Thomas Alexander (Alex) Prestwich

June 28, 1924-Nov. 16, 2007

It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Alex Prestwich; loving husband of wife Patti, father of Sandra Gunson & Mark Prestwich and grandfather of Alexander Gunson, Kiersten, Shelby and Brody Prestwich. He succumbed to complications from cancer and stroke on Nov. 16th, 2007 at 7:30 a.m. in the Port Hardy hospital. His brilliant sense of humour, love of nature, generosity, guidance and many talents will be sorely missed.

The following is but a brief summary of his life and only a sample of his many accomplishments:

Alex was born at Leichhardt (Sydney), Australia on June 28, 1924 – the youngest of 4 siblings. After skipping 2 grades in school he was offered a medical scholarship but instead, at age 14, chose to become the youngest apprentice ever accepted at John Hines Company in Sydney, Australia where he obtained his Journeyman Machinist’s qualification.

He also studied and trained in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in England, Scotland, Australia and Canada and was recorded by the British Professional Registry as a Professional Engineer (C. Eng.) qualified for full operating responsibility of any type of vessel, any size, anywhere in the world. He then worked on merchant ships throughout the globe from Singapore to South Africa. While on one trip he met his future bride of 49 years, Patti, in Strahan, Tasmania.

Alex was one of a team of four Engineers selected by the Canadian Government as the representatives in the historic takeover of Tuktoyuktak’s supply fleet for the Distant Early Warning (D.E.W) Line from the United States Government.

He provided the required on board certification for the construction of the destroyer-escort “HMCS Kootenay” and was portion of the specialized team for running and acceptance trials with the Canadian navy personnel as they approved and assumed command.

His travels took him to Vancouver where he was so taken by the city, he decided to stay. Patti and Alex were re-united a few years later and then married in 1958. Daughter Sandra was born in 1959 and son Mark followed in 1961.

Alex became an experienced Canadian Pacific Railway Engineer and BC Sugar employee until 1965 when the family moved to Port Alice. He was employed as an Assistant Chief Engineer at the Port Alice pulp mill. In 1968 the family moved to Port Hardy where he took on the role as the supervisor in charge of the BC Hydro diesel electric generators supplying the town’s power. In 1969 Alex returned to his first love of machining and started his own company, Port Hardy Engineering, which exists across the highway from another of his passions and businesses–Sunny Sanctuary Campground.

When we are sad and lonely

And everything goes wrong

We seem to hear you whisper

“Cheer up and carry on”

Each time we see your photo

You seem to smile and say

“Don’t cry I’m only sleeping

We’ll meet again someday.”

The family would like to express their appreciation to Dr. Andre deWitt and the nurses and staff at both Port Hardy Hospital and Eagle Ridge Manor for their understanding and compassion.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite charity.

A celebration of his life will be planned and announced in 2008

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