Ruth Evelyn Knight was born on November 7, 1927, in the Michel Hospital. Her father, Frank Knight, from Sarnia, Ontario, married Petra Kofoed from Kristiansund, Norway, and they owned the Knight Lumber Company in Natal BC. After attending Normal School in Victoria, Ev arrived in Castlegar by train in 1946, to teach school in the Kinnaird Hall while Kinnaird Elementary School was being built. She met and married the love of her life, Johnny Clarke. Ev and John raised three children, Patty, Kris and Frank, in Castlegar, and became very active in the community. The Clarkes were approached in 1957 to help the Castlegar Project Society build the Pioneer Arena. John became the President, with Evelyn helping with all the fundraising, and together they coordinated the volunteers and built the Old Pioneer Arena. Johnny was honoured as Citizen of the Year in 1960 as Mr. Arena.
In June of 1960, Evelyn and John decided to build a backyard pool. That led to them being approached by the Red Cross, and Ev coordinated Red Cross swim lessons in their backyard pool for 43 seasons, putting over 15,000 children through swim lessons. Patty and Rick, as teachers, were able to come home every summer to be Red Cross Swim Instructors at Clarke's Pool, for over 25 years! In the winter, Ev was one of Minor Hockey’s most active volunteers, serving thousands of hot dogs to area hockey players. She and Johnny also chaperoned all the Teen dances in the Old Arena Hall. When Johnny died in 1999, Ev, with help from Larry and Clarke, managed to run Clarke’s Pool three more years, finally closing its doors in 2002.
Ev was honoured as Citizen of the Year in 2007 for all her major contributions to the City of Castlegar.
Ev had a standing lunch date on Wednesdays, for over 30 years with many great friends, including Julie Koch and Jenny Demeo. In fact, Ev just arranged a birthday lunch for her best friend, Julie Koch, on March 1st and had a wonderful time.
Ev was also well-travelled going to figure skating competitions, on cruises, and many holidays with Kris and Larry as well as an annual family trip with Patty.
Kris and Larry have looked after her all these years, but actually moved into the basement of her house these last six years, so she would be able to stay in her own home, where they cared for her right until the end. She celebrated 88 years on November 7th with over 30 friends at the old house. Ev put up a valiant effort to get better, but she lost the battle against leukemia on March 14, 2016. Kris and Larry looked after her in her own home just as she wished with help from some wonderful Castlegar Home Support workers!
She is survived by her daughter, Patty (Rick) of Kamloops, grandson Jeff (Sato, great-grandsons Toshi, Taka, Q) of Trail; granddaughter Petra (Terry, great-grandsons Tor, Lars) of Leduc, AB; daughter Kris (Larry, grandsons Clarke (Justin),Cole) of Castlegar and Vancouver; son, Frank (grandson Tristn) of Calgary; sister, Irene (Terry) of West Vancouver, and brother George (Donna) of Coleman, AB. Ev’s older sister, Gloria Praill, passed away 13 days after her.
Ev loved walking on the Millennium Walkway and loved all the memorial benches. There is a GoFundMe account set up online for anyone who, in lieu of flowers, would like to donate towards one of these lovely park benches in memory of Ev & Johnny. Everyone can then go and visit them when they’re at the park. Her other two favourite charities were Special Olympics BC- Castlegar, and the Harvest Food Bank. If we receive more than what is needed for the bench ($2900.00), we will see that these two very deserving charities receive the rest. You can also drop donations off at Oglow's Paint Wall Coverings store or right at Clarke's Pool, 750 - 10th Avenue.
Ev’s service will be held on Friday, June 3, 2016, at 11:00 a.m., at the Complex on the rink floor.
We hope to see all her friends there!
Thank you, everyone, from the bottom of all our hearts for caring so much about our sweet, sweet Mom.