Gordon Kellett at his home in Canim Lake at the start of 2020. (Pete Hart photo)

Gordon Kellett at his home in Canim Lake at the start of 2020. (Pete Hart photo)

Former Free Press editor and long time community member passes

Gordon Kellett was 'the last Kellett from Canim Lake'

Former 100 Mile House Free Press editor and long time community member Gordon Kellett passed away on Thursday, June 11.

Gordon was the last member of the Kellett family with his parents George and Marion, who moved to Canim Lake in 1945, having predeceased him.

Jim Kidd, Gordon’s second cousin, says every summer he grew up at Shangri-La Resort which the Kellet family owned.

“Gordie was like a big brother to me.”

Gordon loved working as a reporter, says Kidd.

“Let’s put it this way, I have a large plastic container with every press clipping or whatever he ever did.”

Gordon was also a volunteer for the Canim Lake Volunteer Fire Department and involved with bringing Forest Grove Elementary back after it was closed.

Kidd lives at Deka Lake and says he’s been keeping an eye on Gordon for quite a few years saying he felt shocked when he heard the news.

“We knew it was going to happen. It just seemed to come so much quicker than we thought.”

Gordon was found to have a mass on his liver and moved to Fischer Place just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Gordie was just a big gentle giant. He was articulate. He loved to talk and debate with you and he was a died in the wool Socred and eventually Liberal supporter.”

With himself being a Teamster and NDP supporter, they used to have some great debates, says Kidd.

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett says they were really good friends.

“We didn’t see each other that often, but we certainly communicated on the telephone.”

She says she’s known him almost since she came to 100 Mile, something like 53 or 54 years ago.

“Gordon and I became really good friends, actually through politics. He was a great support of Alex Fraser and the Socreds and I got engaged and we used to travel together to conventions, work together on his campaigns.”

Gordon was a very smart, kind man who was an excellent writer, according to Barnett.

“He very seldom had a mean word to say about anybody but if he had one boy you knew you were in trouble.”

When she went to see him in Fischer Place he was resigned to the fact that he wasn’t going back home, she says.

“He knew he wasn’t going home,” who was a bit emotional.

Gordon lost his leg a few years earlier to diabetes.

“I used to call him every Sunday morning in Kamloops and gave him a lecture because a few times he started giving up hope. That’s when we really became close.”

He had a very close connection to Canim Lake Band for most of his life, according to Barnett.

The majority of the people in the community would call him a friend, says Roy Christopher, economic development manager for the Canim Lake Band.

“He and his family were quite close to the community and helped the community out a lot.”

Gordon was very kind and friendly to all of the people he dealt with over the years, says Christopher, adding that he always made sure to include the community in his reporting and newsletter.

“From the community and especially our elders, we’re sorry to hear of his passing and we appreciate his friendship and gentle smile it radiated the kind gentleman that he was.”

Cariboo Regional District chair Margo Wagner lived two doors down from Gordon up until he moved to Fischer Place.

“I’ve only been out here 16 years but the Kellett family has been an integral part of the area for years.”

He was always well-known for being interested in the community and being a caring person, says Wagner.

The loss of his leg was a big struggle, says Wagner, adding that he used to always walk his dog but that more recently he hadn’t driven in a few years and couldn’t really get up anymore when he fell down.

It marks the end of an era, says Kidd.

“He’s the last Kellett from Canim Lake which is sad.”


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