James Reginald (Reggie) Williston

January 12, 1934 – July 27, 2020
It is with profound sadness and heartache that we share the news of the passing of our beloved husband, father, Grampy and Papa, at Kelowna General Hospital at the age of 86.
Reggie was born in Douglastown, N.B. to Jack & Annie (Jessamin) Williston, the sixth in a clan of seven. With his older brothers Ray, Charlie, Mort, and Cam, older sister Ina, and younger brother Harold, he grew up in home surrounded by love.
From the start he was a hard working and industrious lad who loved to build carts for all different purposes. He was well known for taking his little red wagon, which happened to match his hair colour, to deliver milk as one of his chores. On the way home, he would stop at the local landfill to collect “treasures” to bring home to fix, rebuild, or to make more carts. This practice continued well into adulthood, including “repurposing” the Jones’ family dishwasher or “fixing” a washing machine by taking out spare parts.
Reggie loved to drive, so much so that at age 15 he fibbed about his age on the application he mailed in for a driver’s license. Driving was a lifelong passion which also supported his family, in both his careers as a long-haul truck driver and as a regional travelling salesman. His work and travels took him throughout BC, Canada and into the US, and in the process earned him many, many lifelong friends, especially his best friend Bob Jones. They are likely now sitting somewhere in a library, having a cool beverage, before basket weaving class.
In 1954 he followed his older brothers Mort and Cam and headed West to BC, finding his way to Kelowna. There he met the love of his life, beautiful young Alice Kowalchuk, and they were married in 1956. They soon started their family, filling their home with love and children, and between 1956 and 1964 welcomed Debbie, Craig, Denise, and Karen. They worked hard, Reggie driving truck or managing a freight terminal, or with Alice’s administrative skills operating their own trucking firm; volunteering on Parish Council and on Catholic School Board; never missing a high school football game, all while raising a family and building a wonderful life filled with memories.
Reggie was a kind and loving gentleman who loved and was devoted to his family above all else. Left to mourn his loss are his loving wife of 64 years Alice; his children Debbie (Roy) Gemmell; Craig (Carolyn) Williston; Denise Robertson (Bill Fahlman) and Karen (Kevin) Waldal. He was the most amazing Grampy to his 9 grandchildren Brad, Christina, Megan, Carly, Nikki, Jaynie, Lexis and Danielle, and later in life was happy to connect with his eldest grandson Chris. He was adored by his 11 great grandchildren Bellamy, Caiden, Rhiley, Elaina, Nicholas, Otto, Malia, Kian, Liam, Daphne, and Morgan, who thought Papa was the best. He also leaves behind many family members and friends who will miss his kind spirit, ready smile, and the twinkle in his eye.
Papa we all promise to make sure we keep our vehicles clean and well maintained. We will love and miss you forever.
The family would like to thank Dr. Dan Obedkoff for his many years of kindness and compassion, and for going well beyond the call of duty to provide Dad with the best possible healthcare; Dr. Evelyn Kwok, IHA nurse Sherry, and Case Manager Lesley Johnson who worked so hard to improve his quality of life over the last three years with your gentle care and home visits; and the staff at KGH 6W and 4E, especially nurse practitioner Crystal, for Reggie’s care in his final days. A special thanks to the secret angel who visited him and made one of his final days so much better.
In lieu of flowers, Reggie’s request was a donation to the Okanagan College Foundation Health Sciences Centre, or to the charity of your choice.
A celebration of life will take place later when travel restrictions are lifted, and our family is able to gather.
Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.springfieldfuneralhome.com Obituary

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