Friday, February 22, 2008

Errol C. Hemingson, Obituary

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Errol C. Hemingson

HEMINGSON Errol C., born February 23, 1938,
passed away in his sleep in the early hours
 of Saturday, February 16, 2008 in the
Palliative Care Ward at St. Paul's Hospital
just a few days short of his 70th birthday.

The second son of Norman and Ivy (nee Morrow)
 Hemingson, Errol was born in Portage La Prairie,
 Manitoba and is survived by his brother
Vincent Hemingson and sister, Delores Hill.
Errol is also survived by his sons Vince, Brad
and Kent and his daughter Charlene Bienvenu,
whom he had with his first wife, Sally Hemingson.
Brad and Margaret Hemingson gifted Errol with
three beautiful grandchildren, Stewart, Alastair
 and Mhairi.

Errol served in the Royal Canadian Navy from
 1958-1959 where he was stationed at HMCS
Naden in Esquimalt, where like many young
men from the prairies, he developed a
profound love of the sea. After leaving the
Navy and returning to Winnipeg, Manitoba,
Errol was an accomplished salesman with
Allis-Chalmers Rumley Ltd., traveling all
across Western Canada. After deciding to
spend more time at home with his family,
Errol moved to Vancouver Island, where
he owned several successful small businesses
in the Parksville and Nanaimo areas.

During this time Errol was an avid horseman
 and hobby farmer. Shortly after moving to
 the West Coast, Errol purchased the first of
 what were to be many sea-going vessels,
from fishing boats and sail boats to pleasure
 cruisers. Errol was also an avid car and
motorcycle enthusiast, a pilot and for a
time had a Cessna 172 which he loved to fly.

After moving to Vancouver in the early '80's,
Errol was a well-known and affectionately
 controversial Howe Street stock promoter
 in the junior mining sector of the
Vancouver Stock Exchange. A number of his
public companies received a tremendous
amount of publicity and it was a life-long
dream of Errol's to find and put into
production a working mine. Few things
 in life made him happier than the
excitement of prospecting, staking claims
and running a drilling program. He was a
Vancouver stock promoter in the grand
old tradition. There was no part of the
mining business for which he was not
 fiercely passionate. He is perhaps best
 remembered for his company, Butler
 Mountain Minerals Corporation.

After his first marriage ended in 1980,
Errol remarried again in 1987 to Alexa
Mieklejohn. Sadly, that marriage ended
 in divorce as well. In Errol's own
words, "I had two wonderful wives, three
 beautiful sons and a daughter who
was a miracle. That's not a bad life".

Due to increasing problems with his health
 and a desire to spend more time in
warmer climates, Errol sailed to Mexico
in 1987 aboard his beloved ketch, the
Stone Raven. It was the first of many
trips to Mexico, the southern United
States and the Caribbean. In his later
years, Errol divided his time between
Canada and the United States, and
with his spirit of adventure still intact,
traveled all over the world.

Errol Hemingson was a cowboy, miner,
 sailor, bon vivant, and raconteur with
 a reputation for being able to talk the
 birds out of the trees. He was a larger
 than life figure who left an indelible
impression, and a character in the
grandest of traditions.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held
 to remember Errol at the False Creek
 Yacht Club, 1661 Granville Street, on
Sunday, March 9 starting at 3:00 PM. Any who knew Errol,
 family and friends, are welcome to

In lieu of flowers, Errol
 requested that donations be made to
 St. Paul's Hospital 

For more information contact
Vince Hemingson (604) 331-0333 
Published in the Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on 2/22/2008.
Guest Book

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Errol Hemingson - In Loving Memory

Dad in Freeport, Bahamas on January 22, 2008
Captain Hemingson of the Dream Chaser

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Errol Hemingson's Memorial Service and Wake

Dear Friends and Family,

As Dad requested, we will be holding a Memorial Service and Wake; a celebration of Dad's life on Sunday, March 9, starting at 3:00 PM and lasting as long as the stories hold out or until they kick us out.  Apparently the liquor license is good until 1:00 AM. 

Food, and it will be fabulous, and libations - the beer, wine and whiskey is on Dad, the rest is between you and the bartender - will be provided.  

Please bring a smile, a sense of humour and a story or memorable moment with Errol to share.  Any event commemorating the life and times of Errol C. Hemingson will of course have a microphone.

If you have any great photos of Dad, please bring them, because we'll scan them on the spot.

