June 24, 1933 – December 5, 2020
Clifford Albert (Cliff ) Bedell died on December 5, 2020, at The Views at St Josephs, in Comox, BC, where he had resided for five months, following the death of his wife, Betty, in July 2020.
He is survived by his son Richard, his daughter Barbara (Michael), extended family members Donna and Martin Montgomery, grandsons Alasdair (Jodi) and Campbell (Jena), and his sister Beverley (George) Scott. He was predeceased by six siblings, Roy, Lois, Gordon, Don, Ken and Fred.
Cliff was born June 24, 1933 in Stirling, ON, to Rada (Carlisle) and Cecil Bedell and grew up in nearby Campbellford. A childhood friend described him as smart, full of fun, and a bit of a prankster. He left school around 1949 and worked in Toronto for a few years, part of the time for CN Rail.
Early on during this period he made a transcontinental road trip with two friends, as far south as the US-Mexico border and then up the west coast to Vancouver where their car broke down irreparably. They then hopped freight cars across the country in early winter to return to Ontario, a story that his wide-eyed children were always fascinated to hear!
Eventually around 1953, he made his way to the remote town of Marathon, ON, on the north shore of Lake Superior, for work at the pulp mill there. This was life-changing because it was there that he met Betty, who he married in 1954, to begin 66 years of married life together; both children were born in Marathon.
In 1964 the family moved to Vancouver Island, settling in Duncan, BC, while Cliff worked at the pulp and paper mill at Crofton, BC, completing his formal qualifications in pipefitting and steamfitting.
For several years he also served as a volunteer firefighter (in the latter years as a captain) at the North Cowichan Fire Department.
In 1979 Cliff and Betty moved to Mackenzie, BC, because Cliff was offered a management job in the maintenance department of the pulp mill there. This period was deeply enriched by the entry of Donna and Martin into their lives – and they lovingly provided two grandsons, Alasdair and Campbell, who Cliff and Betty adored.
Upon Cliff’s retirement in 1995 they returned to Vancouver Island, settling again in Duncan where Cliff was very active at the Duncan Curling Club, the Probus Club, and with Community Policing initiatives. They lived there until 2013 when they moved to Courtenay to be closer to family.
Cliff was an energetic and social being. He could enjoy himself in any setting and could make friends with just about anyone. He had a big presence in stature and personality, coupled with a disarming sense of humour and a core of kindness and generosity that underlay everything he did. He also had a way of not worrying about what he couldn’t know or control – he knew how to live in the present. Who wouldn’t be attracted to that?
Cliff and Betty had a huge number of close friends for most of their lives, with whom they shared dinners, danced, curled, golfed, camped, and fished as much as possible.
Cliff was the one you got to be the Master of Ceremonies at your child’s wedding, or the one to organize every aspect of the week-long salmon fishing trip in Barkley Sound, and to do most of the cooking or repair the boat motor as needed. He was multi-talented and he was someone you could count on. For his children he was a source of unquestionable love and acceptance, a man whose moral compass was true, someone we could be proud of.
The last years of Cliff’s life were different as his memory declined and eventually he was diagnosed with vascular dementia. He became much quieter but was still completely congenial. As it happened he had almost no insight into his deficits, so he was not upset by them. He was still living in the present and not asking for another life, not even his earlier life.
We were very touched to see that his care providers at The Views were charmed by him and very fond of him, and we wish to give our sincere thanks to them for their excellent care, and their ability to meet him where he was at. He chose cremation but no service. His ashes will join Betty’s and the family will choose a suitable commemoration for them together at a later date.
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