Transportation 23

Harold Henry Zapshala

July 29, 1931 ~ July 7, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old


It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my dad, Harold Zapshala, on July 7th, 2023.  He endured a long, slow decline as Parkinson’s disease consumed his body over the last few years.  He is survived by Ellen, his wife of 66 years; Albert, his son; and myself, Kim, along with my husband, Ed, who was like a second son.

Born at home on July 29, 1931, at Goodeve, Saskatchewan, Dad was the last of a long line of 12 brothers and sisters.  His siblings raised him as much as his parents, Walery and Joanne. They were poor farmers always trying to get by in a time when the land just wanted to fight back.  Growing up during the Depression shaped his entire life, from being a money-saver to having modern day recycling habits.  Nothing was wasted in our house.  

Mom moved from Davidson in 1954 to teach school in the one room schoolhouse in Goodeve.   Dad and mom met and were married in September of 1955.  Shortly after the wedding they drove out to the coast, to conceal the fact that my brother would be arriving soon.  They rented in the upper Lonsdale area.  Dad was hired by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1956, as a brakeman, and later worked as the Yard Foreman in Vancouver until he retired in 1994.  He made lifelong friendships with many co-workers.  He was fondly called Zip, Zippy or Zipper.

Dad and mom bought a house on Burrill Avenue in Lynn Valley in 1961, just a few days after I was born.  It had a dirt road and a creek in the forest.  What a great place to grow up!   Dad’s happy place was the backyard.   You would find him shirtless during the summer with a cold beer and the a.m. radio playing classic country and western.  He had many backyard friends that kept him company, including a very punctual squirrel and seagull that he fed daily (much to the chagrin of the neighbour).  He loved all animals, especially our border collie, Bandit.  He was the official dog sitter for 17 years.

Dad enjoyed social sports and social clubs.  He was a member of both the Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE) and Lynn Valley Legion, where he liked to play cribbage.  He was at either one or the other club for meat draws on Saturdays, where he regularly won.  He was also a pretty good curler with the North Vancouver Curling Association for many years.  He was quick to make friends with his easy going nature wherever he went, and always lent a helping hand, never expecting anything in return. 

Mom and Dad lived in our family home until 2014, then moved to an independent residence in Campbell River for the next 9 years.  I managed to keep them together until the end of the Covid protocols, and dad went into long term care March 2021.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of Lorna Bradley, a hired care aid that is now a friend.  Also, special thanks to the staff of Discovery Harbour Care Centre for caring and giving dad dignity throughout his illness.

Simply put, dad was a kind, humble and good man.  His quiet humour and uncanny memory will be especially missed.  In his memory . . . be kind to a squirrel.

There will be no service

Adios, Papa.  I love you and miss you very much.

~Bury me next to friendly people - I like to talk a lot~


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