The event will take place at the False Creek Yacht Club and overlooks many of Dad's favorite places in Vancouver, including Granville Island and Bridge's Restaurant and Pub, and the last place where the Stone Raven was moored before he left on his first epic voyage to Mexico.  Photos and stories of Dad's last great sailing adventure in the Bahamas can be seen at  Because all great promoters have a dog and pony show, we'll be doing a slide show of Dad's life.  We can all laugh and cry together.  The sideburns from 1974 still get me.

The Yacht Club is located at 1661 Granville Street, (under the Granville Street Bridge on the north side of False Creek), Vancouver, BC V6Z 1N3, (604) 682-3614.  A map to the site can found on the Yacht Club's web site at

In lieu of flowers, my Father wanted people to make donations, should they so desire, to St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver. 
Arrangements for donations can be made on the St. Paul's Hospital web site -
On the front page of the web site there is a Link to "Donations", and it takes you to the St. Paul's Hospital Foundation. The Official Charitable Registration Number: 11925 7939 RR0001  If you have any questions about Donations, you can call St. Paul's Hospital Foundation at (604) 682-8206 or fax (604) 806-8326.
Please forward this message to anyone you think would be interested.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at (604) 331-0333.  I would appreciate a quick note telling me if you will be coming, known more formally as an RSVP.   But, rest assured, Dad was never that formal.  Please come, bring family.
Best Wishes and Warmest Affections, Vince Hemingson
101 - 3131 West 4th Avenue,
Vancouver, BC  V6K 1R6

Monday, February 18, 2008

Small Miracles and Selfless Acts

In accordance with my Father's wishes as expressed in his Living Will to be an Organ Donor, after he died, he was able, as his last act, to donate his eyes.

His decision to be an Organ Donor meant that his corneas and retinas were harvested shortly after his death and will enable several people to regain their vision.

I can only imagine what it must have been like to see the world through my Father's eyes, but whomever received those donations, will be getting facets of eyes that saw the world through a unique prism and in nearly seventy years saw an extraordinary number of people, places and experiences.

That his eyes will go on seeing, that in his last act he was able to help other people see, would have meant a great deal to my Father.

In lieu of flowers, my Father wanted people to make donations, should they so desire, to St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver.

Arrangements for donations can be made on the St. Paul's Hospital web site -

On the front page of the web site there is a Link to "Donations", and it takes you to the St. Paul's Hospital Foundation.

The Official Charitable Registration Number: 11925 7939 RR0001

If you have any questions about Donations, you can cal St. Paul's Hospital Foundation at (604) 682-8206 or fax (604) 806-8326.

I am still in awe of the kind care that Dad received from the wonderful Staff, Nurses and Doctors in the Coronary Care Unit and in the Palliative Care Ward.  Donations made to either of those two units would be greatly appreciated.

On a personal note, thank you on behalf of myself and all of our family for your heartfelt messages of sympathy and your condolences.  They are greatly appreciated.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Dad - Errol Hemingson, Has Passed Away

Dear Family and Friends,

At approximately 4:00 am this morning, Saturday, February 16, Dad passed away in his sleep in the Palliative Ward at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, BC, Canada.  Dad was just a few days shy of his 70th Birthday on February 23.

Dad saw both myself and my brother Brad and his family on Friday.  

Dad's last words to Brad were "I love you", and to me he whispered, "It's been good, now it's time to end this."

Dad was listening to a compilation of Classical Music given to him by my brother Kent, so the last thing he heard was the best of Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and Vivaldi's Four Seasons, among others.

In lieu of flowers, please feel free if you so desire, to make a charitable donation to St. Paul's Hospital.

It was Dad's wish to be cremated, and a Wake/Memorial Service/Celebration of Life will be announced shortly.

If you would like to ask me anything, please don't hesitate to call me at (604) 331-0333.

Pictures of Dad's last trip in the Bahamas aboard the Dream Chaser can be seen at

Thank you again on behalf of Dad and our family for your many expressions of support, sympathy and kindness.

Please feel free to forward this message to anyone you think appropriate.

Best Wishes and Warmest Affection, Vince Hemingson
!01 - 3131 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
Canada  V6K 1R6

The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveler hastens toward the town,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands
Efface the footprints in the sands,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
The day returns, but nevermore
Returns the traveler to the shore.
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Errol Hemingson and The Dresser

There was a fabulous British film made about the English theatre during the Second World War, in 1983 starring Albert Finney and Tom Courtney, aptly called, "The Dresser".

