Richard Courtlandt (Sandie)
It is with much sadness that we announce the passing of our father and grandfather, Sandie Sandover-Sly on February 22, 2008 in Victoria, B.C at the age of 93. Sandie was born in Campbellton, New Brunswick on August 21, 1914 to Reginald John Sandover-Sly and Wenonah (Barberie). He had one sister, Beverly. Reginald was a Professional Engineer who emigrated from England to Canada in 1912 where he met Sandie’s mother whose family had been in New Brunswick since 1783. When Sandie was 14 years old the family relocated to Toronto, Ontario. Times were difficult during the depression and Sandie worked as a golf caddie to help support his family. He joined the Bank of Nova Scotia as a trainee teller when he was 19 making his way up the ranks to bank manager. He was then given the responsibility of traveling to the Prairie Provinces to scout out locations for new branches of this growing financial institution. He spent several enjoyable years in Spiritwood, Saskatchewan before being asked by the Bank to recommend possible sites for branches in northwestern B.C.
After some deliberation he chose Terrace where he stayed to open and manage the first branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia in 1951. He quickly settled in to life in Terrace and grew to love the community. Sandie was a long time bachelor, but in his late 30’s while in Spiritwood he met and fell in love with Jeanne Hrick, who was out on vacation visiting her childhood home in Parkside, Saskatchewan. Jeanne was an attractive career woman in her 30’s who was living back east in Toronto. She had risen quickly up the ladder with the telephone company in Ontario. At the time they met she was making a higher wage than Sandie. At 6’ tall with flaming red hair, elegant carriage and a fashion sense well ahead of her time Sandie was smitten. He proposed marriage, she took her time to consider exchanging her independent, successful life in the big city for an exciting trip into the unknown with this handsome, charming gentleman with a kind manner and terrific sense of humour. She said yes. Meanwhile, Sandie was busy in Terrace establishing the branch. Jeanne and Sandie settled on a wedding date and in 1952 Sandie traveled back to Saskatchewan for the ceremony bringing his new bride back to Terrace for her first visit west.
Jeanne quickly grew to love the area too and both made many great friends in Terrace. They started a family; Michael John was born on March 26th, 1953 and Richard Anthony (Rio) on May 31st, 1954 and built their family home at 3614 Eby St. Sandie and Jeanne became involved in many volunteer groups in town, devoting their time to making a Terrace a great place to live. In 1954 they were faced with a very difficult decision. The Bank of Nova Scotia wanted Sandie to relocate to Calgary. This was a major promotion and would open the doors to further advancements. What to do? They loved Terrace and despite their longing at times for brighter lights Jeanne and Sandie both knew that Terrace was home.
Hearing of Sandie’s possible transfer, Ray Skoglund, who had a logging operation in town, approached Sandie and proposed to him a joint business venture. He knew Sandie as an excellent manager: trustworthy, responsible with a great attention to detail and very likeable manner. Ray needed someone to help him grow the company. Sandie and Jeanne thought long and hard before deciding that yes, Sandie would leave his banking career and join Ray as a partner in Skoglund Logging Ltd. This was a decision that no one ever regretted. Ray and Sandie went on to build their company into one of the region’s most respected employers and left a legacy of people who considered their company to be “the best” to work for. They logged first for Columbia Cellulose and then for many years Skoglund Logging was one of MacMillan Bloedel’s largest operators in the Province. They had logging camps in the Nass Valley and at Greenville and had operations in the Kitimat Valley, Queen Charlottes and on the lower Skeena River. Some of their other accomplishments included forming a second company, Lakelse Construction, which was instrumental in building parts of the Kitimat-Terrace Highway. Skoglund Logging Ltd. ceased operations in 1981 and Sandie retired from the logging business.
During those decades Sandie invested in other ventures including the formation of C.F.T.K. Radio and Television. Along with Fred Webber, a true pioneer in this industry, and other determined Terrace business people, they pooled their resources to bring the northwest into the modern media age and helped cement Terrace’s position as the regional centre. In 1998 he retired as a signing officer and director of what was by now called the Okanagon Skeena Group, which at the time of its sale, was trading on the TSX and was the largest holder of radio licenses in western Canada. He also enjoyed investing in real estate and one parcel he owned for many years was a large tract of land at the top of Lanfear Hill called “Pine Needly”, known to many as Terrace’s “lover’s lane.” Jeanne and Sandie also purchased a piece of land at Lakelse Lake in 1955 where they made their summer home, which the family still retains.
