Erwin Ernest Barz, born November 30, 1917 in Sandhof in the war ravaged German state of East Prussia, passed away in Salmon Arm, British Columbia on September 8, 2011
After moving to Essen as a child, Ernie came to Canada with his family in 1928, living in the Grandview Flats near Armstrong, British Columbia, before moving to the Salmon River Valley near Westwold. After a brief stay in Victoria, he and his brother Arthur went to the Yukon, where they worked on the gold dredge crews in the Klondike Valley. For four years, Ernie and Art trapped, explored, prospected, and ran Chappie’s Trading Post in the Bonnet Plume district of the Yukon. In 1944, Ernie volunteered for the Canadian Army, joining the First Edmonton Regiment. He went overseas to Italy, where he was wounded, and returned to Canada a few days before the war ended.
In 1946, he married Margaret (nee Henschel), and together they started a poultry farm in Pitt Meadows in 1948. They sold the farm in 1972 and moved to a farm near Enderby, B.C. A year later they moved to Salmon Arm, where Ernie owned the Squire Apartment Building. In 1977, they moved to Williams Lake, but returned to Salmon Arm in 1999.
Ernie was a great raconteur and kept family and friends spellbound recounting his Yukon adventures, and to a lesser extent, his war stories. He liked to say that he heard the guns of both world wars. But he believed that all wars were senseless, never took part in Remembrance Day ceremonies, never wore a poppy, and didn’t mince words about what really happened at the Italian ‘front’. When he received his four World War Two service medals in the late 1950s in the mail in a plain brown cardboard box from the Canadian government, he gave them to his young sons to play with and they were soon lost.
Ernie was a builder. Whether it was constructing the family cabin near Westwold, cabins in the Yukon, houses and barns in Pitt Meadows, and his many concrete projects, Ernie always seemed to have a hammer, saw or trowel in his hands in his younger days.
He is survived by Margaret, his wife of 64 years, four children: James (Freya), Armstrong; Donald (Gemma), Kamloops; Tom, Winnipeg; and June Taylor, Vancouver; grandchildren: Josh, William, Natalie, Curtis, Emily, Nicholas, Casey, and Marcella; two great grandchildren: Tyra and Nevaro, and eleven nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his father August, and his mother Hulda.
He is predeceased by his sisters Helene and Ella, and his brother Art. He is survived by his brothers Harry of Victoria, Paul (Myrtle) of Chilliwack, and William (Betty) of Kelowna.
By request there will be no service.
Funeral Arrangements are in the care of Bowers Funeral Service, Salmon Arm
Online condolences can be sent through Ernie’s obituary at www.bowersfuneralservice.com