Albert Finney plays a formerly renowned Shakespearean actor on his last legs, addressed only as, "Sir"and Tom Courtney plays the man behind the scenes back-stage - Norman - who helps Finney with his make-up, feeds him his lines, rehearses his lines with him, and helps with his costume changes between scenes.

Despite Sir's increasing frailty, memory lapses and clearly diminishing physical strength, Sir rouses himself every time he goes on stage.  Once he is in the full glare of the stage-lights he gives his all to every performance.  I won't give away any plot points, but the film is a gem and well worth seeing.  In fact, Sir's last performance of King Lear, which he has played "227 times", is acknowledged as being perhaps the greatest of his life.  It is also his last. Okay, 'one' plot point...

My Father, of course, is Albert Finney.  I am Tom Courtney.  I have seen my Dad for long hours every single day since he was first admitted to the hospital, when he is weak, when he is strong and every shade and variation in between.

As Dad's illness has progressed and his health declined, he has treasured every visitor he has received, like any great performer or actor, like the great story-teller he is.  There was a reason my father spent his life in sales and was damn good at it.  He too, performs best in the spot-light, at center stage.

I in turn have tried to keep as many people as possible informed of Dad's condition through e-mail messages, phones calls and the like.  People who drop by to visit my father almost invariably come away with an impression that he is in remarkably good health.

Afterwards, nearly every single visitor has called me up and said to me, "Vinnie, what the Hell are you talking about?  He looks and sounds great!  He looks like he could get up off of that bed and walk out of that room next week!"  Everyone thinks I am the great pessimist.

But what they are really seeing is my Father rising to the occasion of their visit or their phone call like the great performer that he has always been.  My Father is an old lion making one last stand.  Giving his Great Mane one last shake.  He still roars, but there is no chase.   Snarls, but does not bite.

Today my Father said he was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  He has had enough.  He has told the doctors that he wants no more treatment, no more pills and no more medications except those that help with pain or nausea.

And to that end, my Father has been transferred to St. Paul's Hospital Palliative Care Unit on the tenth floor.  The Staff are wonderful and it is now all about making the Old Lion as comfortable as possible.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Errol Hemingson - A Note for Friends and family

Dear Family and Friends,

Dad is not doing nearly as well we would all like, nor as well as his first progress under initial treatment indicated.

Sometimes, no matter how big your heart is, nor how matter how hard you fight, the fight does not turn in your favor.

Sometimes, you lose the close decision.

Dad's congestive heart disease has not responded as well as everyone had hoped to the kidney dialysis, nor to medical intervention.

His current well-being and health have been compromised by his diabetes, heart disease and other existing medical conditions.

In accordance with Dad's Living Will, which he authorized over a year ago, we are following the medical protocols he set out for the end of his life.

As of today, Dad will no longer be receiving kidney dialysis.  No heroic measures will be taken to sustain his life.

Dad wanted to die as he lived, with freedom of choice, dignity and his self-esteem and self-respect intact.

All of these decisions have been made while Dad is fully lucid, and aware of the decisions he is making.  He is, as always, in control of his life.

Dad will be receiving aide from Palliative Care, to ensure that his remaining days are as comfortable and as pain free as possible.

There is no way to determine how much time Dad has left, but he is in the last stages of his life.  He considers his life to have been
a blessed one, a lucky one and a full one.  He treasures all of his adventures, his life experiences and the friends he has made along the way.
Dad feels and has said explicitly that he was married to two "wonderful women", had "three beautiful sons" and a daughter who was a "miracle".

Dad's family and friends are uppermost in his thoughts, and he has asked me to convey to all of you his profound love and gratitude for being part of his life.

If time permits, Dad will be transferred from St. Paul's Hospital to a Hospice.

Dad does NOT want a "funeral".   He would like, in the end, to be remembered in one last "party" and a Wake.
At such a time, you will of course all be notified of the Time, Location and Whereabouts..

If you have things to say to Dad, now is the time to say them.  Life is too short for regrets.

On a personal note, I feel that my primary responsibility is to see to Dad, his comfort and to his last wishes.
I have taken time off work to spend as much time with dad as possible.

I hope you will understand if I do not respond as quickly as I might otherwise to your inquiries.

On a technical note, Dad's Cell phone seems not to be working.

Dad can still be reached at St. Paul's Hospital, the Coronary Care Unit, Wing 5A, Room 5003, Tel: (604) 684-6532 - Ext: 67503.

On a further personal note, if I fail to appear for social obligations, or return calls and messages in a timely matter, I trust you will understand.

