NISHI, BLANCHE ETHEL (nee Chaplin)
November 26, 1947 to January 5, 2012
A great-granddaughter of
Kelowna’s first Mayor, Blanche was born to Harry and Betty Chaplin on
November 26, 1947 at
Kelowna General Hospital, the smallest baby to survive for ten years. Her early years were spent on the family farm, Orchard Bays, currently known as Traders Cove
Regional Park, then in the South Pandosy area,
always returning to the farm, originally via the ferries which she loved. An avid swimmer, who could hold her breath for a full four minutes, Blan enjoyed her beloved beach for many summers, often with relatives and friends who came to enjoy the lake. Blanche married her high school
sweetheart, Douglas Nishi, working in banking wherever Doug was transferred with IBM, spending several years in Regina and Vancouver. Everywhere she went, Blan made many friends. In the early nineties, she was so happy to move home to Kelowna again. Unfortunately, Doug soon started to show signs of early dementia, which came to
define Blan’s life for many years. Blanche carried on with
the help of family and friends. In August 2005, Doug had
to be placed in a care home. As always, “Auntie Blannie”
especially enjoyed being involved in the lives of her nieces and nephews. Everyone was devastated when as soon
as 2007, Blanche herself started to show signs of
dementia. Over the next four years, Blanche never lost
her goodwill, and made every effort to express her gratitude to her caregivers. She was born too soon and had to
struggle for life at the beginning and end.
As a young person, Blan was active in St. Paul’s Sunday School, Junior Choir, Explorers, CGIT, and Youth Group. She loved Girl Guides as a Brownie, Guide, she was proud to be in the honour guard in City Park for Princess
Margaret’s arrival to open the “new” Okanagan Lake Bridge, and Sea Rangers. Blanche had a beautiful touch on the
piano. She loved to sing, singing as she worked around
her home, to read, and to play board games. History, real, especially that of England, and Doug’s Japanese heritage, and imaginary, such as the world of King Arthur, fascinated her. She loved movies, the British Royalty, and was a
long-time fan of British Mysteries and Coronation Street. Blan enjoyed crafts, being especially talented at
candle-making. She and Doug were among the first to create computerized special occasion cards. She loved
animals and sitting by a campfire, singing or chatting or
just enjoying the flames. Family and Okanagan Lake
meant the world to her.
Blanche was predeceased by her mother in 1987, and her father in December 2010. She is survived by her husband, Doug Nishi, her two sisters and their families: Marjorie
(John Beales), Johnny (Joanie) and newborn Benjamin, Meredith, David (Karen + 1) and Graham, and Mary
(Bruce Thompson), Laura Martini (Ryan), and Scott, and
her in-laws, Ron and Rosaline Nishi, (Dawne), Florence
Ishiguro (Shun), Kevin (Raelene), Lauren and Justin,
and Andrea Ishiguro (Eric Ronay), Gabriel and Evan, aunts, uncles, many cousins, and her beloved little dog, Lacey.
A warm thank you to Blanche’s caregivers on the Ethel Glen Unit of Cottonwoods for their gentle care and special efforts to help her always look her best, and for their support of her sisters. A very special thank you to Nola Schweitzer, whose extra care helped enrich Blanche’s last year and a half.
A Memorial Service will take place on Tuesday, January 17, 2012, at 2:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s United Church, Lakeshore Road, Kelowna. Please make any donations to research on Cruetzfeldt-Jakob Disease or the charity of your choice.
Arrangements in care of Springfield Funeral Home, www.springfieldfuneralhome.com, 250-860-7077,
with thanks for their many years of support of
families with dementia.