Roy was affectionately known by many names, Big Roy, Oy Oy, and The Big Swede. Larger than life at 6ft 4” , handsome, blond and blue eyed he commanded any room he was in with his Viking presence. Last Friday night he passed peacefully with family by his side.
He was pre-deceased by his father, Olav, his mother, Rachel and sister Eva. Left to greatly mourn his loss is his devoted wife, Bodil. (Mom at 5 ft 2” and Dad at 6ft 4” made a striking pair when they twirled the dance floor in their younger years. Mom was the perfect mate for Dad). Also left to mourn are his two daughters, Marita Rosenlind and Barb Olender (Kevin); his much loved grandchildren, Troy Rosenlind (Jayme), and Skye Olender and great grandchildren, Mya and Owen Rosenlind; Dad was particularly proud of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren who brought him many hours of joy and laughter. Also missing him will be his many dear friends who had become like family over the years.
Born in Olso, Norway, Dad grew up during the lean war years and knew what it was like to eat turnips for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He lost his mother at 12 years of age and was sent to boarding school until age 15. At 15 he joined the Norwegian merchant marines and travelled the world enjoying years of adventure at sea and many ports of call in Africa, India, Japan, Cuba, Western and Eastern United States and China. He once told of how he broke his arm at age 18 and was left behind in New York which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as he was then shipped out on an American freighter which paid him better wages and the trips from New York to Cuba had calmer seas! It was also a crash course in English.
Dad first met mom in Sweden while still a seaman. Once he started a family he brought us to Canada to make a better life. They settled at Fairbridge, Cowichan Station, where they made many
life-long friends. Dad was never afraid of hard work and in the beginning he walked 5 miles from Fairbridge to Duncan to catch a ride to work at the Chemainus Mill. He carried a stick after night shifts as he walked home to fend off packs of roaming dogs. After a few months he was able to purchase his first car for $50 and the grocery shopping on Saturdays became easier. Dad was an excellent provider and saw to it our family never wanted for anything. Being very bright and good with numbers he took the PLIB inspector course early in his career. Later he was hired on at Crofton Mill in the newsprint section where he remained until his retirement never taking a sick day in his life. Dad loved his job and the people he worked with.
Our Father was the poster boy for the immigration process. He became a Canadian Citizen who appreciated his job and loved the opportunities Canada gave to him. He was grateful to spend his life in the Cowichan Valley where he fished, golfed, skied and swam on his days off. He enjoyed memberships at the Maple Bay Yacht Club, March Meadows Golf Club, Legion, VSO and many other valley organizations. In his declining years he particularly revelled in his morning swims at the community center and all his “girl friends” there. It was heartwarming for us his family, that when he missed a morning swim, one of the girls would call to check how Dad was.
Dad was blessed to have had so many friends to support him through his illness. We especially thank his best friend since 1964, Al Edkins. Al, thank you for being the good Samaritan who saw a stranger walking on a dark road so many years ago and offered our father a ride that turned into a lifelong friendship. Dad loved those fishing trips to Port Renfew with you.
We would like to make special mention of Betty and Joe, Joan and Gordon. Your friendship helped make Dad’s excursions to Silver Reef and the VSO possible and that meant so much to him. We thank John, for the many crib games and Kathy for the special chowder. He always said how lucky he was to have such friends.
We extend our deepest gratitude to Drs. Pullan and Thomson. Your exceptional care balancing Dad’s lung and heart condition enabled him to enjoy life longer. We also thank the nurses at CDH, especially Emma, who stayed late to journey with Dad and us through his final hours.
The family would like to invite Dad’s friends to join us in in a celebration of his life at the Duncan Community Lodge (formerly Moose Lodge) from Noon until 2:00 pm next Sunday, November 1st. If you have a picture or a story please come share it.
Dad wanted no fuss and no flowers so instead please give your loved ones a hug and tell them you love them.