Roger Hubert Vincent Page
Roger Hubert Vincent Page was born August 19, 1933 to Wyvern and Minnie Page in Matsqui BC. He was the second of four children. His older brother Lawrie died in a swimming accident as a young teen. He is survived by his younger twin siblings Merrill, a rancher in Barriere BC, and Marion, retired nurse, currently at Menno Home in Abbotsford, BC.
Raised on a dairy farm, Roger worked on the farm with his family but from an early age set his sights on becoming a doctor. His cohort was one of the first graduating classes of the UBC School of Medicine. He completed his residency at St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. Among his summer jobs as a student were two summers in the Yukon as deckhand on a tourist riverboat. One task he joked about was sneaking onto the beaches ahead of the tourists to plant gold nuggets in the sand for them to find. He was also a musician, accomplished on the piano and could sometimes be heard belting out opera to the sky as he worked in the fields.
Roger’s first long assignment as a doctor was in Bella Bella. He won the friendship of First Nations people and villagers in many coastal outposts. He served in the hospital established by the Methodist Mission, (later the United Church), the R.W. Large Memorial Hospital. Sometimes he travelled on the Thomas Crosby, (the U.C. mission ship) to small outposts.
After about ten years he moved to Terrace, BC, where he worked as a GP and also helped to staff the hospital, as did all the local GPs. He delivered many babies, assisted in the operating room and took his turn in the emergency room. He was well loved by his patients for his care, providing thorough assessments in a relaxed and friendly fashion.
While living in Terrace he traveled a couple of times a year on his own time to the remote small communities of Iskut, Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek, which had clinics staffed by excellent federal nurses but no visiting doctors. The medical services he provided in his relaxed and friendly manner made him many friends amongst the local First Nations people.
In the early 1980s Roger moved to Vancouver where he served with WCB. He continued his education with a six-month assignment at G.F. Strong Rehab Center. He continued to visit Terrace to do locums, but also developed an affinity for visits to Oaxaca, Mexico.
He stayed in Oaxaca for extended periods, enrolling in the University to study Spanish. He had a heart for the poor and disadvantaged in Mexico and a keen eye for ways to redistribute the wealth of North America to those most in need. He filled his vehicle with used clothing for children, wheelchairs and other necessities and drove to Mexico where he was welcomed as part of a community. He supported missionaries serving in other parts of Latin America, encouraging young pastors he met.
As he aged and was unable to travel to Mexico, Roger discovered the large community of Mexican migrant farm workers on his doorstep, and they became his new family. His weekly routine was to visit all the thrift shops from Maple Ridge to Mission, buying up suitcases, backpacks, clothing, rain gear, bicycles, and anything else that would make their lives more comfortable. As they returned to their families in Mexico at the end of each season, he sent them with bulging suitcases of clothing for their children. Roger was adept at including others in this mission outreach but they found it hard to keep up with his energy and determination.
Roger was a man of deep faith, from early days in Matsqui to his final church home at Haney Presbyterian Church, he studied his Bible, encouraged others, prayed for others, and lived out his faith. As friend and driver for the Mexican workers, Sunday would find him worshipping with them at the Catholic or Pentecostal churches as well. A close friend remembers him as “the finest Christian gentleman I have had the privilege of knowing.”
Roger’s health has been difficult these past few years. He was hospitalized with various ailments including three separate bouts of Covid 19, but was always determined to be back on his feet. His final hospitalization after a heart attack and a fall lasted 2 weeks. He passed away on Sept 23. Our thanks to Dr Lee and the nursing staff at Ridge Meadows Hospital for their excellent care, and to the many who visited to encourage him in these last days, especially to Gillian Hodge who has been a faithful friend to the end.