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Popular Sorrento man dies
Bluegrass musicians are expressing their sorrow following the death Sunday of accomplished banjo player Gene Bretecher of Sorrento.
Bretecher was fishing on Shuswap Lake some 30 metres from shore when he fell out of his boat just before 1 p.m. Sept. 15.
Bretecher’s wife, Linda, saw her husband fall into the water and called for help.
A retired RCMP officer and former dive team member was on the scene in minutes and assisted in pulling the 74-year-old Bretecher from the water.
CPR was performed, and Emergency Health Services arrived on scene a short time later.
But efforts to resuscitate Bretecher were unsuccessful.
Chase RCMP report Bretecher was not wearing a life-jacket at the time of the accident.
A talented and popular bluegrass musician, Bretecher’s death has touched many in the music world.
“I toured with him in a band for quite a number of years, in Canadian Whitewater, and he was just one of my favourite people in the world,” says popular bluegrass musician Chris Stevens, who shared fun travel adventures across the globe. “He was a consummate professional, a wonderful banjo player and flat-picking guitar player.”
Bretecher taught a number of different courses at Sorrento Centre every summer for more than a decade and at a variety of old-time fiddle camps.
“It almost sounds so patent to say, but he smiled a lot,” says Stevens. “That was a thing about Gene, that’s what he enjoyed, the camaraderie and the music.”
Another well-known singer-songwriter and musician, Blu Hopkins, described Bretecher as a gentle man and an inspiration.
“Gene touched so many people. In all the time I knew him and from all the people who played with him, I have never heard a negative comment about him,” Hopkins said. “He’ll be sorely missed by all of us.”