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Posted: January 3, 2023

Obituary of Barry James Bonell


APRIL 14, 1934 – DECEMBER 24, 2022

Barry Bonell, an  avid and dedicated fly fisherman has cast his last fly in his homewaters.

Barry was born in Kelowna, BC on April 14, 1934 to Dan and Emmy Bonell and  a baby brother for Kenny and Vivian.  In 1936 Em and the three children joined Dan in Kimberley where he was working for the CM & S Co.

Barry received all his schooling in Kimberley, graduating from McKim High School in 1952.

Barry went across Canada by train in 1949 to attend the Boy Scout Jamboree in Ottawa.  His love of scouting helped him to become an Assistant Scout Master and he had his own troop.  In 1956 he attained his Gilwell Beads – the highest award given to a dedicated scouter.

Barry worked hard for the Kimberley Rod & Gun Club as he wished to pass his love and knowledge on to future conservationists.

Barry worked for Cominco and in 1966 was chosen to be one of the employees sent to Hamilton to learn how to make iron and steel.  The Management could see the end of the Sullivan Mine in the future and hoped to diversify into iron and steel.  Unfortunately, an explosion with two fatalities ended that hope.  Barry returned to the mine as a Surveyor’s Helper – a job he held when he started with Cominco.  They soon realized he was too valuable an employee to leave at the mines.  They transferred him to the Concentrator as a Shift Supervisor – a job he held till he retired in 1989.

Upon retirement, Barry made plans to fish.  He spent many happy winters fishing for striped bass in Lake Mead, Squaw Lake, Clear Lake and the Colorado River.  One of his highlights was when a Conservation Officer came and asked to shake his hand as he had never seen striped bass taken on a fly.

In 1992, he hiked the lowest point in North America at Death Valley.  In August he drove the Alaska Highway to Mt. Denazi – the highest point in North America.  He always thought he couldn’t do any better than that.  He fished numerous Alaskan rivers on the way to Anchorage.  He was not impressed with “combat fishing”.

In 2000, he opted to stay in  Canada as American medical insurance was expensive.  He became a staple  at the fish hatchery – tying flies and giving casting demonstrations.  He always enjoyed his time at the hatchery as it was a cause close to his heart.

In 2003 he went to Cuba to bone fish and in 2011 he went to Costa Rica for his granddaughter’s wedding – Surprise, Surprise!  the Boys’ went fishing.  After an hour of no bites, Barry said “Let’s try some of my flies”.  They couldn’t keep the fish off their lines!!  The Costa Rica guides were impressed and kept “the flies” on docking.

After a stroke in 2020 Barry was moved to the Jim  Smith Care Centre at Joseph Creek.  We would like to thank the staff for the care they gave Barry, especially Chantelle and Anju.

Barry is survived by his wife of 65 years, Gwen and three sons Kevin (Lorraine), Garth (Harlene) and Cameron (Trish) as well as seven grandchildren – Linsey (Donnie), Corey (Crystal), Barry (Shannon), Marcus, Kaila, Jonah and Annika as well as four lovely great granddaughters; Winter, Grayson, Autumn and Vienna.

In honour of Barry’s memory, either go fishing or take a friend fishing.

Tight lines and straight shooting

December 24, 2022

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