Shoop – Clifford Thomas
September 26, 1920 – December 18, 2008
Born in Kinuso Alberta to Ira Wilson Shoop of Dauphin County Pennsylvania and Mary Melinda (Lina) Shoop (nee Thomas) of Manitoulin Island Ontario and growing-up in Vancouver’s West End, Cliff moved to Nanaimo in 1952. The third of four children Cliff was predeceased by his siblings Ted, Leah and Phyllis.
Cliff’s childhood was filled with family and the joyful adventures of children such as “riding the rails” to see the Calgary Stampede when he was 13. At King George High School in Vancouver he excelled in athletics as a star rugby and lacrosse player. Cliff also played rugby for the Vancouver Rowing Club as well as playing league soccer and baseball. Winters were devoted to skiing and ski jumping at Hollyburn Mountain where his big sister Leah had a cabin. Following high school in the late-30’s Cliff worked at a variety of jobs including ones with the CNR, Boeing and several seasons “in the bush” logging at Northwest Bay and Rock Bay.
Like so many of his generation Cliff enlisted at the outbreak of World War II and was soon assigned to training commandos in winter warfare and survival. Not content remaining “at home” he volunteered for service in an active theatre. In June 1942, shortly before being posted for overseas deployment, Cliff married his sweetheart Irene Smith. In the Fall of 1944 he was assigned to the Canadian Scottish Regiment as a commissioned officer serving in France, the Netherlands and on to the Rhine before being wounded in battle and invalided home with a permanent disability.
Following the War Cliff worked in the insurance industry for several years before joining the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, working at the Pacific Biological Station for many years in both salmon and lobster research. Working for the DFO had the added advantage of allowing him to indulge his life-long love of the West Coast environment. After early retirement from DFO he was the first manager of the Nanaimo River Salmon Hatchery and did a number of over-seas projects with CIDA.
Cliff also had a strong belief in “giving back” to the community. He was active politically throughout his life and served as a board member of SD#68, the Departure Bay Rate-Payers, the Mid-Island Co-op and the Nanaimo Credit Union as well as being an early member of SPEC. In later years he was active with Meals on Wheels, Seniors Peer Counselling and Hospice. He was well known by many residents, both old-timers and newcomers whom he took pride in welcoming to Nanaimo.
Cliff was particularly passionate about learning, whether it be self directed or formal. After the untimely death of his wife Irene in 1980 he honoured both her memory and her work in the community by establishing a scholarship in her name at Vancouver Island University. To be eligible for the scholarship applicants must not only demonstrate academic qualities but also be actively involved in their community.
Over the past few years he faced a number of physical challenges and his war injury became more problematic. Cliff took a proactive approach to his health and would often joke that “growing old was not for sissies”. Through it all, his mind remained active and engaged, never content with chit-chat Cliff was always interested in others and was a keen observer of politics and current events.
Cliff will be greatly missed by his children Gregg (Linda), Lynn (Philip) and Michael (Else), his grand children Rebecca (Fernando), Hannah (Darryl), David (Andrea), Esther (Dan) and Carolina (Craig) and his great-grandchildren Tyler, Abigail and Oliver. He will also be missed by his close friend, Beatrice as well as the many others who shared time with him and who contributed so much to his life in so many ways.
Cliff died peacefully of old age after a short stay in hospital with his daughter by his side. Respecting Cliff’s wishes there will be no public memorial service. A private celebration of his life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers he would ask you to donate to the Nanaimo Community Hospice Society, the Cancer Society, the Parkinson’s Society or the charity of your choice.