It is with deep regret we announce the death of Ernie Braby at Polson Place, Vernon, BC on Friday, January 18, at the age of 86 years.
Ernest Braby was born in Sunderland, England, the second son in a family of four children, of which he was the last surviving member. After completing his primary and secondary schooling, Ernie began his working career as a dental assistant, apprenticing to his father who was a dentist. Unfortunately, this career was cut short by the untimely death of his father at 48 years of age, and Ernie was forced to seek other employment to help support his widowed mother. He worked in the sales field for a few years, but by then Britain was at war and he had to join one of the armed forces. He chose the air force and served in various combat zones, including Africa, Italy and the Middle East. After the war, when he returned home, the country was in a bad state and he was very unsettled so he decided to emigrate to Canada where his older brother was already living. He worked as a mechanic for a short time in Vancouver, and then was recruited in Vancouver by a well known and respected owner of a Salmon Arm Car Dealership (Chas Barker). He arrived in Salmon Arm in January of 1948 in one of the coldest winters on record and was totally unprepared and ill-equipped to handle such weather. The Dearborn building at that time was fairly old and ramshackle and was heated only by a wood stove. Working as a mechanic in those conditions imposed hardships never before encountered by this Englishman. During the next few years, Ernie worked as a mechanic for various garages around town as the town grew and conditions improved.
In 1952, he married a local girl, Kay Loring and they lived in Vernon for a short time where their first son and daughter were born, and where Ernie returned to his real vocation of salesman. They returned to Salmon Arm in the early part of 1955 so that Ernie could continue his sales job. For the next four years Ernie sold cars for various car dealerships around town and won a “Master Salesmanship” award for his success. A second son was born to the Brabys in 1957.
In January of 1960, Ernie went into business for himself and took over management of the newly-opened Chevron service station on what is now the Trans-Canada Highway (the White Spot). Service station hours were very long and the work hard, and having started business “on a shoestring” filled with worries. After a couple of years he obtained the agency first for the Renault car and then American Motors (Rambler). In 1964 he took over a failing American Motors dealership located on the premises of the present Braby Motors. He was so successful there that soon the Dodge-Chrysler management persuaded him to take on their agency. From then on, the sale and service of Dodge & Chrysler products in the same location completed his business life. In 1982 Ernie retired, leaving his two sons to carry on the work he had begun.
Over the years, Ernie’s community activities included being a cub scout leader, teaching Sunday School at the United Church, chairing the Annual Cancer Campaign, serving as commodore of Shuswap Power Squadron and being instrumental in starting the “Men’s Club” at the United Church, but his main focus throughout the years has been his family, and particular, in recent years, his grandchildren.
Ernie is survived by his wife of 55 years, Kay, his son Derrick (Debbie), his daughter Cathy (Rick Aubert), and his son Michael (Wendy), three granddaughters Tara, Chelsea and Ashley, and one grandson, Justin.
Throughout his life Ernie was a man of great integrity and will be remembered for his sense of humour, his kindness to all and his love of children.
In lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to remember Ernie may contribute to the Shuswap Community Foundation, Box 624, Salmon Arm.
Funeral details will be announced at a later date.