Majesty and Tragedy

My last article for my column on, written in the early morning hours after returning from a Clearwater Lake kayaking trip inspired one reader to leave the following comment on my website; “Enjoyed the read. Is Clearwater not close to Wells/ Grey Park? Reading your article reminded me of the Johnson-Bentley murders of several years ago, and the link they still have in Westbank….Re:…the pool and rec center. Might be an interesting artcle for your reasearch? Once again, pristine wilderness and it’s beauty vandalized by tradgedy.” and I could not help but consider the topic further.


Having remembered the horrible tragedy that ocurred in the majestic wilderness of  Wells Gray Provincial Park but never really thinking about it when I went kayaking on Clearwater Lake last week or whenever I hear of the  Johnson Bentley Pool mentioned in West Kelowna, I decided to write a few of my thoughts down in regards to the subject in my Castanet article for August 25 2009 .

Following are a few notes in regards to memorials located in the Kelowna outdoor areas and I hope more notes can be added in the comments below as a memorials on any outdoor tragedy. Please read the TracksAndTrails column at Castanet titled Majesty and Tragedy for more information:

  • At the end of Aberdeen Road in Glenrosa at one of the Trail Heads for Glen Canyon, you will find a memorial for Constable Neil Bruce.
    Constable Neil Bruce was stationed in British Columbia at the time of his death. Constable Bruce was responding to a complaint of a girl screaming for assistance on April 10, 1965.
    Constable Bruce tried to reason with a man known to the police. Constable Bruce approached a cabin unarmed as a goodwill gesture and tried to gain release of a 16 year old girl who had been repeatedly raped by the suspect.
    When Constable Bruce got close to the cabin near Glen Canyon he was shot with a .22 rifle. In the rush of all the commotion the girl escaped but was shot twice. She survived. Constable Bruce was rushed to hospital with a bullet wound to the chest. His condition improved but he took a turn for the worse and died from pneumonia arising from the bullet wound to the lung on April 14.
    The suspect escaped but was later tracked and located on April 20, 1965. He was surrounded and asked to surrender. He took his own life with the .22 rifle he used to kill Constable Bruce.
  • Kalomoir Park memorial of Mike Passmore –
    The plaque on The Mike Passmore Trail reads, “He Ran it. He biked it. He played in its cave. We remember him here.”
    I could not find out any information from an extensive Google search – please leave a comment with more informaiton if you have it at
  • Several deaths have occurred in Myra Canyon and there are several crosses and plaques set up as memorials. Again, my initial research did not turn up more details, please leave comments at
  • One teen fell to his death from a suspension bridge in Gallaghers canyon in the 70’s. The bridge was removed and a memorial plaque is located at the footings of where the suspension bridge use to be in Gallahers Canyon on the Mission Creek Greenway.
  • Mindy Tran’s memorial is located in Mission Creek Regional Park near the Ziprick entrance.
  • Some memorials are made privately. Like this one on the shores of Lebanon Lake. Lebanon Lake Memorial for Ronald Frank Richardson

    Other private memorials are set up in many outdoor settings. Once comes to mind on the top of Dilworth summit and near Christian Lake and in Myra Canyon.

  • I am sure there are more lives that have ended while enjoying local outdoor areas. If you have comments or information on the above individuals  or know of other tragedies that should be mentioned, please post a short memorial or comment at below.