October 28, 1946 – October 27, 2016
Hours before her 70th birthday, Shirley peacefully passed away, in Kamloops, B.C. Her kind smile, creative spirit and endless quest for life, will now be forever missed.
Shirley is survived by her husband of 46-years Gunnar; daughters Darlene (Steeve Pilote), Deanna; son Dale (Andrea); grandchildren Zachary, Rebecca and Cooper; brother Arthur Pike (Faye); sister-in-law Shirley Smith (Ray), step-sister Val Sommer (Louise); step-brother Steve Sommer. Predeceased by her father Percy Pike, mother Mabel Sangster-Sommer; stepfather Edward Sommer and brother Christopher Pike.
Shirley was born at Prince George, B.C., into a family of lighthouse keepers. She spent her early years in the Queen Charlotte Islands, and on Vancouver Island’s historical Race Rocks. She graduated high school in Victoria and in 1967, she met her husband Gunnar, while working on a ranch, in Lillooet, B.C. In 1970, Shirley and Gunnar married and moved to Barriere, in 1971, where they started their family and backhoe business.
Shirley was very passionate about her community, and she strongly believed in supporting arts and cultural development.
Shirley co-founded the North Thompson Heritage Society in the early 1970’s, co-founded the Little People Society of B.C. in 1982, and co-founded the Yellowhead Artist’s Group in the late 1970’s.
Shirley was a 25-year member of the Canadian Cancer Society, a 20-year member of the North Thompson Fall Fair Association, a 12-year volunteer for the BC Cowboy Heritage Society and was nominated for Barriere Citizen of the Year, in 1996.
In the early 1980’s, she also became an active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) and exhibited across Canada: including at FCA Canadian National Exhibitions, the Kamloops Art Gallery, and at the Canada Day 2000 Celebrations, in Ottawa.
In 1989, Shirley was diagnosed with cancer, which resulted in the loss of her right eye. Despite her visual impairment, she continued her career as a watercolor and scrimshaw artist, and inspired many local young artists to pursue art, through her art classes.
The family would like to thank all the doctors and support staff, who have assisted Shirley throughout her medical complications.
Friends and family are invited to attend Shirley’s Celebration of Life and Memorial Service at the North Thompson Agriplex hall, in Barriere, on Saturday, December 17, at 1:30 p.m., with reception to follow.