Prominent Vernon businessmen Gerry Obrecht enjoys a moment at the top of the Squamish Sea-to-Sky Gondola with his grand-daughter Amelia Mae Bouchard. A celebration of life for the man known as Gerry O will be held Saturday at the Vernon Lodge ballroom from 2-6 p.m. (Photo Submitted)

Saturday celebration of life for Gerry O

Prominent Vernon businessmen remembered for kindness, generosity

He was affectionately known as Gerry O. Blessed with an infectious laugh, zany sense of humour and love of people, Gerry Obrecht easily made friends and treated everybody with respect.

Obrecht lost a short, courageous battle with cancer May 5 in Vernon Hospice House. He was 63. A celebration of life Saturday at the Vernon Lodge ballroom (2-6 p.m.) is expected to attract hundreds.

Obrecht bought the Kal Hotel in 1983 and sold it in 2007. He sponsored multiple sports teams in Vernon and donated money to various charities. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle.

Obrecht is survived by his wife Pam, sons Marc, Philip (Brittany), Devon, daughters Ashley and Jennifer (Till), grandchildren Amelia and Cooper, brother Brent, nephews James, Sean, and Lucas (mother in law Elsie Taphorn), and numerous extended family members across Canada.

“I met Gerry in 1987 when he was running the Kal Hotel and we became really good friends when I was running the Coldstream (Hotel) in 1993,” said Jeff Parker, a former RCMP member. “He was so kind and generous.”

Parker and Obrecht, who golfed hundreds of rounds together, attended the 1997 Super Bowl in New Orleans featuring the Packers and Patriots.

“I know Gerry went to Super Bowls in Miami and Arizona and he and I went to some Super Bowl tailgate parties in San Diego and Tampa Bay. He didn’t really have a team; he just loved football.”

Obrecht grew up in Brandon, later moving to Kelowna and attended Okanagan College to study business. He went on to become a successful businessman in the hospitality industry. Gerry O played many years of slo-pitch and was a longtime member of Spallumcheen Golf and Country Club, where he was a former club captain and grew to know and love many of the members.

His love for travel took him all over the world to various countries with family members and friends from golfing trips to sightseeing adventures including the Global Scavenger Hunt twice in 2013/2014.

Said friend Pam Page on a Facebook tribute page: “It has been two weeks since Gerry left us to join his beloved Momma O. I think it has taken this long for his loss to truly sink in. As has been said so many times, Gerry was ‘larger than life’ in every way. A big bear of a man, always smiling and laughing. And that’s the way I saw him until I really got to know him.”

Said former New York Ranger all-star, Eddie Johnstone, of Vernon, on the same page: “Gerry O was a great guy. He will be missed by all of us who knew him. I was proud to call him my friend. Condolences to his family.”

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