Retired Brigadier General and longtime Salmon Arm resident Peter Kilby passed away due to complications from Parkinson’s on July 7, 2020. He is pictured here discussing his storied military career in 2015. (File Photo)

Teacher, soldier and emergency planner fondly remember by Shuswap residents

Kilby climbed the ranks in the Canadian Forces before coordinating wildfire evacuation in Salmon Arm

Tributes are pouring in for longtime Shuswap resident Peter Kilby who was a major figure with the area’s military veterans, schools and emergency preparedness groups. Kilby died in Salmon Arm on July 7 due to complications from Parkinson’s; he was 86 years old.

Kilby’s military career began in 1951 when he enlisted in the Royal New Westminister Regiment, he earned his commission as an armoured corps officer and eventually served as a signals officer for the Royal Canadian Regiment based in London, Ontario. He left the regular army in 1963 and returned to B.C. where he remained active with a reserve unit. He would go on to command the Rocky Mountain Rangers and then the entire Pacific militia area. He rose to the rank of Brigadier General before being transferred to the supplementary reserve.

Read More: Semi-truck driver charged after six-vehicle collision leaves several injured near Sicamous

Read More: Brave 7-year-old Shuswap boy rescues older child from drowning near Sicamous beach

In a 2015 conversation with the Observer, Kilby detailed criticism he levied against the Canadian Forces and the federal government after leaving the army. In particular, he expressed concerns with underfunded peacekeeping missions in Somalia, Rwanda, Cyprus and Bosnia which put Canadian soldiers at risk as well as the changes to financial support for veterans made when Stephen Harper was Prime Minister.

Upon returning to B.C., the province he grew up in, Kilby began a career as a teacher. He moved to Salmon Arm in 1971 where he taught for 30 years. His wife Barbara worked as a school librarian.

“Peter is remembered fondly by the thousands of students he taught in school. Shortly after he arrived in Salmon Arm he was appointed Principal of his school. He only occupied that position for one full year and went back to teaching because he loved working directly with children,” wrote James Stanton, a lifelong friend of Kilby’s, in a letter to the Observer.

Read More: Okanagan College bestows highest honour to five individuals

Read More: Study suggests 8 times more people in B.C. infected with virus than confirmed

Along with the mark he made on Salmon Arm as a teacher, Kilby played a major role in what was at that time the largest evacuation in B.C.’s history when the 1998 Salmon Arm/Silver Creek wildfire roared through the area. The Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP), which hadn’t been formed yet in 1998, credits Kilby with being at the forefront of emergency preparedness in the area.

“People respected Peter because he treated everyone with respect. Our program is immeasurably better for having his involvement,” said emergency program coordinator Cathy Semchuk.

In emergency response circles Kilby was known for his ability to stay calm in crisis situations and the quiet authority his words carried.

“Peter was a caring, compassionate, dedicated professional. He excelled at everything he did but never lost touch with his humanity. He was in the truest sense a Canadian patriot,” Stanton wrote.

Kilby is survived by his wife Barbara and his children Acton Kilby and Elizabeth Spencer as well as their spouses and his three grandchildren. Kilby’s family has decided to postpone a memorial service due to the COVID-19 pandemic; they have asked that in lieu of flowers or other gifts donations be made to the North Okanagan Shuswap Brain Injury Society.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Military

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon officer returns soccer ball and boy’s smile

RCMP officer retrieves errant soccer ball, returns it to five-year-old with cruiser lights flashing

Former Vernon psychologist disciplined

Complaint filed against Dr. Kevin Miller over conduct in context of treatment provided to client

Queen Silver Star tradition upheld despite COVID-19

Vernon, Coldstream, Lumby, Armstrong and Enderby youth can apply

Kelowna RCMP search for missing teen

Reina Hodgins was last seen Aug. 9, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. at her residence

UPDATE: Lines cleared on Vernon street

Power and telephone/cable wires pulled from house

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

UFO trackers set their sights on Revelstoke skies

Rob Freeman UFO World Explorer and crew went up Sale Mountain

Former Summerlander receives Emmy nomination for makeup work

Lucky Bromhead recognized for her work with Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

COVID-19 could mean curtains for film and TV extras

Background performers worry they’re being replaced by mannequins on film and TV sets

Laid-off B.C. hotel workers begin hunger strike demanding job protection

Laid-off workers not sure what they’ll do when government support programs end

Mitchell’s Musings: Hockey’s comeback begins in earnest in August

Sports is back. Well, at least sports in a bubble is back.… Continue reading

Most Read