Patrick Van Bibber
Patrick William Van Bibber was the eighth of the Van Bibber children born to Ira and Eliza Van Bibber. He was born on March 17, 1922. Years later, when visiting Ira’s family in West Virginia, Lucy received copies of all his letters he had sent to his family. In one, it read, “mother and child doing well, we are calling him John James. When the next one comes and it is a boy, we will call him Patrick William.” And so it was, it just so happened it was also St. Patrick’s Day so what an appropriate name for this baby boy.
Growing up on the land, with his 7 brothers and 6 sisters, Patrick was the quiet one. His sister Lucy said, ‘Father always said to us kids, “why can’t you all be more like Paddy? He is always so good.” Sister Kathleen remembers that Pat would give his mitts to any of his brothers and sisters when their hands were freezing and he would go without.
Throughout their life living on the land, they learned about trapping, fishing, hunting and gardening. Father Ira was a strict but fair man and ensured that each of his children were able to fend for themselves, no matter what situation they found themselves. Mother Eliza, an amazing strong First Nation woman, taught them her many skills as well.
Pat met a beautiful young lady from Hell’s Gate at Fort Selkirk, Ada Blanchard. It was not long before he asked her to marry him. On April 09, 1949, Pat, 29 and Ada, 24 were married with Alex and Sue Van Bibber as their witnesses – they celebrated their 66th anniversary in 2015.
Pat’s work life was varied and had many stories to go along with his adventures. He worked on the ferries at Stewart and Carmacks before there were bridges as we know today. He became road foreman for the Mayo district and moved his family to Mayo where they lived and raised their family. He retired at age 65 and never slowed – he had amazing energy and strength.
The Van Bibber families stayed close and gathered whenever they could at the Pelly big house. The cousins have fond memories of time spent there.
Pat and Ada so enjoyed going for rides and he loved driving – down the highway to check for a moose, see the bears at the dump or down a back road that who knows what they would find. Taking the grandkids was part of the ritual and each has a story about driving with Grandpa and Grandma! He could put the miles on and did so right up until he walked into the hospital.
Everything interested him and he was always willing to try new things. He had many friends, young and old, that he cherished and always had time for everyone.
Pat is predeceased by his wife, Ada, his mother and father, Ira and Eliza Van Bibber; brothers, Abe, Dan, Alex, Archie, John James, George and Theodore; sisters, Leta, May, Helen; son-in-law Jim Ellis.
He is survived by his sisters, Lucy Sanderson, Kathleen Thorpe and Linch Curry. His children Pat Jr. (Geraldine); Shirley; Carol (Mark); Deb (Phil); Karen (Frank).
Grandchildren Patrick (Heather), Trevor (Kerri), Stuart (Nikki), Ann-Marie, Sherri, Brad (Ashley), Curtis, Wade, Craig, Jay, Franklin (Laura), Krista (Shawn) and Derek.
Great grandchildren Kyle, Keaton, Evan, Jordan, Hailey, Joel, Ireland, Cole, Kody, Aiden, Markis, Nolan Many nieces and nephews.
Pat’s wish was to be cremated and his ashes to be interred at the Van Bibber family plot in Pelly, which will take place at a later date.