April 22, 1915 – November 10, 2010

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Herbert Wallace Leach, on November 10, 2010, in Killarney Hospital, Killarney, Man., after a short illness. He passed peacefully in his sleep at the age of 95.

Herb was born in Vancouver on April 22, 1915 to William and Minnie Leach. When he was a year old they moved to Delbourne, Alta., where his father was the manager of a ranch, and eventually purchased the Delbourne Hotel. When the hotel was destroyed by fire a few years later, they moved to Smithers in 1923, where his father had a freight hauling business, before purchasing the Bulkley Hotel. Herb was schooled in Smithers, where he graduated normal school. He worked in various jobs, including working at Smithers Cash & Carry before purchasing it. Eventually the store was renamed the Shop Easy, and he took his brothers Bill and Archie in as partners with him and formed Leach Brothers who would go onto owning several hotels throughout B.C.

In 1961 he sold the store and partnered with John Dunlop in Bulkley Valley Wholesale, which he owned until 1973 when it was purchased by his son, Tom and nephew John.

In 1939 Herb married Beatrice Mary Monks, and in 1949 their only child, Tom was born. They were married for 43 years before Bea’s passing in 1982. They worked together in their businesses for many years, with Bea as bookkeeper, while Herb ran the business. They travelled extensively before buying a place in Arizona where they spent the winters for many years. He later said that his marriage to Bea was the most important day in his life.

He was very involved in all aspects of community life in Smithers. He loved to play hockey and baseball, and coached as well. He was a member of the Native Sons Hockey team and Snappy Nine’s Ball Team. They travelled around the North on weekends, playing in tournaments for many years. He was also a member of the Elks, a charter member of the Rotary Club and lifetime member of Masonic Lodge and volunteered in many other organizations. He was a Councillor for the Town of Smithers for 20 years. He ran unsuccessfully for the Progressive Conservative Party in 1952. He enjoyed golfing in his later years, keeping in contact with old friends and sharing his many stories of the people he knew with is 3 grandsons whom were his pride and joy.

In 1989 Herb married Norma Nichol, an old friend he had met while living in Arizona, whose husband had also recently passed away. He moved to Killarney, where Norma and her husband had farmed for years, and lived there until his passing.

Herb was a generous, kind man who was a friend to everyone he met. He loved and was loved dearly by his family, who he always kept in touch with and passed on his memories and words of wisdom. He will be greatly missed and remembered as a great dad and grandfather and a very special person.

Herb is survived by his son Tom (Donna) of Smithers, grandsons Trevor (Rhonda) of Smithers, Kelly (Alissa) of Kelowna and Darcy of Langley, great granddaughters Ryan, Alivia and Taylor, brother Bill (Renie), of White Rock, B.C., sister Betty Brittons of Prince George, B.C., sister-in-law Mardie (Monks) Haywood of Kamloops, and many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by wife Beatrice, sister Hazel and brother Archie, and 2nd wife Norma.

A Celebration of Life will be held for Herb on November 27, 2010, at the Old Church Building at 3704 1st Ave, corner of King Street, at 2 p.m.

Anyone who would like to share a memory of Herb, we encourage you to do so.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Bulkley Valley Foundation.

When I come to the end of the road, And the sun has set for me,

I want no rites in a gloom-filled room, Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little, but not too long,

And not with your head bowed low, Remember the love that we once shared, Miss me, but let me go.

For this is a journey we all must take, And each must go alone,

It’s all a part of the Master’s Plan, A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart, Go to the friends we know,

And buy your sorrows in doing good deeds, Miss me, but let me go.

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