It is with great sadness that the City of Colwood recognizes the passing of Dick Emery, a long time community leader who has made significant contributions to Colwood. As a past Fire Chief, CRD Director, volunteer, business owner, and community supporter, Dick was inducted as a lifetime member of the Colwood Fire Department in 1988, presented with a Westshore Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year award in 1998, and was recognized by the City of Colwood with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
A celebration of life will be held in June. Details will be shared as they become available.
Remembering Dick Emery
Richard Martin Emery was born to Ernest and Hilda Emery on March 28, 1930. He attended Colwood Elementary School as a child and lived most of his life in Colwood.
Dick’s volunteer service began as a boy when he helped his mother and other members of the Colwood Women’s Institute pack parcels for the soldiers overseas. It was during these war time efforts that Dick first became involved with the fire department. With many of the men away, Dick and his brother Alan drove the fire truck – before they had a driver’s license – to fight a large fire near what is now West Shore Town Centre.
A long history with the Colwood Fire Department
The Emery family has a long history with the Colwood Fire Department. Dick’s father Ernest Emery was one of the facilitators who assisted in the original establishment of the Colwood Fire District. Between 1946 and 1978, Dick served as one of the original members of the Colwood Volunteer Fire Department while he worked for his father's electrical firm, E.H. Emery and Sons.
Dick worked his way up through the ranks and served as Colwood's Fire Chief for 13 years, from 1952 to 1964.
As an honorary lifetime member of the Colwood Volunteer Fire Department, Dick was instrumental in establishing the Colwood Fire Hall Museum which opened in 1994.
Several years ago, Dick assisted with the restoration of the fire truck that he drove as Fire Chief and he noticed a smudge of red dye on the dashboard of the truck. He knew the story behind it well. Decades ago, Dick and his brother had been fighting a fire by Belmont School, assisted by water bomber planes. However, the pilot plane that usually warns that the water bombers are coming did not get the warning out in time! Dick and the other fire fighters were doused in red dye. Some of that dye is still visible around the dash of the fire truck.
Establishing Juan de Fuca Recreation complex
After leaving the fire service, Dick served as a CRD director until 1973 and was active in the establishment of the Juan de Fuca Recreation complex on the fields purchased from the Department of National Defense.
Preserving Colwood History
In 1993, Dick and other community members approached the City to restore St. John the Baptist Heritage Church. A management committee was formed and through their fundraising and hard work they restored the nearby building to create a hall to complement the church. The hall is named “Emery Family Hall” in recognition of the many contributions of Dick and the Emery Family. Emery Hall now serves as a meeting place for community groups and associations such as Girl Guides and public rental space for functions.
Dick Emery and his family have contributed their time, resources, hard work and expertise to Colwood for many years. He will be greatly missed.
The following slideshow presents just a few images that give a sense of Dick’s contributions through the years.
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Sandra Russell, Communications Manager