Please do hesitate to forward this e-mail to anyone you think might be interested in being appraised of Dad's condition.

With much love and affection, Vince Hemingson
101 - 3131 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
Canada, V6K 1R6
Tel: (604) 331-0333
Cell: (778) 987-0729

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Do Not Go Gentle nto That Good Night...

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The Crossing of the Bar

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,     
And one clear call for me! 
And may there be no moaning of the bar,     
When I put out to sea.  
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,     

Too full for sound and foam, 
When that which drew from out the boundless deep     
Turns again home!  Twilight and evening bell,     
And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell,     

When I embark;  
For though from out our bourn of Time and Place     
The flood may bear me far, 
I hope to see my Pilot face to face     
When I have crost the bar.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Down to the Sea in Ships....

MUST down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, 
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by, 
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking, 
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking. 
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide         5
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; 
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying, 
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying. 
I must down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life. 
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;  10
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover, 
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

John Masefield

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Bahamas Adventure - Headed Home for Vancouver, Canada

Lear Jet 35 Air Ambulance - A Cigar Tube with Wings,
And Not Much Room.  None for Luggage!

Almost Home

Captain Vince - Born Three Hundred Years Too Late For the Caribbean

Dream Chaser - The Name Says it All

Final Days in Nassau, Bahamas

Small Craft Warning - Squalls, Rain and Waves

Rum Cures the Rain...

Air Ambulance from Nassau to Vancouver - Ambulance to Ambulance Delivery

Lear Jet 35 - Emergency Room With Wings - No Room for Luggage

Nassau, Bahamas

Self-explanatory...  I think!

Our Sea Bird Spirite Guide.  Never Too Far Away.

Old Colonial Nassau

Classic Colonial Building with Verandas for Shade and Hurricane Shutters. Beautiful

Nassau, Bahamas - Marine Harbour Club

Nassau, Bahamas - Marine Harbour Club, Sunrise

Nassau, Bahamas - Horse & Buggy

Nassau, Bahamas - Horse & Buggy

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Nassau, Bahamas and Help - We Hope and Pray

Entering Nassau Harbour, Bahamas

Sailing for Sissies

Cumulous Castles over Nassau Harbour Club Marina

First Sunrise in Nassau 

Pinks Sands Beach - Harbour Island, Bahamas

Pink Sands, and Turquoise Seas Under Azure Skies

Pinks Sands that stretch for miles.  Top Ten Best Beach in the World - no wonder!

Harbour Island Sunset - The Last Flare of the Sun.

Small Craft Warning - Rain and Squalls Heading for Nassau

Harbour Island - Voted Prettiest Island in the Caribbean

Entrance to "Pink Sands" Beach Resort - A Jungle Paradise

Pink Sands - Voted One of the Ten Best Beaches in the World

Bahamas Beach Hut

A Rum Punch, Please...

Harbour Island, Bahamas - Island Living

Harbour Island and Bahamas Colour.  A palette of smiles.

Dream Chaser Salami Bait Special...

The Hemingway Adventure I was looking to repeat.

Chickens run rampant on the Bahamian outer islands.

Bahamas Adventure - Harbour Island

Cecile and Brian Hemingson.  Two of the finest people I have ever known - my angels.

Conch Shells.  Thousands of them in huge piles.
Conch Stew, Conch Fritters, Conch Gumbo, anyone?

Harbour Island has been voted the most beautiful island in the Caribbean.
Home of the world-renowned and famous "Pink Sands".  I could live her for a year.
You'll meet nicer and warmer people.  Simply the best.

Colour is what the Bahamas are all about (this might be Nassau, it's all a bit of a blur).

Bahamian Adventure - The Dream Chaser in Harbour Island

The Dream Chaser - '65 Cape Horn Trawler at anchor, Harbour Island, Bahamas.

The Dream Chaser on a Turquoise Bahamas Sea

Dream Chaser - Dream Lady

Sunset in the Bahamas

Bahamian Adventure - Leaving Freeport

All the Glory of the Sea in the South Atlantic

Brian and Errol Hemingson, Thomas Lockhart

Harbour Island Public Dock

The Dream Chaser at Sunset - '65 Cape Horn Trawler

The Great Bahamian Adventure

Freeport, Bahamas - Grand Bahamas Yacht Club

A Lobster Dinner - Captain Hemingson and First Mate

Erol Hemingson, Cecile and Brian Hemingson and Thomas Lockhart

Freeport Sunrise - Leaving Marina