April 23, 1939 ~ March 18, 2017
This is a small story, about a big man, who passed away in the Cariboo Memorial Hospital, with his loving companion of over thirty years, Peg McKinlay, at his bedside, holding his hand throughout the long last week of his struggle with cancer. Mike is also survived by daughter Ashley Zavitch (Mac) and their children Charlotte and Sophie all from Ontario. From Vancouver, surviving Mike is his loving sister Wendy (Rea), their children and Peg’s children John, Dan, Liz and Marg.
The following are a few highlights from Mike’s adventurous life. Born in Vancouver, he attended Kits High School where he became one of their star athletes. Mike played basketball for Canada and also with the Maralomas played rugby for Canada. Mike was invited by the Saskatchewan Roughriders to try out for their team, but declined in favour of a very successful career selling big machinery. (In one order, he sold 23 forklifts!) A few of Mike’s friends persuaded him to take time off and join them in the development of a gold claim in Atlin, B.C. North they went and built a huge raft on the shores of the Pelly River to float a monstrous machine to their claim. Merrily they set out on the most unexpectedly harrowing trip of their lives! Lucky to be alive, they worked a whole summer in vain, abandoned the contrary machine and headed back to work in Vancouver.
Mike married, but after a few years and the birth of his daughter Ashley, divorced. Ashley and her mother moved permanently to Ontario.
Mike said he really lucked out when be met his life-long love, Peg. They both enjoyed the outdoors and camped many times in the Chilcotin. One evening while traveling the back roads near Big Creek, they were stopped in awe, at the sight of Fletcher Lake at sunset! Mike contacted a realtor to keep a look out for a small property there. A year went by before something affordable became available. Although very rundown and the log cabin in dire need of repair and full of bats, Mike and Peg were more than happy to take it on! After many weekends driving back and forth between Vancouver and the lake, Mike and Peg looked at each other and agreed to stay put in paradise. They figured by pooling their resources and living frugally they could take a year off, before having to go back to work.
After wearing out two second hand trucks, and many pairs of gumboots, clearing, chopping, cutting, rebuilding, creative fun and a lot of hard work, more than twenty joyous years flew by. Mike and Peg finally had to retire to Williams Lake for health reasons.
Mike, when once asked why he left his career and the big city for a rundown cabin in the middle of nowhere, replied, “I never regretted a single, penny pinching moment living my dream at Fletcher Lake. What more does a man need – the great outdoors, a log cabin by a lake and a beautiful woman.” Mike considered it a rare privilege to share with Peg, those incredible years surrounded by the grandeur and glory of God’s great country.
Many thanks to Dr. Steyl, Dr. Kriek, Janet Miller and all the oh-so-busy compassionate nurses.
By Mike’s wishes, no funeral or flowers, please.