Mary Carne is seen with one of her bulging scrapbooks of Greyhound history. Photo: Greg Nesteroff

Recent obituaries chronicle fascinating local lives

Highlighting seven notable passings in Nelson history

Greg Nesteroff

Regular obituary readers will have spotted several noteworthy passings of late.

Mary Carne, the keeper of Greyhound’s history in our area, died April 30, having outlived the company’s local operations by six months.

She was born in 1926 in Vernon and worked for the bus line in Kelowna and Penticton before transferring to Nelson in 1951, then a busy terminal.

“We had a real good business,” she told me in 2012. “It was just after the war. Not many people could afford cars and they travelled by bus. They took some big trips.”

It was perhaps inevitable that Mary married a Greyhound driver, Max Carne, with whom she had two daughters.

She meticulously recorded Greyhound’s activities in the Kootenays and Okanagan, preserving memos, ticket stubs, schedules, and newspaper clippings in bulging scrapbooks and photo albums.

Evelyn Murray, who died on April 9 at 96, was the last surviving person born in the Ymir hospital. The beautiful building at the north end of town burned down in 1930. While she had no memory of it, she did remember Ymir as a thriving mining town. In 1939, she was named Ymir’s May Queen. (Amazingly, colour footage of her coronation survives.)

She was Ymir’s postmistress for 25 years while her husband George, with whom she had five children, was Ymir’s unofficial mayor and a well-known figure in local mining.

Herb Couch, who died of a brain tumour on March 25 at 70, was a longtime local elementary school teacher and advocate for causes including proportional representation and Red Sands beach.

But he was best known for fighting for cannabis legalization, which he lived long enough to see. He was the West Kootenay co-ordinator for SensibleBC and Western Canada director for Educators for Sensible Drug Policy.

• In 1954-55, the Nelson Maple Leafs line-up featured a 20-year-old rookie winger from Manitoba named Bruce (Hoagy) Carmichael. He scored 20 goals and adding 21 assists in 37 games, finishing fourth in team scoring. He joined the pro ranks that season, playing three games for the Saskatoon Quakers — the start of a 15-year career in the AHL and WHL, in which he was a dependable scorer and gentlemanly player.

He rarely missed a game, never had fewer than 20 goals in a season, and usually collected fewer than 20 penalty minutes. He played more than 1,000 games in the WHL and scored over 400 goals. He was inducted into both the Manitoba hockey and baseball halls of fame.

Carmichael died April 26 in Burnaby at 85.

Evelyn (Buddy) Ramsay was 100 when she died on March 7. Her earliest memories were of Kaslo, where her family moved in 1920 when she was two. They later came to Nelson, where her father was city engineer. She married Bill Ramsay in 1941 and they bought Vogue Studio.

Buddy became skilled at hand-tinting black and white photos. They started Ramsay’s Cameras in 1953 and added an art supplies division, which Buddy ran. They sold the camera business in 1971, but their name survived on the art supply store into the 2000s.

In 2013, Buddy made a four-figure donation to the Nelson CARES Society to help pay for upgrades to Ward Street Place — a building her father owned in the 1930s and ‘40s.

Greta Smith was 97 when she passed in Nelson on March 6. She was survived by her husband of 75 years, Eric, 100, whom she met on a blind date during the Second World War. Eric, who hailed from Longbeach on Kootenay Lake, was stationed in northeast England with the air force at the time. They married in 1944 and Greta came to Canada on a ship full of war brides.

Asked a few years ago about the secret to their long marriage, Greta laughed: “Sheer determination. We never had any problems. We still get along all right.”

Pat Kellogg, who died in Trail on April 12 at 86, marked her 80th birthday by returning to her birthplace: the house at 112 Vernon St. in Nelson, now the How Shang Shway teahouse. Her family gathered there for a surprise party.

She only recognized the staircase and fireplace but “my grandmother’s aura was overwhelming.” Her grandmother bought the house in 1931 and Pat lived there until she was 11 or 12 and returned later to stay in a basement suite. Among other jobs, she was a secretary for Notre Dame University president Cecil Kaller.

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