HENNEY, Basil ‘Scot’
May 30, 1925 – May 9, 2018
Dad passed away peacefully in Maple Ridge due to complications of being a ripe old age. He was a man of many talents and interests that continued into 2018.
Dad was born in Armitage, Staffordshire, England upstairs at the Plum Pudding Inn to Joseph and Cynthia. He was the second of 5 children. After grandpa was hired by the local Waterworks Company, the family lived in Bourne Vale near Walsall, not far from Birmingham.Much of Dad’s time as a boy and young teenager was spent exploring nearby ponds, woods, meadows and farms. Along with his brothers, Dad also was a competitive runner in 100 m and 200 m sprints.
Like many, Dad left school at age 14 to work. He was hired at a local factory as a clerk and was able to earn some money to support the family. He also assisted at local farms during the harvest. Dad joined the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy in 1943. He trained as a Telegraphist Air Gunner (TAG) in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia which was his first encounter with Canada. By the Spring of 1945, he returned to England with his wings and was soon aboard ship destined for the Far East. Fortunately, WWII ended before Dad arrived, but not before he enjoyed fully paid cruises to the Mediterranean, Colombo, Sydney, Perth and Hong Kong thanks to the Royal Navy. Serving for three years in the Navy also provided Dad an opportunity to go to university. After obtaining an Ordinary National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering, Basil was eligible to apply for a university position and he was accepted at Glasgow University in Civil Engineering.
With useful work-term experience in Vinstra, Norway on a hydro-electric project and at South Staffordshire Water Works, Basil graduated in 1952 with his civil engineering degree. He immediately set his sights on Canadaagain. After spending time in the relative comforts of Montreal, Dad went out to northern Manitoba in the middle of winter for ongoing CN Railway construction. From there he moved on to Newfoundland on a major bridge project spanning the Gander River for the Trans Canada Highway bridge.
Dad returned to England in 1955. He was a buildings designer and builder both in conventional brick and mortar, in reinforced concrete and in wood-frame; the latter inspired from his time living in Canada. Dad met Mary in the early 1960’s and they were married in 1963 with his children born in 1965 and 1966. The family settled in Lichfield, Staffordshire where Dad continued his engineering business ventures. In 1974 and 1975, Dad returned to study at Birmingham University and received a Master’s Degree in Foundations Engineering. By this time, the pull to return to Canada was too strong for Dad to ignore. In 1976 the family emigrated to Nova Scotia where Dad had taken a consulting engineering position in Halifax. A little more than a year later we flew right across the country for Dad’s new job in Vancouver. Dad worked for local firms including Cook Pickering and Doyle and Crippen Consultants. In the 1980’s Dad returned to England to work in Cornwall and then later in Malaysia with Vancouver-based Canac/Microtel which was adapting the DEW-line technology for shipping channels in the Straits of Malacca. In his engineering career Dad always focussed on the technical and the practical and that allowed him to see the world.
As Dad reached ‘normal’ retirement age he began to work for himself specializing in foundation design for commercial greenhouses in the Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island. This combined his love of engineering and horticulture; a venture that continued until Dad was 80.
A most enduring memory of Dad was his devotion to Mary particularly in her long illness. Never far from her side, Dad ensured her care and comfort at home, neither flagging nor complaining.
But there were more chapters to be written. In his early 80’s, Dad took up many new interests including life-writing, poetry, rhododendron cultivation, dancing, singing, volunteer dog walking and who knows what else. At 90, Dad returned to the athletics that he enjoyed as a boy by joining both arunning club (the Greyhound Masters Track and Field Club) and a throwing club (Ultra-Throw).Dad competed in the BC Masters and 55+ Games in 2015-2017 and won several medals. In October 2016, Dad travelled with son and granddaughter to Perth Australia where he competed in the World Masters Athletics Championships. In the M90 group, Dad won gold medals in the throws pentathlon and weight throw, silver in the hammer, and bronze medals in the shot put and javelin.
Basilis predeceased by Mary his dear wife of 47 years, brothers Gordon and Peter and sister Cynthia. With fond memories, he leaves his brother Keith (Jenny), son Matthew and daughter Louise, grandchildren Quinn and Gina, his great friend Marita and relatives in England and South Africa. We will miss him dearly but are so grateful for his time with us.
The Family would like to thank the compassionate staff at 2W – Ridge Meadows Hospital for looking after Dad in recent weeks.In lieu of flowers, please consider donating toL’Arche Canada communities.
A Funeral Mass will be offered at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday May 23, 2018 at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, 3141 Shaughnessy Street, Port Coquitlam. Reception to follow.