A Second World War veteran and pioneer of modern-day Kamloops has died. Gordon Bregoliss passed away at Ponderosa Lodge on Monday at age 96, after living for nearly a century in Kamloops.
Born in Revelstoke on May 11, 1922, Bregoliss moved to Kamloops shortly thereafter, where he lived the rest of his life before dying of unknown causes less than a month before his 97th birthday.
The devout Catholic served with the Canadian army in Italy, France, Belgium and the Netherlands and was active with the Knights of Columbus and Our Lady of Perpetual Help church,
He was a North Kamloops and City of Kamloops councillor for 12 years.
Mayor Ken Christian called Bregoliss “one of the pioneers of modern-day Kamloops,” noting he played a key part in decision-making that led to amalgamation of North Kamloops and Kamloops in 1967.
“His contribution and that of those councils back then were, I think, quite visionary in terms of setting us up for the successes we enjoy today,” Christian said.
Calling Bregoliss a “good citizen” — Bregoliss is among the elite few who have been honoured with the Freedom of the City Award, which occurred in 1977 — former Kamloops mayor Cliff Branchflower recalled his first memory of Bregoliss, who was performing as part of a group of amateur actors that formed under a Catholic bishop in the 1950s.
Bregoliss apparently played one of the leads and the performance stuck with Branchflower.
“He was very good,” he said.
Coun. Bill Sarai said Bregoliss once lived in his neighbourhood and the two developed a special relationship, though Sarai hadn’t seen him recently. Sarai said Bregoliss was approachable and humble, despite his storied background grounded in service, and draws from him inspiration as the city continues to work on uniting neighbourhoods.
“He left a great legacy in this city,” Sarai said. “I hope I can be half as good as he was.”
Bregoliss was also inducted into the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame in 1997. He played baseball and eventually coached. He was a longtime member of Kamloops Golf and Country Club and enjoyed a glass of wine and scotch served neat. Bregoliss is survived by wife Bea, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews, many of whom still live in Kamloops.
Prayers will be held this Sunday at 7 p.m. and a funeral will follow at OLPH Church, 635 Tranquille Rd., on Monday.
In lieu of flowers, the family is suggesting charitable donations.