October 28, 1925 – November 17, 2009
Our family is mourning the loss of a very special and greatly loved man. Dal passed away peacefully at his favourite place on earth, his seaside home on Salt Spring Island, surrounded by those he loved. As with all challenges set before him over the years, he faced the final one with a brave heart and fighting spirit. Dal leaves the love of his life for 64 years, wife Joan and beloved family, daughter Heather and son-in-law Jim Wild, daughter Sonia, son Chris and daughter-in-law Jacquie, daughter Linda and son-in-law Tom Unger, cherished grandchildren Kristin and Kyra Wild, Vanessa and Wyatt Unger, Allison Ingram and infant great-grandson, Dallas Ingram. Dal is survived by sisters Gail Moss (Roy), Valerie Screaton (John); sisters-in-law Darryl Ingram, Dorothy Ingram; nieces, nephews and lastly, his faithful golden retriever, Goldie. Born in Vancouver of Norwegian and Scottish/Irish ancestry, Dal spent his early years in Alberni and later in Steveston. A gifted athlete, he excelled at everything from basketball to cycling but was best known as a champion high-jumper. At age 18 he enlisted with the RCAF where his exceptional night vision was first recognized along with his remarkable marksmanship. Dal’s dream was to be a pilot but the war ended and he returned to the coast. In 1946 he met Joan (née Sileck) and in 1948 they married and began their life together. Dal spent the next 50 years in the fishing industry, working the treacherous coastal waters from the 49th parallel to Alaska, and great distances beyond the west coast of Vancouver Island. His vessel, the “Heather Isle” was the last commercial wooden seiner to be built at Matsumoto Shipyards in North Vancouver. A seaworthy vessel that travelled the coast year-round, it was considered one of the most photographed and painted boats on the coast. Dal designed and pioneered drum seining and the self-pursing winch, early indicators of his creative abilities that would continue to fascinate us over the years. His knowledge of BC’s coast was immense and well-respected in the industry and he was honoured with a Certificate of Service as a Fishing Master for a vessel over 25 tons. But, more than anything, we are most proud of the lives he saved at sea and for always bringing the crew safely home. A man’s man, courageous, generous and kind, we will miss his fabulous sense of humour and unique way of putting his own spin on things, turning the most mundane event into something exciting and fun. Dal’s love for his family was unconditional and we are all better people for being under his mighty wing. We wish to sincerely thank Dr. Robert Crichton, Dr. David Stuart, the palliative care nurses, the Salt Spring Island ambulance crews, and Lady Minto Hospital for the extraordinary care given to Dal, and the sensitive support extended to our family while we cared for him at home. We have been deeply touched by the landslide of cards, gifts and phone calls since Dal’s passing, a true reflection of a life well-lived. The family is honouring his request that no service or memorial be held. On the evening of his passing, Jim and Chris fired his shotguns from the deck, a truly fitting salute to our beloved captain.
Heading home for Christmas
Tree lashed to the mast
Brave the sea and bring the catch
Our Captain, home at last
But then the sea was silenced
As golden moonbeams fell
To light the passage one more time
Oh Captain, fare-thee-well.
We love you Dad