A rugged individualist who epitomized all of the characteristics and virtues of a good man, Richard Plaskett recently slipped away from us after several months of rapidly declining health. He battled to the end, his mind sharp and unwilling to let his body dictate. But Mother Nature had the last word, as she always does.
Richard was a Vancouver Island born-and-raised, but Cariboo-destined, working man who followed his wanderlust all over the spectacular province of British Columbia. Growing up, and into his adult life, Richard diligently looked after his mother and her property at 40 Coronation Ave., in Duncan, and he was a good son to his father Eli.
Richard’s early years in Duncan would see him move through high school and parlay his moxie for woodworking into the trade of carpentry. This would be his ticket-to-ride. In an assortment of meticulously maintained vehicles, Richard hit the road and applied his perfectionist skills to projects from Vancouver Island, to the Kootenays and north to the Peace River area. He had an eclectic work history. He was one of the original workers on the W.A.C. Bennett Dam. He built houses and apartment buildings all over B.C. He tried his hand at ranching, sold automobiles (lasted a week), and even worked for a while in the old Crofton Pulp Mill (quitting a few years later before it became too comfortable). He was built for work, a strong man few people could keep up with whether it was wood chopping, framing a house, bike riding, or paddling the Yukon River.
Richard stayed a single man into his 40s until he linked up with our mother Maureen Hinton. From the moment they met, they were inseparable. Richard went from foot-loose and fancy-free to inheriting a wild family dynamic complete with three irreverent teenage children. He adopted this unanticipated mantle of responsibility without missing a beat and wore it like a well-fitting suit.
Richard and Maureen were able to share their mutual love of the outdoors with numerous camping trips to many of B.C.’s spectacular parks and further north to the Yukon and beyond. Always a bit of a contrarian, he enjoyed driving a Russian-built “Niva” in a domestic-truck-dominated landscape.
Later, with a growing posse of grandchildren, Richard evolved into a dedicated grandparent who built and fixed toys for the kids, taught them skating, and walked everyone of the six grandkids regularly for miles with Maureen.
Richard’s life-long dream of owning property in the Cariboo was finally realized in 2005 when he and Maureen purchased a beautiful ten-acre estate in Rose Lake. They had idyllic times here enjoying the outdoor living from dawn to dusk. Later they moved south to the Barriere area, where they could be found swimming at East Barriere Lake in summer and cross-country skiing throughout winter.
The crushing grip of Alzheimer’s disease befell Maureen in 2013. This tragic turn of events put Richard in the toughest challenge of his life. He provided care beyond what many would consider humanly possible. He was one lone spouse doing the extraordinary work of a dozen trained professionals.
A loyalist to the end, a work-ethic that could never be trumped, and an adventurous and inquisitive disposition that influenced those lucky enough to be close to him in so many positive ways, Richard Allen Plaskett was a great man. He will be sorely missed. A few things we can take from him:
Value our country. Travel and see as much of the natural beauty of nature as you can.
Be honest, fair and decent to everyone.
In taking on a project, pay attention to detail and do it right. Do this every time. Do it all the time.
Stay engaged with politics, from municipal to global.
Take care of your partner.
Richard Allen Plaskett is pre-deceased by his mother, Effie, his father Eli, and his brother David. He is survived by his partner of 35 years, Maureen Hinton, her three children Toby Hinton, Chris Hinton and Allison Ducluzeau, six grandchildren, his two nephews John Watkins and Wayne Watkins, and his beloved Border Collie “Reba” and cat “Fluffy”.
Richard would not have appreciated any pomp and ceremony marking his passing, so there will be a Celebration of Life for “Rich” this summer doing what he would have enjoyed: a family picnic at one of his favorite lakes. In lieu of flowers or donations, please do something nice today for someone in his memory. Richard would have liked that.