Opinion

Larger-than-life man who now walks with the spirits

Paul Rudan is a Reporter with the Campbell River Mirror. - Campbell RIver Mirror
Paul Rudan is a Reporter with the Campbell River Mirror.
— image credit: Campbell RIver Mirror

“Over the next few months I will be telling my life story, starting where I grew up and the journey to the present, I hope you will find it as fascinating as it was to live it, this journey is what has shaped my style and passion for my art.”

Richard Krentz

March 4, 2014

 

Two days after he wrote this on his Facebook page, Richard Krentz died quietly in his sleep.

Just 68 years old, Krentz’ death stunned his family and huge circle of friends who never saw this coming...at least not so soon.

I don’t say this often, but Krentz was one of the very few individuals I’ve met who seem larger than life.

It was his towering frame which he carried with grace and ease; his huge smile and booming laugh; and the indomitable spirit that inspired so many people.

Krentz packed many lives into his lifetime: a commercial fisherman, a bullish logger, a skilled carver, a maker of fine jewellry, a master of the bentwood box, BBQ chef extraordinaire, new media guru, entrepreneur, and father.

And behind all this was Krentz’ desire and energy to promote First Nations culture and heritage, and an unshakeable belief that his people need to keep moving forward.

Krentz never forgot the past, but he certainly didn’t live in it. The last time I saw him was in October when he made five huge bentwood boxes, created to be the centrepiece of a new aboriginal-themed show. His vision was to create something unique and inspiring to show the rest of the world everything good about his people.

Not surprisingly, Krentz’ bold attitude rubbed some fellow aboriginal people the wrong way and he was routinely criticized for doing things differently. But it rarely, if ever, bothered him and there was certainly far more respect than criticism.

“Richard will be deeply missed by many of us,” wrote Keith Henry, president of the BC Metis Federation which held a celebration of Krentz’ life in Stanley Park last Sunday and has posted some wonderful online video tributes.

I couldn’t be there. Instead, I thought of Krentz in the splendid red cedar long house he built behind his home at Saratoga Beach. We spent many hours there talking, sharing food and laughing. Under that roof I met Maori royalty and watched in awe as Krentz and two buddies used steam to make the huge bentwood boxes.

And now, this larger-than-life man “walks in the spirit world” and I give thanks for everything he gave us in this world.

  • My condolences, as well, to the family of Bevan Williams, 78, who died March 7. Williams lived an incredible life in spite of having Parkinson’s disease for more than 40 years. It was real pleasure to meet him last year. Rest well, gents.
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