Patrick “Pat” Hibbert
1929 – 2013
Pat passed away peacefully with family by his side at Pleasant Valley Manor on December 2, 2013. His struggle with Parkinson’s Disease is over.
Pat was born in Skipton, Yorkshire, England to Mary and Thomas Hibbert. By age eleven or so he had pretty much grown into his adult height of 6’3”, towering over his family and their friends. He attended Askam Bryan Agricultural College near York for about a year and half, then worked on a large dairy farm in Upham, Hampshire. He decided around then that if he was to realize his dream of owning his own farm he’d have to leave England. He emigrated to Canada, March 1952, staying with his sister Bubble and her husband Bill Britton on the prairies. At that time his very young niece Andrea formed the opinion that this great, dark, handsome man with the enormous laugh and zest for life must be God. However, after some months in wheat farming Saskatchewan, the deity decided on a coin toss to head for the west coast and dairy farming opportunities; arriving with, as he liked to say proudly, $1 in his pocket. Not long after arriving in Richmond, Pat met Mr. J.A. Mace, Superintendent of Dairy Herd Improvement Services who advised him to apply and shortly thereafter Pat began work with the DHIA as a milk tester.
Pat formed a deep friendship with the Palfrey family while milk testing and via Ernie he met Merrill on New Year’s Eve, 1954, at the Nurses’ Residence. Pat and Merrill married on May 26, 1956. Renting at Stepney near Armstrong, they started dairy farming, Merrill working at Buckerfields to supplement the initial meager income from the little dairy. In 1959 they bought their own farm in Deep Creek. Daughters Angela, Nairn and Leigh became Dad’s labour force with seasonal help from neighbours and later on, young men from the Armstrong Farm Labour Pool run by Arthur Cayford. His daughters happily got to supervise them, driving the tractor-trailer while they loaded and unloaded! It was a very sad day in August 1988 when the cows and quota were sold and shipped. But in his long, happy retirement, Pat taught two terms of Milker Training at Okanagan College, briefly served as a Board Member of Okanagan College, bought a sailboat, took lessons for sailing and golfing with Merrill, and travelled to various parts of the world before and during the time that the two became Snowbirds to El Centro, California for 14 years! At the tail-end of their snowbirding and after 43 years living on the farm in Deep Creek, Pat and Merrill sold up and moved into Armstrong.
From his time with the DHIA and continuing during his own dairy farm operation, Dad was actively and passionately involved in organizations working for better conditions for the agricultural community. Having grown up in England before, during and after WWII, he believed fervently in maintaining the ability of his adopted country to provide and sustain its own food supply. His involvements included: the DHIA, BC Milk Board, and the Deep Creek Farmers’ Institute which sent him as a delegate to the BC Federation of Agriculture where he was eventually elected to be President; he was awarded membership in the Agricultural Senate Club of British Columbia “for Outstanding Service in the Field of Agriculture” November 26, 1980. In his capacity as President of the BCFA, he was able to contribute to the shaping of agricultural policy in support of a strong and healthy farming population in Canada. In 1979 he was a founding member of the BC 4-H Foundation, a non-profit organization providing “an opportunity for interested individuals, organizations and companies to contribute financially to the BC 4-H program”. He served for 16 years with the Armstrong Co-operative Society until 1999 when he convinced his daughter Nairn to succeed him and carry on, too, as a Director. During his years in farm politics Dad made close friendships with peers that he admired and respected in all aspects of the agricultural industry – and always he counted on and hoped for the support of his fellow farmers and friends in Deep Creek.
As Pat’s family, we will be ever grateful for his dedication to his community and for his love and hard work for us. (So long, Dad, good on ya!)
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Merrill Hibbert; daughters Angela (Rick Calkins); Nairn (Peter von Hahn) and their family Elli, Micky, Natalie, Hannah, and Rachel; Leigh (John Trainor) and their family Drew (Olive; Waylon and Townes), Lindsay and Michelle. Pat was predeceased by his sister Bubble (Beryl), 2003, and his brother David, 2009.
Pat’s family would like to thank the staff and residents in Aspen Grove, Pleasant Valley Manor, Armstrong for their friendship and compassionate care.
A Celebration of Life for Pat will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, December 16, 2013 at Alternative’s Chapel (2980 Smith Drive, Armstrong, BC). Donations in memory of Pat could be made to charities of choice including BC 4-H Foundation (2743 30th Street, Vernon, BC V1T 5C6), Parkinson’s Society BC (890 W Pender Street, #600, Vancouver, BC V6C 1J9), and BC SPCA (1245 East 7 Avenue, Vancouver BC V5T 1R1). Expressions of sympathy may be forwarded to the family at www.MyAlternatives.ca
Cremation arrangements entrusted to
ALTERNATIVES FUNERAL & CREMATION SERVICES®
Armstrong 250-546-7237 & Vernon 250-558-0866