Paul David Rath

November 4, 1957 ~ June 4, 2021

            Paul David Rath was born in Brazil on November 4, 1957 to Canadian Lutheran missionaries Ernest and Crystal (Hutchison) Rath. He passed away suddenly at home on June 4, 2021, at the age of 63 years.

            Paul was a devoted father, grandfather, brother, son and husband, as well as a hunter, a fisherman, a joker, a toastmaster, a punster, a poet, a storyteller, a book collector, and a tremendous friend. He was the pet of two dogs, Bear and Boo, back seat drivers who also thought he was great fun.

            Paul is survived by his wife Lisa Douglas, his son, Jonathan, his son Aaron and his wife Hollie (MacIntosh) and beloved grandchildren George and Emerie, by his siblings, sisters Rosemarie (Richard) Klein and Katharine (Cecil) Howell and brother Daniel (Lily) Rath, and their families, and by Laureen Baker, the mother of his sons.

            Brazil couldn’t keep Paul long enough to even begin his compulsory military service as a Brazilian. Ernest and Crystal brought him to the North — Alberta’s Peace River Country — at the age of five and then to Kelowna, in the Okanagan Valley, where he learned to scout Okanagan Lake for the legendary Ogopogo instead. Later, Paul made homes of his own in Victoria, Oliver, Prince Rupert and the uppermost northwest corner of British Columbia, where he learned to scout the roadside for moose made out of trees twisted by cold and wind. It helped the miles fly by.

            In addition to laughing with delight at life, Paul committed himself with respect and diligence to many jobs over his life: People’s Food Mart in Kelowna, Revenue Canada, Canada Post, and selling life insurance. When the last of those didn’t work out, he devoted 25 years to the Canada Border Service Agency and retired at the rank of Superintendent. In retirement, he was a maintenance contractor. When there was work that needed to be done, Paul always stood up to do it. His sense of ethics was of the highest order. He loved all parts of his job, except maybe shovelling snow. To him, that just didn’t seem fair. Such might just be the mysteries that attend Canadians born in Brazil. Paul shovelled the snow.

            Paul was an avid traveller and rejoiced in seeing the world with Lisa. In recent years, they travelled to Antarctica, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Tanzania and Amsterdam. Yes, to him it was a country in itself! A 2020 cruise to the Caribbean was cut short by the pandemic. Gifted storyteller that he was, he turned even that slow trip into an adventure. 

            Paul especially loved his journeys across Canada. One of his favourite destinations was a birthday trip to Churchill, Manitoba to see the Polar Bears, which, he agreed, were just as good as the grizzly bears back home in the North, who ate dandelions off his lawn. One of his favourite Canadian treasures was a collection of red and white tulips, the colour of the Canadian flag, which he brought back from Ottawa. They had been a gift to Canada from a grateful Dutch nation for liberation in World War II. Paul was so proud to be Canadian that he dug his tulips free of the snow every spring so they could bloom before winter.

            Paul came from Russian-German farmers on the Black Sea and he loved the earth. He delighted in everything that grew from the soil and loved to sink his hands into it. He was passionate about gardening, always keeping his grandfather’s antique tools polished and ready for work. Even the North couldn’t stop him. He invented bear-proof ways to compost and was intensely proud of his Halloween pumpkins. Every fall, they could be seen ripening on the windowsill, so big he never could quite wrap his farmer’s hands completely around them.

            Paul was an accomplished writer. From studying poetry and short story writing at the University of Victoria in the 1970s, he wrote occasional poems and ballads for many people. He never gave up his dream of being published himself and became a contributing writer of the Arts and Entertainment Magazine What’s Up Yukon.

            Paul’s greatest dream was to be a father and grandfather. In February of 2021, his second greatest dream also came true, with the publication of a memoir of white fishing on Okanagan Lake: Fishing With My Fathers. The book’s warm and wise portrait of fathers, sons, God and fish was a best seller through the spring. To be able to share his stories with the world brought Paul great joy.

            Paul had all the gifts of a pastor, a talent he turned into an active life on Facebook, bringing friends and family together from across the continent with silly puns, heartwarming sayings and, every time he travelled, enthusiastic animal reports, richly illustrated with photographs. Pandemic isolation from Coast to Coast was lightened by Paul’s devotion to keeping everyone focussed on joy.

            Paul touched many people in his life. He was a friend, a counsellor, a champion and a protector to so many people, and caught everyone up in his care. He left no-one out.

            In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to one of Paul’s favourite Canadian charities: World Vision, Operation Smile, the Heart and Stroke Society, the MS Society, and the Red Cross. 

