More than 200 people gathered at the North Vancouver Outdoor School in Paradise Valley last weekend to pay their last respects to Don Gow, whose career included a stint as Whistler station agent for the PGE Railway in the 1950s.
Gow died Jan. 9 in Squamish after battling leukemia. He was 76.
"He touched a lot of people and we were all better for it," said Florence Petersen, who met Gow when she first came to Alta Lake in 1955.
The PGE Railway was the only reliable way to get to Alta Lake in the '50s, and as station agent Gow was responsible for everything that was shipped to the small community on the train.
Gow later went to work for Valleau Logging as a bookkeeper, while his wife Joyce became postmistress for the Whistler area. For a time the post office was also in a building owned by Valleau Logging.
Dick Fairhurst, Gow and another partner were the first agents in the region for Bombardier snowmobiles. In the winter Gow used to deliver the mail on his snowmobile, dubbed the Royal Mule.
Gow also served as president of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, president of the Alta Lake Ratepayers Association, was active in community clubs and was a member of the volunteer fire department. He was also the SLRD representative for the Whistler area before Whistler was incorporated as a municipality in 1975.
Don and Joyce Gow left Whistler in 1975 and bought a 32-foot boat, which they lived on while sailing the B.C. coast for several years, before Joyce died.
Gow re-married, survived a bout with throat cancer and settled in Squamish, where he was harbour master until he retired last June. He was also involved with the Squamish Yacht Club.
Brenda Gow, Don's second wife, retired from teaching school last month. The couple had hoped to travel following Brenda's retirement, but Don had a heart attack last fall. Follow-up tests after the heart attack revealed the leukemia.
Gow leaves behind two daughters from his first marriage, Connie, who lives in Mission, and Karen Walker of Pemberton. A son, Douglas, from his second marriage lives in Squamish.