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Wilfred Weetman

April 28, 2004

Wilfred Weetman

Wilfred Francis Weetman was born April 5, 1927 in Williams Lake to Ted and Myrtle Weetman of Brunson Lake.

The eldest of eight children, Wilfred was raised on the ranch at Brunson Lake with his siblings Ethel, Kay, Fran, Dorothy, Winnie, Eddie and John.

Ted and Myrtle lived and worked on the ranch with their children until their later years when their children each married and set off to raise children of their own.

Wilfred continued to live at Brunson Lake and started his own family when he married Josephine Johnson in 1967.

On March 7, 1969 Wilf and Josephine were blessed with the arrival of their son Wade Randall Weetman.

Sadly Josephine passed away in 1973 leaving Wilfred alone on the ranch to care for their young son.

With the love and support of his family Wilfred and Wade lived together on the ranch.

That was all to change when Wilfred accepted an invitation to dinner one summer evening.

There he met Shirley, Garratt, who was raising three teens on her own in Surrey, and had come to visit her eldest daughter Linda who was living in Williams Lake.

As the story goes Wilfred and Shirley were thunderstruck and a new chapter was about to begin in each of their lives.

Shirley, her son Bill, 18, and twins Tammy and Terry, 14 soon moved to Brunson Lake. To move three teenagers from the coast to a ranch in the Cariboo was a bit of a shock to all the kids: Bill, Tammy and Terry who didn’t have a clue about the ranching lifestyle, and Wade, who, until then had been an only child.

On October 10, 1975 Wilfred and Shirley were married. Including Shirley’s eldest daughter, Linda, they were now a family of seven.

Wilfred lovingly accepted his new family at the ranch and looked forward to their new life together. Now he had a haying crew.

Life was good and just when they thought things couldn’t get any better a new surprise was to enter their lives. On September 27, 1976 Robert Wilfred Weetman arrived into the world and completed the family for a total number of eight, much to the delight of everyone.

It was destiny and as time would pass it would be young Robert who would carry on the family tradition as a third generation rancher at Brunson Lake.

Wilfred was a man of the earth and one of his greatest pastimes was tending to his garden. With eight mouths to feed he needed to make sure that no one went hungry.

This resulted in a two-acre garden plot of plush green vegetables that was the envy of any passerby who happened to be travelling past the ranch.

Wilfred’s potatoes were known to grow to the size of softballs and bigger but it was his fascination with zucchini that had the women in the family spinning. “Just look at the size of these things,” he’d say.

They ate zucchini raw, baked and fried. They made cakes cookies and bread with it. They canned it, froze it, and pickled it. They even made pineapple out of it if you can imagine.

Wilfred also enjoyed bird watching and there wasn’t a bird that landed at the ranch he couldn’t identify.

One year he came across an abandoned nest of cold eggs and took them home to the incubator.

After a few days four baby Canadian geese hatched and claimed Wilfred as their mother. He taught them how to fly by running down the hill waving his arms. And he taught them how to swim by standing waist deep in Brunson Lake.

Whenever he started up the tractor and headed towards the fields the geese would fly right along with him.

The ranch goose, Gus on the other hand had the disposition of a rabid pit bull.

Gus was better than a guard dog and Wilfred had many a chuckle watching grown adults dashing for the basement door.

Ultimately Gus made the fatal mistake of cornering Robert in the yard and beating him with his wings, an action that landed him on the dinner table.

Over the years Wilf and Shirley were blessed with eight grandchildren: Bob, Mandi, Nick, Kirsten, Justine, Emily, Ethan, and Kiera, who were the apples of Wilfred’s eye.

He was never happier than when taking his grandchildren with him to check cows. Returning home the kids would excitedly tell what they had seen and done with granddad.

The girls would have survey ribbons tied into their hair and the boys would be showing off their prizes of cow skulls and bones.

Wilfred had a profound impact on the lives of all his children and grandchildren. Each possesses the same love for the land, ranch and animals as he did.

Wilfred’s other great love was his horse Gypsy. He and Gypsy would spend hours together on the ranch riding the fence lines and checking the cows together. Wilfred also taught each of his grandchildren to ride on Gypsy. He would walk them around the yard giving each one a ride before he took off his saddle and put Gypsy away for the day.

Gypsy died on the ranch of old age just a few years ago.

Wilfred was a man of great patience and kindness and a man of few words, but he touched the lives of everyone who ever knew him.

The friends his children brought home to the ranch continue to visit and help out at branding every year. Now his children’s friends bring their children to the ranch.

Wilfred was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and dementia in 1999. Both he and Shirley continued to live on the ranch until four years ago when the disease forced the family to move Wilfred to Cariboo Lodge. There he received the proper care and medical attention that his condition demanded.

The family will be forever grateful to the nurses and care aides for the care Wilf received in the last few years while he fought so strongly against his illness.

Wilfred was predeceased by his father Ted on April 28, 1976. Ironically Ted’s passing was 28 years to the day before Wilfred’s passing. Wilfred is also predeceased by his mother, Myrtle, in 1991 and his brother, Eddie, in 1996.

Wilfred leaves to mourn his loving wife Shirley, his adoring children Wade (Kathy) Weetman; Robert Weetman; Linda Colliss; Bill (Lori) Garratt; Tammy (Eldon) Gjerde; and Terry Garratt.

He also leaves his devoted grandchildren: Bob, Mandi, Nick, Kirsten, Justine, Emily, Ethan and Kiera.

Wilfred will be forever missed and loved.

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