Along with this contented life came tragedy and adversity presented many challenges. In 1960, Sandie was struck down with polio. Not sure if he would survive the journey, Sandie was airlifted to G.F. Strong Hospital in Vancouver where he was told that he would never walk again. He spent a full year in the rehab centre there, while Jeanne stayed strong in Terrace taking care of Mike and Rio. Sandie defied the doctors and learned first to crawl, then stand and eventually walk again. Sandie returned to Terrace triumphant and despite his withered leg continued to lead a full life, accepting his limitations, which included giving up his love of skiing and trekking.
In 1974, Jeanne and Sandie lost their son, Michael in a car accident in Thornhill. He was 21. Mike and Rio were particularly close and the family was left devastated. In 1977 Sandie lost his beloved sister, Beverly to cancer. Beverly never married and had pursued an exciting life well ahead of her time. A graduate of Laval University with a Master’s Degree submitted entirely in French, Beverly was a world traveler who eventually settled in Toronto where she was involved in developing their public library system. In 1980, Rio married Sheila (Guerreiro) who grew to love Sandie and Jeanne as parents. They were a loving, generous couple who opened their hearts to her and taught her much about life. Their grandchildren, Courtland Michael (22) and Megan Leigh (20) brought much joy to them and broke through Sandie’s natural reserve. For the first time Sandie openly expressed love and hugs and kisses became the norm. In 1991, Jeanne passed away at Mills Memorial after suffering a major stroke. Sandie took much comfort in Rio, Sheila, Courtland and Megan and learned to live without his Jeanne.
In 1999, Rio and Sheila moved to Victoria where they have a successful real estate development company. Sandie, who had made a habit of wintering in warmer climates with Jeanne because of his inability to get around in snow and ice, decided to spend one winter with Rio’s family in Victoria. He found the climate very agreeable and so enjoyed the everyday contact with his family that three winters later he decided to leave Terrace and permanently relocated to Victoria. He lived independently up until the Christmas of 2006 when he moved in to an assisted living facility. On February 5th, 2008 he was stricken with an infection, transferred to Royal Jubilee Hospital where he lingered before passing away on February 22nd.
Sandie led a full and rich life. A lifelong member of the Terrace Rotary Club he was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship in recognition for his service. He was a founding member of the Terrace Hospital Association which was involved in building Mills Memorial Hospital, a treasurer of the R.E.M. Lee Hospital Foundation, a District Commissioner for Boy Scouts of Canada and a past President of the Terrace and District Agriculture Association and the Terrace Rotary Club. Sandie and Jeanne were both avid golfers and did what they could to support the Skeena Valley Golf and Country Club. They also curled and enjoyed exploring the northwest’s backroads and having delicious picnics in remote spots. Sandie had his annual duck hunting trips with a group of male friends from Terrace and together Jeanne and Sandie loved to host dinners and parties at their house in town or the cabin at Lakelse. It was at Lakelse Lake that they hosted and became friends with the Archbishop of Canterbury and his wife. In Michael’s memory Jeanne and Sandie established the Michael Sandover-Sly Memorial Endowment Fund which continues today to provide money to assist individual young people with their travel expenses to visit other countries through the Rotary Club’s student exchange program.
A private burial service is being held on Friday, February 29th and Sandie’s body will be laid to rest beside Jeanne and Michael in the Terrace Cemetery. An informal tea to honour and celebrate Richard Courtlandt (Sandie) Sandover-Sly’s life will be held in Terrace at the Skeena Valley Golf and Country Club from 1:00 until mid afternoon on Saturday, March 1st. All who knew Sandie and Jeanne or Rio and Sheila are invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Michael Sandover-Sly Memorial Fund Endowment at www.vancouverfoundation.ca
Condolences may be offered to the family at 2969 Martindale Road,
Saanichton, B.C. V8M 1Y2