Richard Lawrence Côté
December 22, 1924 ~ December 20, 2014
Richard Lawrence Côté (Larry), 89, passed away suddenly at his home on December 20, 2014 in Creston, B.C.
He was born December 22, 1924 to Zenon and Claudia (Potvin) Côté in Saint-Léon-Le-Grand, Quebec. On June 30, 1958 he married Anna Konopelka in Rycroft, Alberta.
One of 17 children, Larry grew up on his uncle’s farm outside of Montreal, QC. There he learned carpentry from his father as well as mechanical repair working on his uncle’s Ford Model “T”. Larry joined the army at 17, using his older brother’s ID. He was shipped off to England to take his officer’s training before they found out his real age. Luckily by the time they realized their mistake Larry had already turned 18. Larry’s mechanical skills were put to good use in the army working in the motor pool and driving transports. He saw action in Europe and was even wounded in the line of duty. He had many stories to tell.
Larry’s wanderlust saw him living in many places throughout the country. After he returned from the army he lived in Toronto for a time, where he owned and cooked in a small café. From Toronto he eventually ended up in Fairview, AB where he worked as a mechanic at Balisky’s Garage. It was in Fairview that he also met his bride-to-be Anna Konopelka. Anna was teaching in Fairview but her teacherage was so small there were no laundry facilities. She had gone to the Balisky home to do her wash, where she met Larry. Ever the carpenter, Larry was building a bed in the basement and Anna went to see what all the noise was. She found a charming, young Frenchman who soon won her heart. The couple was married shortly after and spent the first night of their honeymoon sleeping in a hayloft. They moved to Whitehorse, Yukon where Larry opened a garage doing mechanical repairs as well as bodywork. It was in Whitehorse that they were blessed with their first two children Debra, and Wayne. In 1963, after 5 years in the Yukon, Larry packed up the family and moved to Creston, BC. Larry worked at various jobs in the valley including mechanical repairs at his own garage on 11th Avenue (where the Credit Union is now located), Creston Motors (located where Shopper’s Drugmart now stands), and Vance Motors (currently Northstar Motors) and even worked as a technician at Tak’s Home Furnishers. It was in Creston where their youngest, Gary, was born. Even though Larry was an accomplished mechanic he’d never received his journeyman’s ticket so he enrolled at Malaspina College in Nanaimo to get his formal education. Larry excelled in the program, even substituting for the professor the times when the professor couldn’t attend. Larry opened his own shop “The Mobile Mechanic” and operated for many years working out of his garage as well as helping stranded motorists.
Larry had a “can-do” attitude and many passions, some of which included carpentry, mechanics and cooking. His love of cooking, carpentry and mechanics lives on through his children and grandchildren, some of which even chose to follow his footsteps in automotive repair. Even though he could easily afford to replace things, he chose instead to disassemble and repair almost any item. He loved figuring out how things worked and then returning them to working order. As a testament to that, their house still has the original stove from 1963. He also loved animals and cherished his cat “Cassie”, a gift from his grandson Jason.
In addition to his wife Anna, Larry will also be missed by his sister Bérangère Côté-Marier; his children Debra (Tom) Stevenson, Wayne (Cheryl) Côté, and Gary (Linda) Côté; his grandchildren Jason, Shaeara, Logan, Benjamin, Caleb, Meredith and Christian; his great-grandchild Aurora-Belle, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.
The family would like to express their sincere gratitude to Dr. Hopkins as well the ambulance service EMT’s, Creston Fire Rescue First Responders and the nurses at the Creston Valley Hospital that worked so diligently caring for Larry.
A Memorial Service will be held for Larry at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday January 17, 2015 at Grace Christian Fellowship, 2416 Cedar Street, Creston; Pastor Steven Schneider officiating. Memorial contributions can be made to Grace Christian Fellowship P.O. Box 92, Creston, BC V0B 1G0.