Captain Donald ‘George’ Shuker (Retired)

January 28, 1936 – November 6, 2020
Passed away peacefully at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital surrounded by family.
He was known by many names: George, Shuk, Dad and Papa.
George was predeceased by his first wife, Vonnée in 1988 after 33 years of marriage, parents, Alfred Shuker, Margaret Wagstaff and brother, Alfie.
George is survived by his loving wife of 31 years, Kathy, his children Grant (Louise, daughter Marayna), Kim (Mitch, daughters Lynsie (Gary), Michelle (Tyson)), Shavon (Kelly), Shavon/Phil Ganderton’s children Brenna (Donny), Kendall (Porter) and Blaine, also great-grandchildren Nixon, Griffin, Brady, Kalia and newest addition, Indie Jules.
George is also survived by Kathy’s son, Jeff (Tara, children Freya, Isobel, Ruby), sister, Annie Wilkinson, as well as nieces, nephews and in-laws.
George celebrated two milestone wedding anniversaries, loving both his wives immensely. Not many people are blessed with having the unconditional love of 2 in their lifetime. Kathy and George recently celebrated their 25th anniversary with memories of their 1995 wedding where the grandkids put on a fun dance performance to “Going to the Chapel of Love”. Their wedding was followed with a north Island “Huntingmoon”.
George was larger than life, with his big straw hat, his Bob Seger dance moves, a box of Smarties in his pocket and famous words, “Now Look It”. George was a colorful and loving husband, dad and Papa. He created many wonderful memories.
A hometown Nanaimo boy , George’s beginnings of lake fishing, ice skating from Douglas Road to town and sledding down Franklyn Street during snowy winter months paved the way for a life connected with the outdoors.
George, an honorary member of the Canadian Merchant Service Guild was described as a fearless Captain. He was hard pressed to use a radio and known as having the loudest voice on the coast. This seaman’s employment began at Nanaimo Towing subsequently moving onto Chemainus Towing, Shield Navigation, Hub Towing and a stint on the ferries. George was also an Associate member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 10 for 30 plus years.
George’s career as a tugboat Captain was central to his family life, often “tug-boating” across Vancouver Island with Vonnée and the “kids”.
Eventually motor-homing became a way of life. An oceanfront campsite staked out at Big Qualicum became an annual mainstay for more than 10 years. Summers filled with family get-togethers including Vonnée’s beloved mother “TuTu” (Eileen Griffiths, RIP).
George constantly eyed the tides, always ready to scour the beach with his shovel, clam bucket, oyster shucking knife, big gum boots and grandkids in tow. Sunsets were spent stoking the fire pit in preparation for his clam and oyster bake-out extravaganzas, while the family played games, cards at the picnic table and chased after their little ones.
George was a top notch cook! He generously offered his famous clam chowder and pea soup , a real treat for family and friends alike. Whether it was coaching girl’s tweenie baseball, hunting expeditions, playing Santa, socializing or ripping up the dance floor to his favourites’ Bob Seger and Elvis, George did it with kid – like enthusiasm.
Notable adventures travelled were to Disneyland, Portugal, Spain, a family Christmas at Mt. Washington, family houseboating on Shuswap Lake and a trip across Canada in 2002 so he could dip his toe in the Atlantic, also many trips RVing in western Canada and USA with Kathy and their dog. Special occasions were welcomed with exuberance. George’s zest for life was always over the top!
George and Kathy have resided in the old city area since 1989. From 2007 – 2010 George and Kathy lived part-time, each year, in Wishart, Saskatchewan, to spend time with Kathy’s son, Jeff and family, making many wonderful memories.
They loved their ‘little house on the prairie’ but the travel and cold winters brought them back to their Nanaimo home to stay. George and Kathy continued with camping time at Big Qualicum, Englishman River and many more with both family and friends.
George was always lending a helping hand at Kennedy Home, where Kathy had worked as a care aide and they took residents camping, to concerts, houseboating and local outings.
George and Kathy enjoyed their settled home life, puttering, always busy. During retirement, George, sporting his oversized straw hat (which he was well-known for) became immersed in gardening, canning and jam making. He was passionate about his prized cherry tomatoes, raspberries and overly abundant vegetables cultivated with care to share with family, friends and neighbours.
Another favorite past-time was walking the neighborhood with his beloved dog, meeting and chatting with his neighbors and friends.
RIP George, you will be dearly missed!
Family members would like to extend a special thank you to Kathy’s sister, Valerie Booth, who assisted in all aspects, many kind neighbours, friends. Also a special thank you to Dr. Mander and First Memorial Funeral Services.
George was a man of the outdoors and it will be fitting to honour him with a celebration of his life when summer breezes approach.

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