            A memorial will be held in November in Penticton. Following the service, his ashes will be spread at the fishing point across from Ogopogo’s lair, where many of the stories from Fishing With My Fathers came to life and he learned his greatest lesson, to pass on the gifts and care given to him. He did it so well.

15 Comments

  1. Ralph Livingston

    Wonderful summary of the life of a wonderful man…
    May God bless you in your time of sorrow…
    Ralph & Pauline Livingston

    Reply
  2. Trish Picherack

    My deepest sympathies to Lisa and all of Paul’s family. I did not know Paul except through stories lovingly told by his sisters Kathy and Rose. Hopefully his kind and gentle ways will inspire all of us the follow his lead. God Bless

    Reply
  3. Henniger Kathleen

    What a beautiful obituary.
    My condolences to his family and friends. Rest In Peace

    Reply
  4. Bonnie Jarvis

    Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers Lisa. Paul will definitely live on in all our memories but will be truly missed.
    Love and hugs
    Bonnie & Fred Jarvis

    Reply
  5. Ivan Peterson

    My condolences to Paul’s family, friends and all who knew him and are feeling such a profound loss. I worked with Paul and will always appreciate his upbeat personality, kind smile, and the humour and wisdom he wove together in his written words. I am thankful to have many fond memories of Paul. May he Rest In Peace.

    Reply
  6. Elizabeth Power

    My most sincere condolences to Lisa and the rest of Paul’s family. I met Paul when we attended the CBSA College in Rigaud. He was my study partner. What struck me then, and has been confirmed since, is that Paul was a sweet sensitive, and very funny, man. I reconnected with him just recently, this past year. I looked forward to his Facebook posts: the funny (groaners) and the uplifting. This obituary describes him as the wonderful kind man that I had in my mind. He will be missed, and forever remembered. May his family find some solace in his memories. God bless them all.

    Reply
  7. Keith Palmer and Family

    A finer man I will never know, I miss my friend
    Lisa I am so sorry for your loss

    Keith Palmer and Family

    Reply
  8. MARIA Correia

    What a wonderful obituary.
    I’m so very sorry for your loss. I only met Paul a few times but he was so charismatic that he made such an impression, his smile was also contagious. May your precious memories console you and the family during this time of sorrow.

    Reply
  9. Ken Gresley-Jones

    Paul started his career with the Canadian Border Service at Osoyoos and I was the Superintendent there and a part of his initial training. We had alot of fun and I sure got “the look” from Paul many many times, he was fun to be wicked too! He was a great guy a very kind and decent soul and I was shocked to the bone to hear of this and will cherish the memory of his being here. My thoughts and prayers are with Lisa and Pauls family and friends.

    Reply
  10. Sandy Larsen

    An obituary worthy of the man for whom it was written! My heart breaks for all of you close family members. I have wonderful memories of the times we cousins could be together, and am so thankful for those times. Praying for all of you in this time of grief.
    Love,
    Sandy (Schamber) Larsen

    Reply
  11. Dellalee Piper

    What a beautiful obituary! Prayers to his families ! ❤️

    Reply
  12. Barb Peden

    My sincere condolences to Lisa, the boys and the rest of the family. It was a sad day when I got the message that Paul had passed. We had just reconnected after many years ago when we worked at Osoyoos CBSA. I received his book for my birthday in March from a friend who had given Paul my address. I am doubly blessed. I have his book and a poem he had written for me when I left CBSA years ago.

    Reply
  13. Susan Ruf

    Beautiful obituary to honour a beautiful man. My deepest condolences to all of you.
    He will be dearly missed.

    Reply
  14. Scott (and Kerrie) Roberts

    Our deepest condolences, Lisa, and to your and Paul’s family.
    I met Paul in Prince Rupert while he was Supt and I was wading into new waters supporting IT for CBSA. I was quickly introduced to his wit and endearing manner.
    I think the last time we were able to connect at Pleasant Camp, BC, he was delighted to take us out for a rip around the CBSA compound in the recently acquired side by side. Lisa, I still see the eye roll at his insistence, in the pouring rain. There was always a bottle of jam, or salmon to take upon departure, for which I am forever grateful.
    His warm ways and wonderful storytelling will always leave me smiling!

    Reply
  15. Rob Moore

    Lisa; Not working the Haines Road anymore, I only learned ofPaul’s passing recently, then came across this page. I’m glad to have a copy of his book to remind me of Paul from time to time. To you and all of Paul’s family, so very sorry for your loss.

    Reply

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