On the afternoon of August 2, 2013, Gregory
Clive Cope peacefully slipped away, surrounded by loving family. Greg had fought for over a decade against
Wegener’s vasculitis, ankylosing spondylitis and a recent cancer diagnosis, and was determined against great odds to the
end, to return home to Bowen island.
Greg and his younger sister, Jenifer began
visiting Bowen from an early age, staying throughout the long summers in a
cabin built by their great grandfather on Government Road. Greg was an avid and
gifted athlete, who from an early age garnered many awards in soccer & basketball,
and played all sports with fervor, including tennis, bowling, waterskiing, snooker, ping pong,
badminton and golf.
Following high school, Greg set out on an
epic adventure, determined to see the world. He worked on freighters from
Vladiovostok, to Singapore, Japan, Australia, South Aftica and throughout the Mediterranean. The
highlight of these tours was always Shoreleave:
be it a Formula One race in Monaco, a bullfight in
Spain, or Rugby in France and everywhere he went, European football.
Eventually, he left the ships, to marry in Norway and start a family. After several years, they came to Canada and Greg enrolled in the Vancouver School of
Art. At times working 2 jobs at night to support his young family, he graduated with honours in painting and
Greg eventually took up full-time residence
in the family cabin, where he painted & photographed, with the constant
background of football, hockey and baseball games, especially those of his beloved
Dodgers. He enjoyed travelling, and made
numerous painting trips to Mexico and the Baja.
1982, Greg took a job with Chrisholm, a private charity, caring for young boys
with learning disabilities. Needless to say, the boys adored Greg, and together
they went on many misadventures including frequent trips to Bowen where they delighted
in riding the ferry, visiting the baseball field and discovering forbidden
treats at the BowMart . One of the many funny anecdotes from this time, began
when Greg decided to introduce the boys to public transportation. Heading out,
he followed their bus in the Chrisholm van but was unexpectedly left behind at
a traffic light. Upon reaching the rendezvous, he realized with horror that the
boys had missed their stop, and had
continued on down the road. Greg was obliged to sound the missing child alarm,
and when asked which child was lost, replied ‘All of them!’.
Historically, Bowen has hosted baseball
games at the Snug Cove baseball field. In the early 1980’s, Greg and his
longtime friend, Lary Waldman decided the island needed a Tournament-style team
that would travel to competitions throughout the province. A small ad was posted
in the Undercurrent, and more than thirty eager players showed up. So began the
Bowen Sluggers. Out of this nucleus of
players, the Fast Pitch Softball League eventually formed and is
still thriving today.
As Bowen grew, Snug Cove began to change. Greg recalled lazy summer days as children,
when they would dive off the wharf between sailings, and curl up on the
sun-warmed asphalt of the main road to dry off. His desire for solitude and
uninterrupted time to paint finally led Greg to sell the family cabin and move
farther up the slopes of Mt.Gardner. He
continued to play ball, and was inducted into the Bowen Baseball Hall of Fame
in 1995 before exchanging his baseball cleats for golf shoes. Posthumously, the
Bowen Men’s Fastpitch League re-named their trophy ‘The
Greg Cope Sportsman of the Year’
in his honour.
lifelong supporter of Real Madrid and Manchester United, Greg would frequently
rise at 3 or 4am to tune into live broadcasts. He could also be found in the
Cove early mornings or after work,
picking up ManU supporters, so
they could cheer on their team together. Over waffles, or with wine and cheese,
those were special times shared with good friends.
For many years, Greg worked as a
housepainter on Bowen and up the coast.
At many a remote waterfront house, he would hone his golf game on the beaches
in his spare time, laying out championship courses among the driftwood and
rocks at low tide. He was delighted when the Bowen Island Golf Course became a
reality, and shared many enjoyable rounds with his family and friends. The
Bowen Island Men’s League has renamed their Old Buzzard Cup, ‘The Greg Cope Memorial - Buzzard Cup’ .
Greg’s passions in life were totally
consuming and totally satisfying. He attended to all things honestly, openly
and with all his heart. His sense of humour, his quiet dignity and his enduring
love for his friends endeared him to all of us. He will be missed but he has
finally come home.
Greg is survived by his loving wife, Coral
Louie; his younger sister Jenifer; his very dear children, son Trond Trondahl
and daughter, Susan Kowalchuk; and by his grandchildren of whom he was so
proud: Remi, Ronja, Rikard, Robin and Rikke of Fevik, Norway; and Christopher
and Alexandra of White Rock, B.C. In
lieu of flowers, donations in Greg’s memory to the B.C. Cancer Agency, the Bowen Island Volunteer Fire Department or
the Bowen Island Arts Council would be
"And in the end, the love you take is equal to
the love you make.” – The