Earl was born September 4th 1940 to Alex and Beatrice McKellar. Earl was the eldest son with siblings Joyce, Berniece and Keith. As a child Earl grew up during the war years on his parent’s ranch in the Peace River area. He would often tell stories of his life as a child on the ranch. He would recount how he and his siblings would ride horses or hitch a sleigh as their means of transportation to attend school. He would talk about the Northern lights and how they danced across the northern sky. He recalled how as a child, he would lay on the fields of the ranch during clear dark nights and watch columns of fighters and bombers being flown to Alaska for further transport to Russia to aid the allied war effort.
As a young man during the 1950’s Earl ventured from the ranch and found employment in northern British Columbia. He worked as a truck driver hauling crude oil, machine operator and sawmill worker in the forest industry and then as a deck hand on freighters on the Great Lakes. Earl also enjoyed hunting and spoke often of the game he harvested while a young man.
Earl met the love of his life Elizabeth Waller January 1962 on a blind date at a dance in South Dawson. Earl and Elizabeth married June 23 1962. At this time Earl was working for grain elevators in Grand Prairie and Sexsmith Alberta. Earl’s venturing continued and led to relocating to Prince George in 1963 to work at a sawmill in Giscome. When the sawmill shut down, Earl in need of a job signed up September 1964 with the Corrections services of British Columbia, that led to a career spanning 33 years. Later that same year Earl became a father to his first-born son David and then again to a second son Mitchell in 1969.
Earl began his corrections career as a security officer at the Prince George correctional center. Earl also worked at the Hutda Lake Corrections Camp South West of Prince George. At this time in his career and throughout the 1970’s Earl spent many days away from his family flying to and from Victoria. The purpose for the time away from home was for training and working with committees, to transform antiquated policies within corrections to a modern era of rehabilitation. Earl continued to advance in his career and at the age of 29 became the youngest Principal Officer at that time in the B.C. Corrections Service. Earl described this time of his carrier as tumultuous as he had to suppress riots that had yielded significant injury to personal and damage to both the main facility and the camp. Earl believed that his experiences in Prince George helped him hone his skill, craft and art of being a corrections officer. Earl wanted to give thanks and remembrance to Mr. Barneson the warden who during this time provided guidance and mentorship.
In the summer of 1983 Earl moved his family to Nanaimo and further advanced his career at the Nanaimo Correctional Center. While at NCC, Earl became a Senior Corrections officer and then Director of operations. Earl enjoyed his later years in corrections. He enjoyed mentoring the next generation of corrections officers. He also enjoyed advocating for and the implementation of progressive programs for inmates and their reintegration. Earl was known for his fair, firm compassionate leadership, sense of humor and the numerous stories he shared about his life. Earl retired from the B.C. Corrections Service the summer of 1997.
During his retirement, Earl traveled Western Canada the Territories and Alaska. Earl loved the outdoors and reacquainted himself with hunting. Earl enjoyed riding horseback on many guided hunts with Elizabeth. During this time, Earl harvested Elk, Moose and created loving memories that Elizabeth cherishes to this day. It is also during this time that Earl got to know his Granddaughters Chyanne (2007) and Jenna (2009). Earl loved his Granddaughters and treasured every moment watching them grow.
David Earl McKellar succumbed to his battle with cancer and passed away peacefully Christmas day 2020 in Nanaimo, B.C. with his loving wife Elizabeth by his side. Earl will be remembered as a loving Husband, Father, Granddad and friend. Earl is survived by his wife Elizabeth, Sons David and Mitchell, Daughters in law Rochelle and Jean and Granddaughters Chyanne and Jenna.
Elizabeth and family would like to give thanks to Dr. Helen for the wonderful care you gave Earl, Nanaimo Home Support, Nurse Next Door, Motion mobility supplies, B.C. Cancer Society, Canadian Red Cross, Earl’s long time coffee buddy D. Luken, Earl’s hunting partner Jim Porter and all of the great neighbors that offered support.
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