January 15, 1949 – August 27, 2021
Harry Charles Blakey
January 15, 1949 – August 27, 2021
Harry Charles Blakey, always known to family and friends as Chuck, died suddenly at his home in Parksville, B.C. from complications of a brief and aggressive form of cancer. He was 72. Right up until January he was playing hockey, enjoying a life of fitness that also included baseball, photography excursions and rounds of golf, especially with his beloved wife Nancy, whom he rarely beat.
But above all, Chuck’s true devotion was to his immediate and extended family. Whether as a husband, dad, uncle, grandpa or cousin, his love of family formed a quiet but enduring passion. He was the guy so many relatives and friends turned to – for advice, knowledge, help fixing or buying a car, or just to get the job done by Chuck in his extensive mechanical and woodworking shop. Like his father, he had a natural knack for repairing and building, first emerging when he tore down and reassembled car engines as a teenager simply to learn how they worked. Soon came self-taught carpentry, wiring and other construction skills, all of them expanding in his spare time while he built an impressive law-focused career with two university degrees.
He was predeceased by his parents, Harry and Jenny Blakey; brother Raymond Blakey; and sister June Kiely. He is survived by wife Nancy Blakey; sister Patricia Kirby; daughters Barbara (Sean) and Janice (Joe), son Kevin (Janna); and grandchildren Stella, Simon, Everett and Ellie.
Chuck was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to English parents Harry and Jenny Blakey. Harry had served with the Royal Air Force in the Second World War, earning the Burma Star and other medals. In 1947, Harry and Jenny, with two young daughters, emigrated from their native Preston, Lancashire to Moose Jaw, where the young airman had spent two years with the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan before fighting in the Pacific. Chuck was their first Canadian-born child.
The family had no relatives in Saskatchewan till 1951, when Harry persuaded his brother Robert and sister-in-law Winnie to emigrate from Preston to Moose Jaw. Chuck then forged bonds with his uncle, aunt and cousins that were strong to the end.
After high school, joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and was posted to Alberta, where he and his first wife Pat raised their three children. Chuck advanced through the RCMP to the Commercial Crime section, which gave him a taste for exposing shady economics. He entered the University of Calgary commerce program, later transferring to the Law School, where he graduated with a law degree. Next came several years as a director with the Alberta Securities Commission, followed by a doctorate degree and independent legal work till his retirement.
With his second wife Nancy Blakey, Chuck moved from Calgary to an acreage in Parksville on Vancouver Island. Every summer there were trips to visit the kids, including visits with Janice and Joe to do home improvements he deemed necessary, even if the owners didn’t. He loved trips to Saskatchewan where he and son Kevin would go fishing with Chuck’s lifelong buddy Ken Striha, and where Chuck would see old friends Pat Murphy and Ken Reid. And this summer, he got to spend wonderful time with Barb, who visited him and Nancy with her 70-year-old trailer. The rig inspired him to make her take two-hour trips with him to Canadian Tire for what he considered were needed improvements. The visit reinforced their bond and love for one another with late-night chats. Some of his best memories were afforded to him when as a 70th birthday gift, his children and grandson Simon surprised him with a trip to Ireland and England. He could not have been prouder as a parent to have their love for him shown with such a special gift of priceless memories.
In Parksville, Chuck had built a new set of friends plus community involvement, voluntarism and, of course, the biggest and best workshop he’d ever had. In later years, his interests expanded to include genealogy. He thoroughly enjoyed learning about his English and Irish ancestors via the internet and connecting with cousins he “met” online – more evidence of how he treasured family. Chuck’s ready embrace of social media included a restrained use of Facebook, where he proudly shared the images, joys and achievements of his wife, daughters, son, grandchildren and other relatives. He was so proud to be called Granddad.
During the difficulties of his final months he bravely tried to keep life as normal as possible, and got immense help from his close Parksville friends Ron Neufeld and Greg Corbett, who were his”rock”to the end. Nancy would also like to thank the Oceanside Palliative Care Unit and their home care nurses, and the incredible staff at Parksville Pharmasave. In Chuck’s memory, donations can be made to the Oceanside Hospice Society. There will be a private service in Moose Jaw at a later date.
All of us are united in the profound sense of loss that follows Chuck’s passing. It is an emptiness that in time will be tempered by the knowledge that he touched so many lives in positive ways, leaving a legacy that will last for generations. Obituary