W. Nelson McInnis, DFC
1919 ~ 2008
A well known, well loved, and respected citizen of the Comox Valley, Nelson McInnis passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, May 10, 2008 at the age of 89 years. Predeceased by his wife Joan in 1995, Nelson is survived by his daughter Sybil (Doug) of Courtenay, granddaughter Kimberly of Victoria and many nieces and nephews.
Nelson was born in Baynes Lake, B.C. on February 13, 1919 as one of the seven children of Hugh and Bessie McInnis. He grew up in the small town of Yahk, B.C. and graduated from high school in Trail. Following the outbreak of World War ll Nelson went overseas with the R.C.A.F. and was stationed at Linton On Ouse, England where he served as a bombardier on Lancasters and was awarded seven medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross for service to his country. While in England, Nelson met his future wife Joan and the newly married couple returned to Canada in 1945. Later that year, Nelson and Joan arrived in the Comox Valley where Nelson became employed at the Morris and Godley Furniture Store on Fifth Street.
Always interested in the well being of young people, Nelson decided to enter the teaching profession and began an illustrious career in September, 1957 at the new Lake Trail Junior High School. This was the beginning of a long and distinguished twenty-eight year career in education including appointments as Principal of Arden, Union Bay, Tsolum, Airport and Cumberland Elementary Schools as well as a term as District Principal and as a curriculum consultant with the Department of Education in Victoria. Thousands of Comox Valley students share pleasant and happy memories of their school experiences with Nelson McInnis as both a teacher and a Principal. Nelson was also well known for the encouragement and inspiration he provided to his many teaching colleagues.
Nelson was an individual who believed in giving back to his community. As such, he was a founding CO of the Comox Valley Air Cadet Squadron, a supporter of the Comox Valley Boys and Girls Club, a co-founder of the Comox Valley Big Brothers; Chairman of the United Way; past President of the Comox Valley S.P.C.A. as well as an active member of the Church of St. John the Divine and an participant in the restoration of St. Andrews Church in Sandwick. Other community involvement included membership in the city of Courtenay Heritage Committee, Co-Chairman of the B.C. Seniors Games and past President of the C.D.T.A. Nelson was also a co-author of the successful book “Land of Plenty” – a History of the Comox District. His service to community was formally recognized in 2001 with the honour of being named a Freeman of the City of Courtenay.
The family would like to express their sincere gratitude to the staff of Abbeyfield House for their very wonderful care and attention toward Nelson over the past four years. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Comox Valley S.P.C.A. or the Comox Valley Boys and Girls Club.
A Christian service for Nelson will be conducted at the Northgate Foursquare Church, 1640 Burgess Rd, Courtenay at 2:00pm Friday May 16th – fellowship and refreshments following.