Richard Charles ‘Dick’ Manwaring

Richard Charles 'Dick' Manwaring


Dick Manwaring passed away at St. John Hospital in Vanderhoof on Sunday, September 27, 2009 at the age of 90. Dick was born October 13, 1918 in Maidstone, Kent, England. He was the ninth of ten children born to William and Mary May Manwaring. Dick went to private school until the age of 14 and then joined the Worcester Nautical College training ship in London. He always wanted to travel and see the world and did so first with ships known as ‘tramp ships’, later with the Merchant Marine during WWII, and finally with private shipping companies. He worked his way up to Captain and earned his Master Mariner’s ticket at the age of 26.

In 1947 he married Audrey Tanton and took her to sea for their honeymoon. They landed in Montreal later that year and Dick left the sea life. They drove across Canada to Port Hardy, on Vancouver Island, where they purchased the Port Hardy hotel. Their first three children were born in nearby Alert Bay as there was no hospital in Port Hardy at that time. They moved to Vancouver for a short time while Dick tried his hand at a tug boat business. In 1956 they moved to Vanderhoof and bought the Vanderhoof Hotel. Their other two children were born there. Over the years Dick had various partners in the hotel and was involved in numerous community activities including the Volunteer Fire Department, Rotary Club, and the Village council, where he sat as alderman. At one point he purchased another hotel in Alexis Creek and since one of his other passions was fast cars, he purchased an XKE Jaguar so that he could ‘commute’ between the two hotels! He eventually sold his Jag and the Alexis Creek hotel, and in 1973 also sold the Vanderhoof Hotel. He moved on to his next ‘dream’ which was to build a sailboat, which he named the ‘Nechako Lady’. She was a 50’ ferro cement ketch, and after taking two years to build her, he transported her by truck and then rail to Kitimat, where she was launched. So began his many adventures back at sea, including trips to Hawaii, the Western U.S. and Mexico. Many lifelong friends were made during those years. He sold the Nechako Lady in the late 1980’s.

When he wasn’t on board his ship he was busy in Vanderhoof with other businesses including Nechako Excavating, Ardy Construction and Northside Water so there was never a dull moment and his life was indeed full.

In recent years Dick retired from his business life and could be seen instead, heading off with Dorothy, the fifth wheel in tow, on more adventures. Or he would head off on his boat, travelling the BC coast, and was always available if anyone wanted an adventure, or to go fishing.

Throughout his many travels he always felt Vanderhoof was a good place to raise a family and call home. He enjoyed his growing family over the years and felt he was lucky to have raised what he called a ‘good outfit. ‘Dick was predeceased by his wife Audrey in 1995, and infant son in 1962. He was also predeceased by his nine siblings, most recently in 2008, when he lost his sister, Cynthia Davies, who had previously lived many years in Vanderhoof.

He is survived by Dorothy, his companion of the past 13 years, his 5 children, Greg (Elvira) Manwaring, Orenda (Garth) Jarman, Susan (Larry) Svensen, Charlene (Tim) Wheeler, and Paul (Shelley) Manwaring; 15 Grandchildren, 14 Great Grandchildren, two nephews in Canada, Chuck (Marit) Davies, and Clive Manwaring, as well as numerous nieces and nephews in England.

The Celebration of Dick’s life was held Saturday, October 3, 2009 at the Seniors Friendship Centre in Vanderhoof. In memory of Dick he requested donations may be made to St. John Hospital and designated for medical equipment.

The family would like to thank the many friends for their support, as well as the doctors and nurses at St. John Hospital for their care of Dad. They also send thanks and appreciation to Grace Memorial Funeral home for their professional care and understanding.

The Merchant Navy


On all the oceans whitecaps flow,

they have no crosses row on row,

But they who sleep beneath the sea,

Sleep in peace, for our country is free.

Your duty with courage met,

we bow in grateful memory,

we will remember them,

We will remember them.

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