Hugh Rowland Halls

HALLS, Hugh Rowland

1912 – 2010


Born in Victoria, BC on March 18, 1912, Rowland passed away at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox, BC on September 8, 2010, in his 99th year. Predeceased by sister, Marion Halls-Ketcham, and his wife, Edith Mary Halls (Ralston); he is survived by daughter, Roberta Pagdin, son, Sid (Annie), niece, Mary Ann Ketcham, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.


As a young lad, Rowland attended University School in Victoria where he excelled at mathematics, boxing and horseback riding. An accomplished pianist, he played in a jazz band for several years. Like his father, Rowland made a career with BC Electric and continued on after the company became BC Hydro. His first BCE job was working on pipeline construction for the new hydro generating station at Jordan River. He soon moved into the sales department and then to the transportation sector, becoming transportation manager from 1946 until his retirement in 1973 – a span of 43 years with BCE and BC Hydro.


During World War II, Rowland acted as a Civil Defense Coordinator for southern Vancouver Island. One of his responsibilities was organizing and commanding the Vancouver Island Power Boat Squadron (VIPBS). This organization was comprised of powered boats of all types – from tugs to yachts to fish boats – which were painted camouflage gray, and were used to patrol the waterways and perform search and rescue when needed. After the war ended, many members of VIPBS remained friends and wanted to continue boating together. Rowland was one of the founders and the first Commodore of the newly-formed Capital City Yacht Club, of which he was made an honorary life member in later years.


A dedicated yachtsman, he spent most weekends and many summer holidays cruising the Gulf Islands and Desolation Sound aboard the ‘Roberta II’ and later on ‘Siroma.’ Rowland and Edith were also longtime members of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, the BC Maritime Museum, S.A.L.T.S., and the Greater Victoria Art Gallery. After his retirement, they enjoyed tending the beautiful gardens of the family home and sitting in the sun with their feline friends. During the winter, Rowland derived much pleasure from his model railroad, and loved seeing the children’s eyes light up as the little trains hurtled into tunnels and reappeared in unexpected places. It was always important to him to stay abreast of current affairs; he was fascinated by the changes that had taken place over the past century and curious about those he knew were yet to come.


In 2007, Rowland and Edith moved to Comox to spend their final years close to their family. With the help of the caregivers from ‘People At Home,’ Rowland was able to live comfortably at home until his final three days.


Thank you to Dr. John Fitzpatrick for his 3½ years of care and to the third floor staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital for their kindness to our father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Interment will be at Royal Oak Burial Park in Victoria.