A prominent Smithers couple who are leaving the Bulkley Valley next week was honoured with a reverse parade Sept. 10.
Gord and Edith Beerda have decided it’s time for them to pull up stakes and relocate to the Lower Mainland.
“We’re going to chase our grandchildren,” Gord said.
In addition to the grandkids, both of Edith’s parents and Gord’s mother also live in the Vancouver area.
Gord’s parents moved to Smithers in the 1950s and started the iconic Beerda’s Dry Goods, purveyor of sewing and knitting supplies and provider of sewing machine and vacuum cleaner service and repairs.
Gord took over from his dad in the 1970s and ran the store for 40 years before shutting it down in 2017, but kept up the sewing machine and vacuum repairs.
He said he was going to miss that work a lot, especially his customers and also their church family.
“Our church family is very important to us, no doubt, but there’s nothing like, in our case, grandchildren,” he said.
Gord and Edith were heavily involved in the Smithers Christian Reformed Church (SCRC) for 45 years.
Stacey Stolte, SCRC church life coordinator, said both Gord and Edith have been invaluable volunteers for the organization.
She said Gord is always available to help out anybody who needs it and Edith has served as a deacon and girls club leader for many years.
“We’re really going to miss them; they’re really an important part of our church,” Stolte said.
Additionally, Gord founded the Smithers Citizens on Patrol group and is still involved in Crimestoppers.
Irene Bakker, a member of the SCRC council, said normally they would have organized a send-off event, such as a barbecue, but that was not possible due to COVID-19 restrictions. She said it did not sit right with her, however, to see Gord and Edith just slip away without being honoured.
She said she had heard some of the reverse parade grad events had been highly successful and well-received by students and thought it would be a good way to say goodbye to the Beerdas.
Well-wishers drove west on Railway Ave., turned north on Toronto St. then east on Broadway Ave. and dropped off cards and candies to Gord and Edith on the front lawn of their home at 4293 Broadway.