November 4, 1926 – June 23, 2023
In loving memory ~
Born November 4, 1926, in Wildwood, Alberta, Hank Dressler died peacefully with family by his side at the Fort St. James Hospital on June 23, 2023, at the age of 96. Hank was predeceased by his loving wife, Jean, and great grandson, Kaiden. He is survived by his four children, Maxwell (Angela), Lorraine (David), Lynn (Kenny), Patty (Steve), 9 grandchildren, Robbie, Eric (Ashley), Kristopher, Danielle (Cole), Sam, Jessica (Cody), Henry (Christie), Emily, Eli, and 7 great-grandchildren, Hadrian, Elena, Harry, Paige, Kearstin, Karter, and Scottie. The grandchildren all loved him and said he was the best Grandpa.
At a young age, while on the family farm, Hank saw the family’s beautiful crop of grain destroyed by a thunderstorm and decided that farming was not in his future. When he finished school, he obtained employment with CN Rail, where his math skills were quickly recognized and led him to become an excellent tie inspector. The CN brought him to Burns Lake, where he entered the lumber business, working for Decker Lake sawmills. He met and married his life companion, Jean Loper, in 1952, and Max was born a year later.
The family then moved to Prince George, where Lorraine was born. Hank continued to work in the lumber business which eventually led him to be hired by Brownmiller Brothers in Quesnel. They moved to Quesnel, where Lynn and Patty were born.
In 1963, he became a partner with the Patchett Brothers, and a new sawmill company, Patchett / Dressler Wholesale, was formed. In 1969, the company was sold to West Fraser. Hank was then hired by Canadian Forest Products, where he managed the mill at Isle Pierre. He remained there for a brief period until he was selected to lead, construct, and manage the New Takla Forest Products multi-faceted sawmill and lumber division in Fort St. James.
In the early 1970s, Hank built the Chundoo Motor Inn in Fort St. James. The family lived there, and Jean managed it until they sold it a few years later.
During Hank’s time in Quesnel, he was the President of the Rotary club and a member of the Royal Order of Elks. He served as an alderman on the Fort St. James town council and served on the Canadian Parole Board, having been appointed by the Solicitor General of the time, Francis Fox.
Hank welcomed retirement in 1989. He and Jean moved to the home they had built at Big Bay on Stuart Lake. They settled into a long retirement filled with travel and entertaining the grandchildren.
Throughout his life, Hank was an avid curler and even managed to score an 8 ender. For many years, Hank and his friends were the icemakers and unofficial caretakers of the Fort St. James Curling Club. He loved golf and shot a hole in one on the 4th hole at the Fort St. James Golf Course. He played golf until he was 92 years old. He enjoyed fishing and running his river boat up the Tachie River to his cabin at Tranquillity Bay on Trembleur Lake. He loved picking berries and was the champion huckleberry picker. Even in his last few days, he was preparing to go berry-picking.
Throughout Hank’s life he always put others first and made people feel at ease with his sincerity, his great sense of humour and mischievous smile. Dad, you were one of a kind, and we miss you so much.
Thank you to the many wonderful care workers that looked after Hank at home and to Dr. Steyn and the fabulous staff of the Fort St. James hospital for their ongoing care and support of our Dad and Grandpa.
In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Fort St. James Hospital Auxiliary would be sincerely appreciated. There will be a private family service, but please join us for a celebration of Hank’s life at the Fort St. James Golf Club on July 5 from 2:00-4:00 p.m.
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