Sicamous – Ted Whitehead, 86, died on January 7th, 2015 at the Salmon Arm Hospital. He leaves his wife of 62 years, Eileen (Laing) Whitehead; 3 daughters, Leslee Lucy (Jim Adams), Susan Bondar (Brian), Judy Collins (Colin Campbell); 3 sons, Bob Whitehead (Sue), Mike Whitehead (Diane) and Ken Whitehead (Rena). He also leaves 16 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, sister-in-law Mary Edmiston and many nieces and nephews.
Ted was born in Miami Manitoba on April 28th, 1928 and raised in Roland Manitoba. In 1946, he moved to British Columbia with ambitions based on memories of a poster he had seen in a Greyhound bus terminal showing the Big Bend Highway. After his move to BC, he worked as an electrician and managed to collect some personal wealth – a new Cadillac convertible and a motor cycle. This is when he met his future wife, Eileen. She was a young nurse in training, born and raised in New Westminster. They were married on October 3, 1952.
Through circumstance, Ted became a logger. After one year of marriage and the first baby, Leslee; they moved to Nelson Island, an isolated area on the Sunshine Coast near Pender Harbour. Ted and Eileen spent the next 4 years on the island. Ted was driven to learn his new career of logging. Two more babies were created on the island, Susan and Bob. There was a collapse in the log market and they were forced to move. Ted purchased a saw mill and logging camp in the Caribou. This was another remote area which was on the west side of the Fraser River. The family now included Mike, baby number 4. Soon after the acquisition of the saw mill, lumber prices totally collapsed into a recession.
Around this time, Ted and Eileen had a chance to visit family in Sicamous. Eileen told Ted, “I don’t know where you are going to live, but I am not leaving here. Find some way to make a living”. Ted and Eileen moved to Sicamous in March of 1961. Shortly after moving there, Judy was born, baby number 5.
Ted did find work. He became a mechanic during the construction of the Roger’s Pass Highway. Meanwhile, Ken arrives as baby number 6. Ted carries on with many careers including: supervisor of mill construction, house building, mechanic shop, gas station, logging, steel fabrication and site preparation for reforestation. A highlight during Ted’s work life was supervising the construction of a plywood plant in Columbia, South America in 1970.
Ted finally retired at 72 years old. He took on the hobby of woodworking during retirement and created many wooden items for the family. Ted and Eileen travelled across Canada and into the north many times.
Ted helped with the creation of the Sicamous Curling Rink and was on the Water Board for several years. He leaves many stories behind and was able to laugh at himself.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Shuswap Hospital Foundation in Ted’s name. Ted was looked after extremely well by the staff and doctors at the hospital. There was a memorial held in Sicamous on January 17th to celebrate Ted’s life.