In loving memory ~
Adam Charneski passed peacefully at home in Vancouver with his family at his side on July 24, 2023. Adam was predeceased by parents Bill Chernetsky and Mary (nee Kowalik), his youngest son Bruce in 2017, and siblings Peter, Ann, and Edward. Adam Charneski was born December 21, 1932, on the family farm in Poplar Park, Manitoba. He was the beloved husband to Sheila, cherished Dad to Carol (Bill), Dawn (Gerry), Gary (Ada), Robert (Janet) and Bruce, adored Grandad to Adam (Debbie), Andrew (Vicky), Derek (Hayley), Claire (Neil), and loved Great-Grandad to Sydney, Olin, and Hannah, extended family and many friends gathered during Adam's long life. He is survived by his much-loved younger sister, Bernice, and her family in Winnipeg.
In 1951, Adam started at Canadian Hoosier Engineering as an apprentice lineman, taking electrical engineering courses towards a journeyman certification. When Morrison Knudsen asked Hoosier for help on the Kemano-to-Kitimat transmission line in Northern B.C. in 1953, Adam leapt at the opportunity. Within a month, Adam was in Kemano at 20 years of age, directing stringing operations. He soon fell in love with the mountains and the job. On his first day off, Adam climbed above Kildala Pass and built a rock cairn, which still stands today, with two plaques added over the years. In 1954, at the age of 21, Adam was hired by the Aluminum Company of Canada as the first Transmission and Distribution Foreman for Kemano Power Operations. Adam met his wife-to-be Sheila on a blind date, and their marriage, in 1957, was one of the first performed in Kemano's little church.
This line, Kildala Pass, traverses some of the toughest mountain terrain in Canada, at 65 miles long and over a mile high at its highest point. For the next 16 years, Adam safeguarded the transmission lines and towers stretching over the mountains between Kemano and Kitimat from natural disasters, including huge amounts of snow, avalanches, rime ice, high winds, roaring rivers, forest fires, landslides, and floods. Through the years, he conceived, designed, and built almost as many tower protective measures as there are towers. The supervision and maintenance of the line was carried out with the use of various boats, tugs and barges, bridge-building and of course helicopters. Helicopters were integral to the construction of this transmission line, its maintenance and ongoing operation in challenging terrain and harsh conditions. Adam had great respect for his pilots and if a pilot was reckless or drank, that was the last time they flew for him.
In 1970, Adam transferred to Kitimat as the dual Transmission Line and Kitimat Works Power Supervisor and stayed until 1989, when he relocated to Vancouver to join the Alcan KCP management team as a project advisor. Officially retired on December 31, 1997, Adam continued to offer advice on transmission line and tower challenges. From 2007 to 2008, he was a key part of the team contracted to build a second catenary on the transmission line, a short distance from the first catenary that was constructed in 1955. Adam was the only person who was there for the installation of both catenaries, a fitting cap to his pride in his career and love for Kemano, Alcan, and that transmission line. The success of the Kemano to Kitimat transmission line will continue to benefit from Adam's legacy in safety and achievement.
For decades, Adam took great pleasure in relaxing with a fishing rod on a riverbank or in his boat— he was an excellent fisherman. For many years, he and his sons, or a good friend, would plan a hunting trip to fill the family freezer. Adam enjoyed his years in retirement with many fishing trips to Bamfield and Kitimat on his own and with family members. Adam loved taking his grandsons fishing, hunting, and camping, travelling in his beloved van, towing his boat. While they were growing up, Adam took his children fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, taught them how to ride bikes, drive cars, to not let anyone down, to work hard, and to be generous and polite. His GSA (Good Sound Advice) will always live on in their hearts, minds, and actions. Adam's marriage to Sheila was his life's best work; their 67 years together is an inspiration, an aspiration, and a loving legacy.
A career of firsts and a life of adventures, all done with commitment, integrity, perseverance, generosity, love, and a positive attitude. As his granddaughter said, "We hit the jackpot with our Grandad, Dad, and Husband."
A celebration of Adam's remarkable life will be held on Friday, August 18, 2023, 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., in the activity room at Pacific Point (431 Pacific Street, Vancouver, B.C.). Funeral arrangements by Kearney Funeral Services, Vancouver, B.C.; www.KearneyFS.com.
Memorials may be made to Northern Lights Wildlife Rescue Society (17366 Telkwa High Rd., Smithers, B.C.), or to the Parkinson's Society of BC.