Ovan Charles (“Charles”) Wilson passed away peacefully at home on Gabriola Island on April 14, 2022, at the age of 73. He fought an extremely courageous battle with cancer, and died surrounded by his loving wife and daughters.
He was the son of Ivan and Olive Wilson, hence the never-used first name Ovan. Charles was born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, the youngest of seven children. Charles’ family moved to London, England in stages when Charles was a child. As is often the way with large families, the family simply couldn’t afford to travel to England at the same time. His father, mother and some siblings left first, leaving Charles in the care of other family in Trinidad from the ages 7-9, which must have been so difficult for this sweet, quiet child. Charles rejoined most of his immediate family in London at the age of 9. At 24 he moved to Toronto and eventually followed his eldest brother Lane to Vancouver. He was proud to be Canadian, although he never lost his subtle Trini/British accent, his good manners, or quiet dignity.
Charles had several vocations over his lifetime. He worked as a computer programmer in London, and later Toronto, after his company sponsored his immigration to Canada. He soon decided, however, that he was too social to sit alone at a computer all day. So he moved out west to study Business Administration at Simon Fraser University. He put himself through school driving taxi. He spoke fondly of this time because he enjoyed the autonomy and flexibility that the job allowed him. Eventually, Charles was hired with the federal government and worked there in varied positions for 22 years. While Charles did well at anything he turned his hand to, one of the best parts of working for the federal government was the pension that gave him the freedom to retire at 60, to do whatever he pleased.
Charles met Karen while they were both working for the government, and they married in 2003. It was the second marriage for both, and their blended family included Hannah and Kendra, Charles’ daughters from his first marriage, and Marc, Karen’s son from her first marriage. The five of them made a happy home together in Vancouver.
When he retired from the federal government, Charles shocked everyone he knew by deciding that he wanted to be a farmer, and saying that he had always wanted to be a farmer, ever since he had visited a mango farm in Trinidad as a young lad. He attended the first year of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Richmond Farm School. He spent the following few years working hard and growing organic vegetables and flowers and selling them at farmer’s markets. He just lit up showing people the kale, carrots, sunflowers etc. that he had grown. He was particularly evangelical about kohlrabi.
For the past 2 years, Charles has been the proud owner of the Gabriola Taxi. Driving the taxi around our wonderful adopted home of Gabriola, Charles made friends everywhere with his easy-going ways, and his way of giving you his undivided attention when he was with you. He was warm and approachable but didn’t tolerate any “foolishness.”
Charles would say he was a simple man. He loved his family first of all, his home, his friends, and his cats. He was also a devoted fan of Manchester United FC for over 60 years, no matter how poorly they were performing at the time.
Charles leaves behind his wife of 20 years, Karen, as well as his daughters Hannah and Kendra (Todd), and step-son Marc, devoted cats Hopi and Little Man, and many beloved family members. He leaves behind family in Trinidad & Tobago, Germany, the USA, Portugal and Canada (from Victoria to Ottawa.) Since his family is so far-flung, no one Celebration of Life will be held. Please raise a glass and hold a happy thought about Charles.
Charles’ family would like to express their immense gratitude to the Gabriola medical support team; from the beloved Dr. Maciej Mierzewski, to our awesome community nurses Maureen and Jessie, as well as the simply amazing home care workers including Julia, Jodie, Julie, Wendy, Maria, Nick, Jenn, Barbara, Sarah, Steve, Allana, Veronica, and cheerful respite worker Leah. The care Charles received here on Gabriola was more than we could have hoped for.
One of his favourite things to say was ‘All is Well’ and truly, it is.
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