October 26, 1939 – January 28, 2021
It is with deep sorrow that we announce the death of Mel Massey… dear husband, cherished father, beloved grandfather (Papa), and loyal friend. Born on October 26, 1939 at the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, Mel died on January 28, 2021, at the age 81 at his home in Duncan.
Mel is lovingly remembered by his wife of 61 years, Peggy Ann (Haxthow)…”the love of my life, my best friend, nurse and most nurturing spirit.” His children, Sandy (husband Rick), Dan, Lisa, and Andy (wife Karyn) will remember him for the exceptional father (and father-in-law) that he was.
He will be fondly missed by his nine grandchildren, Matt & Ben, Nic & Sarah, Jessie & Jake, and James, Jayden & Scott. “Our descendants are my finest accomplishment; their unqualified love has been my greatest pleasure and feeling of legacy. “I am proud of all of them and their individual accomplishments.” Mel also leaves behind his cherished dog, Tippy.
Mel was predeceased by his parents Fred Massey (1949) and Florence (Smith) (1968). Mel was predeceased by his brother Vincent in 2014, and his sister in-law Diana Massey in 2017. He is also survived by his brother’s children, nephews Raymond, Michael and niece Tanya. His sister-in-law Grace (Haxthow) Palfrey (2005) was also very dear to him and he leaves behind his nephew Jon (wife Karle), as well as Peggy’s brother Rolf (Haxthow), and sister Sally Blake.
His schooling took place in Duncan, where he attended the historic Old Koksilah School, St. Ann’s at Mt. Tzouhalem, and Cowichan High School. Mel’s business and community service work included: being a founding member of the Cowichan Minor Football Association and serving as its first President, the City of Duncan Recreation Commission 1966 – 1968, Duncan Chamber of Commerce, Duncan Jaycees, Duncan Gyro Club, and Duncan Rotary Club. In Port Alberni, Mel was elected to two terms as a City of Port Alberni Alderman from 1973 thru 1976.
In addition, Mel was active in the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce, serving as President in 1972, President of the Gyro Club of the Albernis 1972 – 73 and was a member of the Rotary Club in Port Alberni.
Mel’s business career started in the retail food and wholesale distribution industry when he began working part-time while attending Cowichan High School. During his career, he took his family to many B.C. communities including Duncan, Victoria, Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Vancouver, Westbank, White Rock and finally Parksville where he and Peggy moved to in 1992, retiring in 1995.
He served as a supermarket manager for both Canada Safeway (1959- 1968) and Super-Valu (1968-1976) and then joined head office at Kelly Douglas & Company Limited, (1976 -1995) where he served first as a District Manager for Super-Valu, then as Retail Operations Manager for approximately 80 Super-Valu supermarkets throughout B.C. Mel finished his career as a Retail Operations Consultant to Kelly Douglas & Company Limited and took early retirement at age 55 as a result of illness.
His wife, Peggy devoted her life to raising four wonderful, loving and caring children. She organized the 22 business related moves for the family (including numerous family pets), the many school changes for the children, and tended to the busy social life that went along with Mel’s career and community life.
Mel’s happiest memories where from time spent with family and friends at the cabin on Sproat Lake, near Port Alberni. The cabin was built in 1972 in an old fashioned “neighbourly, barn-raising style” group effort with friends and family, with an A-frame style, hand split cedar shakes for the roof, and a large deck to accommodate and host huge parties and reunions.
A special mention for the cabin construction goes to longtime friends, Jim Sawyer and Terry Geernaert. The cabin is where Mel could “recharge his batteries” and was his “relief and renewal spot on this earth, and personal cathedral. “Three generations of Masseys have since enjoyed their time at the lake!
Mel was fascinated by genealogy and history. In retirement, his winter days were filled with exciting projects on both his and Peggy’s family history. Mel’s mixed heritage of Welsh, Irish, French Canadian and Peggy’s of Norwegian and Scottish gave him countless hours of pleasure.
He often used his grandmother’s—she sang like a bird—Welsh drinking cheer or skoal – “Iechyd da” – (Ya-key-da). He supported the Koksilah School Historical Society and Peggy’s “Hollyburn Lodge Historical Society.” Mel also organized and raised funds for the memorial cairn at Haven Point, Cinnemousun Narrows Provincial Park on Shuswap Lake, in memory of his grandfather, Captain John Joseph Smith.
Through the years Mel was fortunate to be able to travel. His business trips with Loblaws took him throughout Canada visiting most of its major cities, the Yukon and North West Territories, and the U.S., including New York and Dallas. For Mel, the greatest pleasure in business was the thousands of interactions with the people he met. With family and friends sometimes coming along, Mel and Peggy also had many pleasure trips to Hawaii, California and the Napa Valley, Reno and Las Vegas, Florida, Washington, Oregon, Columbia, England, Paris and Hong Kong.
A heartfelt thanks goes out to Mel’s doctor, Dr. Stephen Beerman of Anchor Family Medicine in Nanaimo, for his dedication and years of support and guidance. Mel and his family appreciated all the care he received from the VIHA wound care clinic in Duncan, the ambulatory nurses who attended these last months for regular visits and brightened his day, and for the Home Care Workers who helped him in the home. All were thoughtful and caring.
Mel and his family would like to recognize MAiD provider, Dr. Andrea Wilhelm, for the ease which she made Mel feel, and her respectful and caring demeanor.
In memory of Mel, honouring the kind and thoughtful man that he was, please spend some time with your loved ones, call a distant friend or relative, or perform an act of kindness in your community. He hoped that with his passing, he would be to the many friends and people he interacted with during his life, “a good memory.” Mel wished for no memorial service to be held, but at a later date his ashes will be scattered in the area of his beloved cabin on Sproat Lake.
Digital copy online at HW Wallace Cremations.
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