June 23, 1930 – August 18, 2019
Eric Clough died peacefully at his desk, in his home, in Paradise Valley, Winlaw, British Columbia, on August 18th. He was 89 years old. Born to Bertram Gerald Clough and Helen Margarita Emett Clough on June 23, 1930 in Vista, California, Eric started working at a young age and never stopped. He married Marilyn Tucker and they had two children. He practiced as a landscape architect for 14 years in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Canada in 1968 where he became a BCSLA (BC Society of Landscape Architects) Registered Landscape Architect in 1969 as BCSLA #33 (members number over 450 today). In 2000, a colleague nominated him as a BCSLA Life Member for his over twenty-five years of membership in BCSLA. He was ahead of his time in the practice of using Native plants in landscape architecture, and designed for a wide variety of clients.
When Eric immigrated to British Columbia with a group of close friends, they settled in the Slocan Valley and created an intentional community: the New Family Society. For Eric, this was a return home in a sense – his parents had lived in Vancouver at one time, but the mountains of the interior drew him. The group started a landscape nursery business, and shortly realized that was not sufficient to sustain them.
At that time, Eric was the only landscape architect in the BC interior, and living off the grid with no power or phone, communication was a challenge. He built a successful business by connecting with local architects in the BC interior. His clients included the City of Cranbrook, Fairmont Hot Springs, and the cities of Castlegar, Nelson, and Trail, as well as individual clients in Telegraph Creek, Williams Lake, Victoria, Prince Rupert, and beyond. In the late 70s, Eric designed and built the first passive solar homes in eastern BC, completing three in and near Nelson. The first of these won an award for passive-solar design.
Eric moved to Owen Sound, Ontario, with Carol Ladas Gaskin where he had accepted a position as Heritage Canada consultant. He moved back to the land in British Columbia 10 years later where he made the shift from creating hand-drawn architectural plans to an early CAD system. In fact, he and a friend created the CADalyst newsletter in Eric’s little cabin. He married his longtime partner Nancy Harris soon after his return.
Once Eric started receiving his pension, he began donating half his time to pro-bono work for seniors’ housing projects and other community projects. He is perhaps now best known for his work with the Slocan Valley Seniors’ Housing Society (SVSHS). He designed both the Passmore Lodge and the recently completed Slocan City Suites and served multiple terms as a board member with SVSHS. He was involved in the early planning stages of building the Vallican Whole, volunteering his time and expertise when needed. He also designed the Tibetan Buddhist temple in Taghum.
Eric was generous with his time and energy, and was committed to the wellbeing of others, the health of communities, and of the environment. He was a person of enormous vision, courage, and integrity who was an inspiration and welcoming presence to everyone he met. His steady, warm, nature will be missed by all who knew him. On hearing of his death, one friend wrote, “The lion has left the savannah. Alas.” Another said, “A bright spirit has moved on.”
In a 2005 article on the importance of Land Trust work in the October issue of Sitelines, Eric wrote, “So, making a living while residing in the bush is a challenge, as is promoting and growing the land trust movement. But, it is an interesting challenge and it sooths my inner self. Hearing the sigh of the wind through the trees and the hoot of an owl in the stillness of the night makes it all supremely worthwhile.”
Eric is survived by his daughter Leslie Clough, wife Nancy Harris, Nancy’s daughter Erin Pearson [his grandchildren Isabelle and Clayton], and Nancy’s son, Ananda Harris, as well as Carol Ladas Gaskin, her daughter Dana Gaskin Wenig [and her daughter Kestrel Maeve Wenig]. He will be grieved and remembered as family by past and present members of the New Family, the Paradise Valley Stewards, and many more.
Contributions in Eric’s name may be made to the Slocan Valley Seniors’ Housing Society: SVSHS, 3650 Passmore Old Road, Winlaw, BC VOG2JO. You are invited to leave online condolences by visiting the family’s register at www.thompsonfs.ca.
There will be a memorial celebration of Eric’s life at the Vallican Whole on Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 3 pm.
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