Roderick “Erick” O’Reilly of Burnaby and Qualicum Beach, surrendered to his illness and passed away on January 19th, 2019.
In 1954 at the age of 17, Erick departed from his village of Chapelizod, outside of Dublin, Ireland. He travelled across the Atlantic in steerage with only £10 from his dad in one pocket and boundless optimism in the other. But Erick also brought other gifts; he always smiled with his eyes, led with laughter, and cutting a good conversation short simply wasn’t in his constitution. After his arrival via Halifax’s Pier 21, he soon found himself in Toronto, Ontario. There, fate had his path merge with that of a beautiful young nurse, Joan Carbrey, from Peterborough. Marriage and a very full and wonderful life followed, as did their first-born, Rod “Rory”, and then a baby girl, Collette.
Erick soon found himself on an elevator ride up the corporate ladder at Northern Telecom, which included transfers to multiple cities across Canada before he accepted a position based on the West coast. Upon arrival, he and his family made a home in Burnaby and he worked hard - to never move his family again! In the early days of their marriage, Erick worked on the DEW Line in the North, was president of the Jaycees in Dorval, and later volunteered with Burnaby Minor Hockey and his son’s team. Together he and Joan stretched to buy a small beach house in Qualicum which, in turn, provided 50 years of enjoyment and escape.
Erick was an inquisitive, life-long learner who had a “need” – like we need air and water – to engage and talk with others. He talked at great length and with great enthusiasm; often over a pint of beer or a glass of vino, and the conversation regularly erupted in laughter. His energy and passion for exploring ideas led to 2 university degrees and a diploma from Simon Fraser University “SFU”, including his Masters in history, all completed after he retired at 55 from a successful career with Northern Telecom. His search for knowledge and love for travel included five SFU field studies courses, travelling with Joan and classes of 20-year-old undergraduates (!) to the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, France, and Germany.
Erick was a true character who lived in the present, was a proud Canadian, and yet an Irishman at his core, always with a laugh at the ready and a thoughtful question on his mind. He will be sorely missed.
Dear friends were made and deeply cherished up to his final moments, including neighbours, colleagues, Joan’s Shirleys, Rory’s and Collette’s friends, the Healthy Heart boys, and friends and neighbours from Qualicum Beach, the Legion, golf and tennis, and his extensive SFU contingent - just to name a few!
Erick is survived by his wife, Joan, son Rod aka “Rory” and his wife, Janet, and their children, Julia and Russell, and his daughter, Collette and her husband, Mike. He also leaves behind a large and loving extended family in Ireland including his sisters, Collette and Phyllis, and his brother, Tony, as well as an extended family in Canada including brothers and sisters-in-law, Jack and Linda, Suzanne, and Bob.
At a small country church on the West side of Vancouver, a service and celebration of our beloved Erick, the boy from Chapelizod, will be held at the Immaculate Conception Parish located at 3778 West 28th Avenue in Vancouver on Sunday, January 27th at 4:30 pm, reception to follow at the church. **For friends attending the service, there is ample parking in the Immaculate Conception School parking lot, accessible from the 3700 block of West 27th Avenue. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to a charity of your choice.