July 25, 1931 – June 30, 2020
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dearest husband and father Cyril Colonel on June 30, 2020 at the age of 88. Cyril passed away at his home surrounded by his loving family.
Cyril was born July 25, 1931 in Edberg, Alberta to Doris and Dan Colonel, where he spent his childhood at his parents’ coal mine and farm. The family moved to Wynndel, BC in 1943. As a teenager, Cyril began working in the Express office at the CPR, then went north in 1954 and worked on military bases in the Yukon and Northern BC. He has built roads and bridges all over the province, constructed industrial complexes, and been first on the ground in brand-new communities: always at the forefront of Western Canada’s industrialization and building the infrastructure it relied on.
In 1947, Cyril was chosen by the Future Farmers of America to attend as one of two Canadian representatives to a convention in Kansas City. He always said, “It was quite a trip and experience, especially being a small town boy, going to a big city.”
In 1954 he worked on the Stewart-Cassiar Highway and as a Heavy Duty Operator at the Whitehorse Airbase. In 1956, he registered with the Operating Engineers Local 115. In 1957 he worked on the Kelowna pontoon bridge. In 1958, he returned to Wynndel, but still worked away from home, at the Mission Dam and on the Revelstoke bridge.
In 1960, he started Cyril Colonel Trucking, hauling fruit to Alberta and other points east during the summer. In the fall of 1960, he moved his family to Trail to work on the Trail bridge. In the winter of 1961 he worked on the Kootenay River bridge on the Creston flats. Cyril sold his trucking business in 1973 and went to work for Bill Piper, managing Piper Farms, one of the largest farms in the Creston Valley. In 1982, Cyril and Bill formed a partnership known as Colonel & Piper Farms. Cyril and Bill had an amazing friendship which lasted until Cyril’s passing. They were more like brothers than partners. Colonel & Piper Farms was sold to J.H. Huscroft, and Cyril continued to manage the farm for a few more years. In 1999, he began working on a consultant basis with Blackmore Farms. In 2005, at the age of 74, Cyril fully retired.
Cyril has been involved in many community organizations. He was President of the Chamber of Commerce, President of the Creston Valley Grain Growers, Director of the Dehy plant, and President of the Creston Museum, of which he was a life-time member. Cyril was instrumental in reclaiming artifacts and items which were to be sold at an auction sale and are now housed in the Creston Museum. Cyril was a wonderful story teller and had recently completed a book of his many experiences. He was presented with the first copy shortly before he passed.
Cyril was an avid birdwatcher, especially after his retirement. He spent many hours at Duck lake and boating down the river checking bird nests. He recorded all his findings and forwarded them to the Biodiversity Centre for Wildlife Studies in Victoria until he could no longer participate due to ill health.
Cyril’s greatest pride was his family. Cyril is survived by Gwen, his loving wife of 62 years; his six children: Vickie (Jim) Faynor, Shawnene Lavallee, Bonnie Storm, Michael Colonel, Darcey (Rosalie) Colonel, and Stacey (Lorne) Ostendorf; his 11 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren; his sister Joyce (Richard) Philpott; and his brothers David Colonel and Lawrence Colonel.
Cyril was predeceased by his parents, Doris and Dan Colonel, and grandson Josh Faynor.
In lieu of flowers, donations would be greatly appreciated to the Creston Museum, or charity of your choice.
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