After a long and healthy life, George Victor Bedford died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, Feb 2nd 2012. He was 96. On April 19th 1915 Victor was born to Albert and Clarissa Bedford. Arriving in 1909, his father was Salmon Arm’s first druggist/optometrist and his mother was the organist for the United Church.
With the exception of the time spent at University, Vic spent his whole life living in the Salmon Arm area. After studying engineering for 2 years at the University of British Columbia, in 1939 Vic changed his career focus and in 1942 he enrolled in the School of Optometry at the University of Toronto. That same year he married Nina Mobley, a local girl from Sunnybrae, and she joined him in Toronto. In 1945 Vic was awarded an optometric degree (honours), plus the A Johnson Mechanical Optics Medal, the General Proficiency Medal and the first H. Harmat General Proficiency Prize from the University of Toronto. Because of his love for his friends and family, Vic chose to return to Salmon Arm where he joined and later took over his father’s practice. He experienced a long, successful career as a well-respected optometrist and valued member of the community.
Vic could accomplish anything he wanted to do. When he was 17 he built an ice boat powered by a car engine and an airplane propeller; then he built a speed boat which he successfully raced. Vic valued learning in all its forms. He spent long hours studying the research articles in the Canadian and American Optometric Journals and conducting his own research on early childhood vision. Throughout his life his cheery greeting, “Well, what’s new with you?” welcomed patients, visitors, and family alike. His advice and friendship were characterized by good judgment, warmth and optimism. Vic brought out the best in people and he had a natural aptitude for teaching. Asking him questions often resulted in long discussions in which you were encouraged to either form your own conclusions or ask more questions. He seldom gave you a direct answer. Vic also enjoyed playing the piano, hunting, fishing, camping, gold panning and generally exploring BC’s back roads and wilderness. Even in his 90’s, he still thoroughly appreciated going out into the bush ostensibly to cut firewood for the fireplace and backyard bonfires but in reality he just loved being in the great outdoors.
Vic was proceeded in death by his wife, Nina and his parents and his siblings: Albert (Eileen) Bedford; Doug (Liz) Bedford; Margaret (Temple) Keeling; and Max (Eva) Bedford. He will be greatly missed by his daughters Barbara (Mike) Dagneau, and Melanie (Bob) Ashton; and grandchildren Chad (Sarah) McCarthy, Brook (Diana) McCarthy, Meghan (Tyler) Ashton and James Ashton. His shared wisdom, words of encouragement, and wonderful stories will be cherished by those who knew and loved him. He was a true gentleman in every sense of the word.
A “Celebration of Life” service and reception will be held at 2:00 on Saturday afternoon, March 24th at Bowers Funeral Home in Salmon Arm.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in memory of Vic may be sent to the Shuswap Hospice Society, PO Box 967, Salmon Arm, BC VIE 4P1.
Email condolences may be sent to Vic’s obituary at www.bowersfuneralservice.com