WIPPER, Harry Robinson
May 8, 1930 ~ March 22, 2012
Born May 8th 1930 in St. Catharines Ontario, he was affectionately known as “Buddy” to his family. Through determination, he became an accomplished athlete who excelled in team sports, particularly lacrosse in which he won four national Mann Cup championships with Peterborough. After graduating from McGill University, he came out west in 1956 as player/coach for the Nanaimo team who went on to win the Mann Cup that year. He would later be inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame and the Ontario, Peterborough and Nanaimo Sports Halls of Fame.
In 1958 he began working for the City of Nanaimo as manager of facilities & recreation. During the same year he fell in love with one of Nanaimo’s native daughters, Sharon Storrie. The two were soon married and began raising their family of four children. In 1969 Dad and Mom built their beautiful waterfront home on the shores of Nanoose Bay. We moved in with plywood floors, stud walls and no interior doors. Life was wonderfully busy with dogs, cats, horses, ducks and pet crows; summers spent swimming, fishing, sailing & waterskiing; family picnics; the backyard skating rink, the big garden, the Dawson Valley farm, family camping, canoe and ski trips (Mt. Baker was never the same after Dad skied there). Later on, Mom and Dad would spend the summers cruising up and down the inner coast aboard Innisfree 1 and travelling abroad.
Dad understood the value that parks & recreation provides a community. Through his leadership and work with many service clubs and sports organizations he spearheaded the development of many of Nanaimo’s parks and recreation facilities including Bowen Park, Maffeo-Sutton and May Bennett-Pioneer Parks, the Bowen Complex and the Kinsmen Pool. Dad also enjoyed his community involvement with Rotary. When Dad retired in 1988 the City of Nanaimo named a new park, Harry Wipper Park off of Hammond Bay Rd., in his honour.
Mom’s sudden death in 2002 was a shock to Dad and the whole family. After a few years he had the good fortune to start a new relationship with the lovely Shirley Rafter. The two of them enjoyed travelling together and spending time with family and friends.
Dad passed away quietly on March 22nd, as his struggle with Parkinson’s came to an end. He is survived by his four children, Jennifer (Barry) Clarke, Peter (Karen), Philip (Becka), Elizabeth (Graham) Makarewich; and seven grandchildren: MacKenzie Clarke, Cam & Logan Wipper, Sam & Ewan Ackroyd-Wipper and Jack & Michael Makarewich; sister Audrey Wipper; cousins and extended family from Ontario.
Dad taught us the value of hard work and perseverance. It’s not the talent you were given but rather the effort you put into reaching your potential. He was a strong, honourable man who lived his life with integrity and respect and who deeply cared for his family. We are proud of his accomplishments and grateful for the opportunities that he and Mom provided us.
Friends and family are invited to join us in celebration of Dad’s life at a Memorial Service and Tea to be held on Saturday, April 7th at 2:00 pm at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 29 Church St., downtown Nanaimo. The family would like to thank the venerable Brian Evans, staff and members of St. Paul’s Church, Sands Funeral Chapel and especially thank the very kind Joe Marie Abella who was Dad’s full time caregiver over the past year. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre would be greatly appreciated (c/o UBC Hospital, 2221 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, B.C, V6T 2B5 www.parkinsons.ubc.ca