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October 11, 1946 - September 11, 2023
In Loving Memory ~
Rick Gilbert, born October 11, 1946, was called home in the peace of Christ to our Lord GOD, on September 11, 2023, at the age of 76 years. After a few short months of failing health, Rick passed peacefully, in his own home, on his own Land, among his own People, in the arms of his beloved wife, Anna, as was his final wish. Rick wished to express that his last few weeks were among the best of his life, as he was blessed with the rare grace of having time for many final visits with Family and Friends.
Rick was born to Elizabeth Agatha Thomas Gilbert, 17 Jan 1928 and raised by his maternal grandmother, Clothilde Tillian-William, 06 Jul 1907 - 14 Sep 2007, a direct descendant of the Chief William, from whom Williams Lake got its name, and his maternal grandfather Frank "Toma" Thomas, 14 Aug 1904 - 25 Jun 1975. Rick is survived by his devoted wife and best friend of 25 years, 'Anna' Lois Lynn Gilbert (nee Bobinger).
Rick will be sorrowfully missed by his children. He was a kind and loving father who strived to do his best to teach and guide all First Nation youth in the ways of his ancestors and First Nations culture. He was a loving grandfather and great-grandfather. Rick will be sadly missed by his beloved sisters, and his extended family.
Rick was committed to friendship and will be greatly missed by his many true friends across BC. Rick was a humble man, who never focused much on himself but rather focused on the needs of his family, his friends, and his community; and who, even in his final days with us, only asked, "Just take care of Anna when I'm gone".
The Sugar Cane Reserve Community was the pivotal essence of Rick's life. He was proud and honoured to be an elder, patriarch, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He has been a major influence in the lives of untold numbers of First Nations Peoples, throughout British Columbia and beyond for many decades. Rick loved well and was well loved. We know he will continue to watch over us, all...
Rick was born and raised on Sugar Cane Reserve, Williams Lake BC.
In 1972 Rick became the first ever Band Manager of the Williams Lake First Nation. He sat as Elected Chief of WLFN from 1974-1982 and 1988-1992. He is a current Band Councillor. Some of his most notable achievements was securing funding to build the original Band Office in 1974 and the Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium in 1977.
Rick developed the Chief Will-Yum Campgrounds in 1982, while serving as WLFN Chief.
Rick was a survivor of the St. Joseph Mission Residential School. After St. Joseph Mission was closed for good in 1981, Rick began a decades long pursuit on behalf of WLFN to gain back the property on which the Residential School operated, between 1891 and 1981. He lived to witness this accomplishment, with the official acknowledgment of the land acquisition, on September 05, 2023. Another thing Rick was fortunate to witness before leaving us was the Specific Village Claim settlement, with the official apology made on September 10, 2023
"We reminisce about his ever-present smile and the warmth, depth and intelligence behind it."
Rick loved music. Mostly ole country and played fiddle and guitar to entertain friends and family. "This gentle, loving, caring, kind, and talented man has left a permanent mark etched on our hearts and will be supremely missed by all who knew him. Rick's life was well lived, and he was well loved! We can hear our good GOD's words to him, on the day of his entrance into Eternity, "Well done My good and faithful servant... Enter into the joy of your Master!" Although our hearts are heavy, we will celebrate Rick's life and find comfort that he is in heaven guiding us.
Rick, a devote Catholic, had an enduring relationship with God, and was very blessed in his faith to his dying breath. His wish is to be cremated with his final resting place to be divided between Sugar Cane Cemetery, Williams Lake and Floral Hills Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Gulfport, Mississippi, where he and Anna had their home from 2008 to 2012. Rick held duel Canadian and U.S. citizenship.
Funeral services for Rick will be held on October 5th, 2023. The services will begin at 11:00 am, with a Catholic funeral Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Williams Lake, BC, officiated by Bishop Joseph Nguyen, followed by a culturally traditional celebration of life at the WLFN Pow-Pow Arbor on Sugar Cane Reserve, Williams Lake.
The family would like to thank all the health care professionals from Three Corners Health and Sugar Cane Health, for their compassionate care in the last weeks of Rick's life and are sincerely grateful to the wonderful staff and volunteers from Interior Health's, Home and Community Palliative/Hospice Services, who comforted and cared for Rick and for Anna in his last days.

Service Details

Celebration of Life
Thursday, October 5, 2023
11:00 AM
Sacred Heart Catholic Church 450 Pigeon Ave, Williams Lake

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