May 26, 1926 – November 28, 2020
Elwood was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up in Seaside, Oregon. His mother was one of 13 children and as a result he was surrounded by many aunts, uncles, and cousins as he grew up.
During the Depression years, at 13 years old, he shot his first elk, brought it home on his bike, and then canned it by himself. He fished the river flowing by his home and on the pounding surf of the Pacific coast he dug razor clams, his favourite delicacy.
In high school Elwood was a 4-H member, a member of the track team, the starting centre on the basketball team, and learned to love golf.
Elwood, as he was always called by his family, graduated high school, turned 18, and enlisted in the US Navy all in the same week. He was stationed in Guam in the Pacific and he swam in a bay on the island of Guam with Admiral Chester Nimitz. At the end of the war he returned to the mainland on the aircraft carrier The USS Hornet.
He used his GI Bill to attend Oregon State College and it is there he got the nickname Woody and where he met his wife, Margie Lou McCanse. They were married in 1949. Shortly after they met Woody gifted Margie a bird book which led to an enduring family hobby: birdwatching.
Bird feeding and watching entertained Woody, especially in his final years. In College he studied Wildlife and his love of all animals was evident throughout his life. He took exceptional care of his cattle and chickens, pampered his cat, ensured the bird feeders outside the picture window were full and spoiled his dogs, especially Banner.
The young couple emigrated from Oregon to Soda Creek, BC in 1962, with their first four children, to develop the ranch that was established by Peter Dunlevy during the Gold Rush years.
They worked hard, with the help of long-time employees Otto and Robertine Flaspohler, to build the place into an exceptionally well-managed modern ranch. They added two more children to the family which has now grown to include 19 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren; each one precious to Woody.
Woody had a special affinity for babies and the family has many memorable and endearing photos of the delight he took in them.
An affinity for world travel started in 1967 when the family of 6 did a 2 month tour of Mexico in a camper. Woody maintained his close family ties in the US and Woody and Margie took their children and many grandchildren on visits which built extended family relationships that carry on today.
Over the years they visited Guatemala, Greece, Egypt, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Morocco, Turkey, South Africa, Mozambique, Germany, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and took a Panama Canal and an Alaskan cruise. In addition, they travelled the eastern seaboard of Canada and the USA. Many winters were spent golfing in Arizona and Mexico.
Woody was a long-time member of the Williams Lake Golf and Country Club and played Men’s Night regularly for nearly 30 years. He was also an avid fisherman and bought a boat for ocean fishing. The Blue Fox moored in Bella Coola and was the focus of summer fishing trips from 1985 until 2016.
The vow of for Better or for Worse was manifest in Woody and Margie’s marriage. Margie was hospitalized in Vancouver for 4 months in 2012 and Woody was at her side nearly every day.
He stayed in motels and either walked or took the bus to the hospital to be with her. As a result of Margie’s injuries she became paralyzed and Woody, at the age of 86, took over the household duties of cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping.
It was a position he happily took on because it meant his wife could be at home. He continued this until 2017, when he asked their daughter Kathy to come live with and care for the two of them.
Our exceptional father, grandfather, great- grandfather, uncle and brother-in-law will be so missed. His twinkling eyes, ready laugh, affinity for animals, teasing manner, mischievous sense of humour, gentle soul, honesty and gregarious nature made him a much respected, admired and loved individual.
Woody is survived by his wife, Margie, his children Kathy, Ron, Janet (Stafford), David and Steven, son-in-law Robin Storoschuk, and their families.
Woody passed away peacefully in his sleep on his beloved ranch.
He was thankful to his daughter, Kathy, for her steadfast care and love through his final months. The family thanks Doctor Scrooby, the staff at Kornak and Hamm’s Pharmacy, and the CMH nursing staff, particularly the palliative care team. As well, he was thankful to the numerous caregivers who provided personal care for him and for Margie so they could remain at home, as per their wishes.
Woody’s life’s work, with his family’s and employee’s assistance, resulted in an ongoing, productive crop and cattle ranch that graces the land he so loved.
There will be a celebration of life at a time and place to be announced when we can gather together, hopefully in the summer of 2021.
Woody will be laid to rest in the Soda Creek Cemetery beside his beloved daughter, Laura, who predeceased him in 2016.
~ A Life Well-lived, A Time Completed ~
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