November 16, 1927 – April 28, 2022
Rowan Edwin Ley passed away smiling April 28 at 3:06 in the afternoon at Wexford Creek in Nanaimo. He was 94 years young and started his new journey on his own terms.
He leaves behind Barbara Ley his wife and 5 children. Steven, David, & Jon Ley and two stepdaughters Tamara & Mya and his 5 Grandchildren; Dawson, Morgan, Rowan, Sebastian, & Julianna…
Rowan graduated from Brentwood college where he excelled at sports. He was Captain of the Cricket, Rugby, & Tennis Teams. On graduating Rowan went back to teach at Brentwood for 2 months.
Next Rowan wanted to see the world so the Merchant Navy was his home for next three years. His ship was called the Lake Chilliwack. He saw many ports of call around the world and survived some very interesting experiences in Haifa Israel 1947, at Sea, and on the docks of Shanghai.
Years later he displayed his sailing skills plying the windy waters of Osoyoos lake with a flat bottomed 12′ sail boat. Next he built a Kayak and paddled many times out to Tree Island and beyond…
Returning to dry land, he landed a mailroom clerk position at Standard Oil of BC. He worked at now Chevron Canada for over 40 years and exited at 61. His legacy at Chevron was that he created the first card lock system and an inventory management system. Working with Chevrons first main frame computer system sprawling over 3 rooms his official title came to be “Supervisor of Data Input”. He embraced the challenge put before him and with his keen eye for detail and innovative mind he managed the task. Years later a team from California was sent up to better his system and they could not.
Rowan stepped up as leader in the Dunbar community. He coached soccer for 7years and was involved in the Boy Scouts program. Later he helped to build trails in the north shore mountains and was heavily involved in the Clayoquot Sound preservation. He was a big supporter of The Western Wilderness Committee.
Rowan loved a challenge – he jumped out of plane at 10,000 ft at 65 years young free falling 7000 ft. He cycled around Ireland and then the big Island of Hawaii. He championed the Cycle News Magazine and got to task as Editor of the magazine. He was quite the wordsmith.
He participated in group races. He was an avid racquet sports player. His forte was badminton & squash and he was a beautiful swimmer. He will be remembered for his foray on stage at 85 playing Grace in drag in Murphy’s Wake. He brought down the house when he accidentally tossed a plate of fruit onto someone’s lap. The audience roared with laughter….
Rowan will be remembered for his big beautiful generous heart. He volunteered for Meals on Wheels, he ran the out-patient Hospice Bed Program for the Comox Valley. While volunteering at Glacier View, he started a singing group and insured all were welcome, and he assisted with the swimming program.
He started a men’s grief counselling group and Rowan and Barbara would open up their home and invite the men in for homemade soup every Tues. afternoon.
Rowan walked his own spiritual path. He took care of Barbara who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and gently guided her in his 90s nurturing her and keeping a vigilant eye. Never complaining, just doing. His favourite sayings “This too shall pass” and “It tis what it is” and Rule 6 – “Not to take oneself too seriously”.
Rowan you have your wings now and we know you are where you are smiling a thousand smiles and singing a thousand songs. Those of us still tethered to this earth will carry you in our hearts until it is our turn to take the leap. You showed us magic and grace. We will walk with you amongst the giant ferns of Seal Bay Park….
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