chris (Sarah) and Brian (Tammy), her daughter Cheryl (Tracy), and their children who, too, looked upon him as a grandfather.

Our family wishes to express thanks to Dr. Imad Nadra and the cardiology team and the nurses on 3S at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, and also to Dr. Jan Malherbe and the nursing staff on 2S at Cowichan District Hospital, for the excellent care and kindness they provided to Ernie during his recent times of medical need.

Ernie’s celebration of life ceremony will take place at Duncan United Church, 246 Ingram Street, at 2 pm on Saturday, September 7, 2013. Flowers are gratefully declined in favour of donations that can be made in Ernie’s memory to the BC Heart and Stroke Foundation, or to the charity of your choice.  Online condolences may be offered at www.hwwallacecbc.com


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From: H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff

H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Anne Lawrance Smith
Relation: Catalyst employee

Although I did not have the pleasure of knowing your dad, what a wonderful description of his life, he sounds like he was a great person with unlimited energy and a joy for life.

My sympathies to you and your family.

Anne & Madelyn Smith

From: Ann Lee Raaflaub
Relation: neighbour and friend

It was an honor to know Ernie Woods. I cherished his friendship and support as a neighbour for 34 years. His positive outlook and sense of humor could always be counted upon, as well as his generosity of spirit, time and kindness. Thank you for being there in my life Ernie, remembered always, Ann Lee Raaflaub
My thoughts and love to Raija, Tome and Lydia, Murray and Lia, and Barb, as well as those wonderful grandchildren.

From: Alma Walden
Relation: Family friend

Sincere sympathies to Barb and the entire Woods family on the loss of such a beloved and important member of your family. My warmest wishes for strength for all of you and Raija during this sad and difficult time.

From: Ann Marie & Louis Pagliaro
Relation: friend of the family

To the dear family members of Ernie Woods,

We only had the pleasure of meeting Ernie a couple of times briefly, but recognized immediately his integrity and love of life. In addition, we also knew Ernie though the most personal fruits of his labours (i.e., his family members). In this capacity, he demonstrated himself to be a loving, caring, and good patriarch.

Our sincerest condolences to the family. Both you and Ernie are in our hearts and prayers.

With love,

Ann Marie & Louis Pagliaro

From: Ron and Marie Clark
Relation: School classmate of son Tom

We are saddened to hear of the loss of your father. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.

From: Jo Bodard
Relation: Patient of son Murray

Hi Murray: So very sorry to read of the passing of your father. I always say no one ever truly dies until the last person who can remember them or stories about them also passes. From the telling obituary, your father has sewn seeds well into the future. Sincere condolences to you and your family.

Service Schedule

  Funeral Service

Date & Time:
September 7, 2013
Beginning at 2:00pm

Duncan United Church
246 Ingram St.
Duncan, BC Canada v9l1w8

246 Ingram St.
Duncan, BC Canada v9l1w8

Memorial Gifts

The family has not designated a preferred charity at this time.

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