October 14, 1922 – November 1, 2020
A life well lived is an inspiration
Lyle Kenneth Engemoen was born on October 14, 1922 to Albert and Mabel Engemoen in Wadena, Saskatchewan and was the seventh of 12 kids.
Lyle’s parents were farmers with Norwegian roots and his stories of life on the farm during the Great Depression account for the persistence and self reliance that shaped his long life.
Lyle enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air force in 1942 and trained in Guelph as a radio operator. He was then posted to England and flew 29 missions in Halifax bombers. On the night of September 15, 1944, the crew of 8 was shot down into the North Sea.
Lyle was later awarded the RCAF Distinguished Flying Medal for his “devotion to duty” and bravery in managing to send the SOS and coordinates that resulted in their dramatic rescue from the small life raft several hours later.
While training in Guelph, Lyle met Lorene, the love of his life. After the war, Lyle followed his father and his younger brothers and sister to the Comox Valley. Lorene then travelled across Canada by train to meet Lyle and they were married in Cumberland in 1946. They built their first home in Courtenay where they raised Jan, Craig, and Judy.
Lyle worked in logging when he first arrived. He chose retail as his career after working for Spencer’s in Courtenay and then in management positions for Eaton’s for 41 years in Courtenay, Nanaimo, and the Lower Mainland.
Lyle was an active community volunteer for the Courtenay Recreation Association and the swim club as well as the Native Sons where he served as president in 1955/56. In Nanaimo, Lyle was a Rotary Club member, and again volunteered for the swim club.
An avid gardener for his whole life, Lyle’s gardens were large, prolific, and beautiful. The bushels of tomatoes kept Lorene busy with canning and freezing for many years. Later, the food bank was delighted to receive some of his bounty.
Lyle was a lifelong baseball fan and remembered playing with the family and neighbours on the farm. Later, he took his kids to the travelling league games at Lewis Park in Courtenay. He set up a little ball diamond in the big yard in Courtenay for Craig and the neighbourhood kids and invited everyone to play. He was a dedicated Canuck fan and followed ML baseball, and golf as well.
After retirement he enjoyed playing golf with retired friends and was often part of a foursome with Jan and Graham and friends. He continued to play for over 20 years and was still walking the 9 hole hilly course until he was in his late 80s. He was an avid reader and he and Lorene ensured that Jan, Craig, and Judy developed a love of reading too.
Retirement years in Port Moody were enriched by grandchildren, Sarah and Matthew. Lyle and Lorene delighted in having them stay over and taking them to theme parks, mini golf, and shopping.
Lyle recently lived at the Hawthorne Seniors’ Care Community in Port Coquitlam where he discovered new activities including fitness classes, drumming, and music. Thank you to all the wonderful Hawthorne Lodge staff who treated our Dad with such kindness and respect and made his years in care a comfortable and safe time. Also, a special thanks to Heather (daughter of RCAF crew mate, Al MacDonald) and Rob for friendship and support to Lyle over many years.
So many friends and former colleagues have described Lyle as a gentleman, gracious, thoughtful, and patient. On his 98th birthday, when asked what has been most important to him over his life, he said it is important to do the right thing every day, to treat other people well, and to do what they tried to do on the farm where everyone tried to help everyone else.
Lyle is survived by daughter Jan (Graham), son Craig (Della), grandchildren, Sarah and Matthew, and his brothers Vern and Norman. He is predeceased by his wife, Lorene, and daughter, Judy.
Lorene and Lyle’s ashes will be scattered together at a later date in accordance with their wishes.
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