In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar
HENDERSON, Mansel Ian - passed away peacefully at Bethany Cochrane on January 14, 2023. Better known as Ian, he was the first of three sons born to Jean and Walter Henderson of Sherbrooke, Quebec, on August 30, 1946. His father, originally from Stornaway Scotland, was a Hong Kong surviving POW from WW2 and his mother, a former school teacher from Waterloo, Quebec, both took on the family challenges of post war Canada and provided for a loving and caring upbringing .
At age 17, Ian left home to join the Royal Canadian Navy, all with the bittersweet support of his parents. Ian sailed the seas of the frigid North Atlantic aboard HMCS Assiniboine as a boson’s mate, conducting sea trials of the then new helicopter decks and providing the Royal escort for the Queens visit in 1964. On HMCS Bonaventure, Ian got the chance to see more of the world, sailing to England and then warmer ports along the eastern seaboard, Caribbean and South America.
After his 3 year tour of duty, Ian returned to the Eastern Townships to complete his education in Knowlton and Sir George Williams in Montreal, then struck out on his nomadic lifestyle. Following various jobs, he hitchhiked numerous times across Canada and back throughout his younger years, having spent summers on Wreck Beach on Vancouver Island, fighting forest fires in BC and the Yukon, picking fruit and working Carnivals in the Okanagan. Ian also worked on a CPR railroad maintenance crew in the Fraser Valley of BC.
Mid life had Ian returning to Eastern Canada and working odd jobs, becoming a farm hand and spending time at his parents cherished “Summer Cottage” on Libby Lake near St Etienne de Bolton. He later moved back west to the Rockies when his parents were relocated to Canmore and Banff, all to be closer to his brothers, Garth and Colin, where all three would be able to care for their aging parents, now both in failing health.
At that time in the early 90’s, Ian finally put down roots in Banff, working for the next 25 years at the Banff Centre, starting in the Theatre Crafts training program and then full time with the Support Services department where he worked in various campus buildings until his retirement at age 65. Ian’s love of the outdoors and mountains found him wandering the local Banff trails, with his trademark red backpack slung over one shoulder, sipping coffee outside his favorite brew houses and of course, endless walks around his beloved Vermilion Lakes. Ian did also manage one last hoo rah for his Scottish heritage, taking a trip to Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis, his father’s birthplace in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.
After several years of failing health, Ian was moved from the Mineral Springs Hospital in Banff to Bethany Care in Cochrane in the spring of 2019, where he would be closer to his brothers Garth, now residing in Turner Valley and Colin, just north in Carstairs. They consolidated Ian’s memories & mementos to fill his room which became an open history book of his life and was further enjoyed by both staff and residents, along with his never ending stories of life on the open road.
We are very grateful to the Bethany staff and friends who supported and cared for Ian in his final years. His love of reading, music and bird watching had his room filled with books & CD’s while “Blues” and “Bag Pipes” echoed daily through the halls. His travel storyboard birdfeeder outside his window kept him amused with sightings of different birds throughout each changing season.
Ian will be sadly missed by his brothers Garth and his wife Kathleen, Colin and his wife Joanne and their son Martin and his wife Leesa along with daughters Sophia and Stella.
Ian sends a heartfelt “See Ya Later” to his cousins and friends in BC, AB, Ont, PQ, NB and Vermont. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to a charity of your choice in memory of Ian as he was forever giving what little he had to those less fortunate. (The Rocky Mountain Outlook 26 Jan 2023)
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