June 3, 2021
Karl Edward Meyer (1948-2021) passed suddenly in an accident on June 3 in Terrace, British Columbia.
Predeceased by his father, Jesse Meyer and survived by his beloved wife, Cindy Rice and his four children, Gretel, Justin, Nick and Mark, their partners (Isaac, Emily, Mika and Mélissa), his mother (Margaret Meyer), his sisters (Louise Woodruff, Susan Pye, and Andrea D’Entremont) and his eight grandchildren, (Tristan, Phelan, Jacob, Susanna, Ruby-Mei, Maxwell, Maverick and Maddox). He had many nieces, nephews and extended family throughout the US.
Karl was a devoted family man, an eternal optimist, a lover of the land, animals and trees. He was a farmer, a woodworker and a firefighter. He was also the Original MacGyver. He could improvise a solution to anything. There was no machine he wouldn’t try to fix, salvage or repurpose.
Karl effortlessly operated rigs and vehicles of every imaginable kind. He drove countless miles in the service of others. He once conservatively calculated that he had driven the equivalent of at least six times around the earth. Nothing kept Karl from jumping behind the wheel, day or night, if there was someone in need, or an opportunity to be with family or friends.
Born and raised in Halifax, Massachusetts, Karl was an active member of the 4-H and Future Farmers of America. He formally studied agriculture at the University of Massachusetts, where he also first worked as a volunteer firefighter. He started his first farm in Deerfield, MA with his then partner, Wilma (Hunt) MacDonald, and his eldest child, Gretel. In 1972, Karl moved his family to Prince Edward Island to farm first in North Wiltshire. He also worked with the Department of Agriculture and then farmed in Fanningbrook, where he would marry Cindy Rice and raise their three sons, Justin, Nicholas and Mark.
On PEI, Karl was known for his can-do spirit, his outsized optimism and his readiness to help at the drop of a hat. He was involved in the NFU and the PEI Soil and Crop Improvement Assoc and operated a sawmill as well as farming. Passionate about sustainability and ethical food production, he converted to certified organic farming practices long before organic was ‘cool’. Karl was a devoted hockey dad and hosted countless young people over the years through Canada World Youth and Katimavik. He was a beloved member of the East River Fire Department and drove for Charlottetown’s Seafood Express. In more recent years, he became a weekly fixture at the Charlottetown Farmers Market, supporting Cindy’s business, Kettlegrove Soapworks.
In 2013 the two moved to Northern BC, where he worked for Nechako Northcoast Construction, gamely driving every rig in the fleet. He served with both the Telkwa and Thornhill Fire Departments. Karl’s ‘retirement’ saw him continuing to be an active member of the Thornhill Fire Department, tilling the town’s community garden and sawing lumber and rebuilding vehicles with his new buddies. He was proud of the robust workshop he set up to carry on his father’s legacy of woodturning and building. In this shop one of his last projects was to build an extraordinarily beautiful wooden stand for the Thornhill Fire Department’s new memorial bell (pictured above).
An outdoor memorial ‘fire practice’ was held on June 13 at the site of Karl’s sawmill, in North Thornhill. A fire was lit in his honour with the slabs from his sawmill and the new memorial bell for the Thornhill Fire Dept was rung for the first time in his honour. After the firefighters extinguished the fire, Karl’s eight grandchildren proudly rode in the firetrucks to lead a ceremonial procession including all local Ambulance and RCMP vehicles, family and community members throughout the towns of New Remo, Terrace and Thornhill.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Karl’s name either to the East River Fire Department in PEI via (https://gofund.me/bfecd555) or to the Terrace Community Garden (Greenthumb Garden Society) through the Northern Savings Credit Union or by e-transfer (firstname.lastname@example.org).