General News · 1st August 2016
Cortes Islanders will be saddened to hear of the passing of old friend and neighbour Gary Bergman. Gary died peacefully on July 29th, surrounded by his family, after suffering a stroke a few days previously. He was just a few months short of his 98th birthday;
Garnett (Gary) Edward Bergman was born on on November 14, 1918.
He and his wife, Velma, moved from Thurlow Island to Whaletown in 1956, where they owned and operated the Whaletown store, Carlsberg General Merchants, until 1988. "Bergie's Store" really did have just about everything, even above and beyond the general stores of the day. Gary butchered his own top-quality meat, carried a locally famous tea blend, and served the quintessential ice cream cone. They also ran the gas dock and did fish buying is those busy years when Whaletown had a summer fishing fleet of up to thirty boats, which would come in to offload their catch until dark every night. Gary and Velma also had a stunning flower garden, carefully cultivated on the rocky outcroppings in front of the store. They still managed to find the time for the sort of community service that really makes for good neighbours. I remember my dad telling me, one bitter winter's day, that 'Mr Bergman' would be out until all hours delivering groceries and fuel to elders and shut-ins who otherwise might not be able to get down to the store; and very few social functions would have managed well - or at all-without Velma's willingness, cheerful energy, and legendary baking skills.
After they retired, Gary and Velma moved to Campbell River, where they enjoyed growing a beautiful vegetable and flower garden at their Larwood Road home; they downsized this when they moved to Colorado road, where Velma still takes pride in growing her lovely flower garden.
When Gary and Velma sold the store and left Whaletown, it really was the end of an era. A sense of loss still lingers; they are missed. People like the Bergmans - they don't make them any more.
Gary is survived by Velma, his wife of 72 years; daughter Gail (Russ) McCoy, daughter Lynn (Fred) Michaluk, and son Phil (Annette) Bergman; 6 grandchildren---Jennifer (John) Walters, Corrine (Steve) Symes, Renea (Randy) Sumner, Karsha Dunn, Hannah Bergman and Meaghan Bergman; 8 great-grandchildren - Shelby McCoy, Kyla Sumner, Jaiden Sumner, Amy Symes, Shayla Symes, Cianna Dunn, Carson Dunn, and Kira Dunn. Gary and Velma recently welcomed their first great, great granddaughter, Elodie Sumner.
70th wedding anniversary
Comment by Flash Abercrombie on 8th August 2016
All of our family has very fond memories of the Bergmans, and funny enough, just yesterday I mentioned to my wife that my mum always used to say she bought better meat from Gary than she could get at home in Alberta. Which is pretty weird when you consider Alberta is supposed to be beef country. 😊
And I remember my Dad saying that for a smaller store Gary pretty much always had what he needed. Dad said he’d go into some big chain store in Calgary and not find what he wanted but he would be able to find it at Carlsberg General Merchants. Just recently Dad reminded me that one time that Gary didn’t have what Dad needed he managed to make it show up by float plane the next day. That’s some kind of service!
Great memories from a wonderful couple!
Comment by Mark , Norma Jean Dewolfe on 3rd August 2016
Oh this is a Sad Day. Gary and Velma were a team. Gary was everyones father. In the 70s and 80 he looked after all of us on the Island especially on the Whaletown side. ( well, at least I felt that way. He was ours) He loved our Children had special names for them. " the Dutchman" that was Rodan's name. He was always there to Help it didn't matter what time of the day or night He was there.. He had a great sense of humour and We all felt safe and loved Buy both Gary and Velma Gary was always a really gentleman. When we moved and both Gary and Velma moved we didn't really stay in touch we always sadden me , but I never forgot them . they have always been in our hearts. Love to you Our Velma and her family love Mark and Norma