Arishenkoff, Leon (October 30th, 2023)

March 20th 1951 – October 30th 2023

Whoever would have known that I could do my own obituary.

In 1998 I was predeceased by my brother Ed, 2003 my father Nicholas, 2012 brother-in-law Scott, and 2023 my mother Mary.

Climbing up to frog pond, now known as the water line trail, swimming down the Columbia River from the Kinnaird bridge until the river became too polluted from the new pulp mill, and knowing every nook and cranny around the Castlegar golf course, the area below Mt. Sentinel, shows that there was not a part of the Kootenays that I didn’t love.

High school was normal, fell in love, but after a summer of logging I hitched hiked across Canada, picked apples for six weeks, tried getting on a freighter, but ended up flying to London from Gander, Newfoundland. Made my way across Europe in 1969 but caught the Hong Kong flu in Portugal which necessitated a quick return to London and hence, Canada. Back home I needed money so worked first as a brick layer’s helper for Cominco in Kimberley. Then I continued to Pine Point in the Northwest Territories driving various machinery. With money in my pocket, I enrolled at Selkirk college, Castlegar, BC. Met lots of fellow students, got really involved with Selkirk Saints hockey team and fondly would remember the 10-cent beer we would partake in after.

From Selkirk it was to UBC, where I graduated with a major in psychology in 1974. Careers in social work were poor paying and hard to come by in the Kootenays, so I went back to a summer job at the Keenleyside dam. Keenleyside turned out to be a 37-year career, and the freedom to really get involved in union IBEW politics.

Along with work and union politics there became more of a lifetime for travel. (Nepal, Mexico, Cuba, Thailand) Then there was the love of the mountains. From the goat range to the Valhalla’s and to Kokanee Park, Ron Perrier and I summited so many peaks that had no registrars. Only because Ron hadn’t designed them yet. There were multiple hiking camps and adventures down south, Yosemite, Half Dome, Bristlecone pines, Death Valley, Bryce, Zion, Antelope Canyons.

With family, there were multiple trips to New York, Washington, Baltimore, and 9 trips to China. Wasn’t long before it became apparent that I’d been to more places than most people would experience in a lifetime. But the beloved Kootenays and the people kept me grounded, as there simply was no better place to live. Northern BC from Hottah Lake to Quesnel Lake also were places of interest.

Although not expected and being hit with a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer, it has truly been a lifetime without regrets, due to the infinite number of good people that I was so grateful to have crossed paths with. Plus who can forget the Camino pilgrimage in Spain or 2022 starting out with a trip through the Caribbean, ending with a 30 day trek to the upper remote Dolpo regions of Nepal. The trip consisted of 4 passes and over 16,000 vertical feet. I stopped in South Korea on the way back and had an opportunity to enter the DMZ of North Korea. And then things went sideways.

With broken hearts I leave behind my children Hannah Lore (Kevin), Alex (Kristina), and Jenn; siblings Dan (Elena), and Margie; my grandchildren Sophie, Max, Jase, Brody, and Madden.

Cremation occurred. No funeral by request, ashes to kids, and a Celebration of Life during hiking season 2024.

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