Ed passed away at the Burns Lake Hospital on Friday, Sept. 20, after a courageous battle with cancer and kidney failure. He leaves to mourn his passing: daughter Jackie Conlon (Sean); son Edward J. Polhill (from Calgary); sister Ellen Gray (Mike); his beloved grandchildren Troy, Ryan and Brett Conlon; nephews Sean Gray and family (Inuvik); Ian Gray (Stacey and family); niece Zoe Gray (Kelowna); daughter Debbie (England); plus other family and friends in England.
Ed was predeceased by his father (John in 1972), mother (Ellen in 1992), sister (Audrey in 1984), all of England, and his infant son (Tommy in 1975). Ed will also be sadly missed by his many friends and his brothers and sisters in Christ.
Ed was born in the Dingle, in Liverpool, England, in 1936, the son of Ellen and John Polhill. He weighed in at a mere three pounds, it was a miracle that he survived. God had plans for this child. Ed had a childhood full of interesting and intense times. World War 2, of course, was a big part of that young life. Also important was The Boys Brigade and the many First Aid awards he won while with them, the Choir Boy duties, music on the drums and trumpet, while soccer, boxing, cross country running, and cycling were some of the sports he loved. He also loved the family camping trips to Norton, England.
Ed joined the Navy in ‘53, at the tender age of 17, and apart from sea time as a Leading Sick Berth Attendant, worked with the Royal Marines in Devon, and spent 18 months at the Royal Naval Hospital in Hong Kong. In ‘65 he emigrated to Canada and lived with his sister and brother-in-law Ellen and Mike Gray at the Ootsa Lake teacherage. His first job was building huts for Johnny Scheck with Mike. This was quite a feat as neither one had any experience building anything! Ed adjusted to the Canadian way of life very quickly and soon sported blue jeans and red plaid shirt, shortly followed by cowboy boots and cowboy hat. Ed began work at the Burns Lake Hospital in ‘68 and proved his worth in many ways. He worked in the EOR and helped in many ways and in many areas of the hospital. His cheerful whistling could be heard whenever he was on duty. The kids loved him and many of them spent time examining his tattoos of Tom and Jerry and forgetting their own aches and pains. He had the gift of life and laughter within him and shared it freely.
In ‘70 he married Adrie and in ‘71 his daughter Jackie was born. In ‘73 son, Edward arrived. The second son Tommy was born in February of ‘75 and died just a short while later. That was a sad time for Ed. Ed was a Church of England man and both children were baptized and confirmed in the Anglican Church. This began Ed’s journey of faith. Over the years, Ed was involved in the Kinsmen Club and helped organize many a rodeo and other fund raisers. The curling club was another love and the house on Boer Mountain was cluttered with the trophies he won.
Ed never missed the Francois Lake Derby, and daughter Jackie was on the boat at the age of four weeks when Daddy won the trophy for biggest trout that year. Son, Edward John, learned to handle his first fishing pole at his father’s side at the Ootsa Lake Spillway.
Ed was a real family man and always had Jackie and young Edward join him in building and fixing things. He gave them each their own little tool belts and lots of nails to hammer into old stumps. Ed hunted a bit but rarely shot anything. By the time he stopped to admire his prey and take their picture, they were out of his rifle range. But he was always willing to go out to help his friends with their moose or deer kills.
Ed loved the bush, fishing, hunting, photography (both taking and developing pictures), sports and singing (especially Tom Jones’s “Green, Green Grass of Home”).
After quitting work at the hospital, Ed did many other things. He was campaign manager for Sonny Beck. He worked with Ed Brown at Beck’s Hardware (‘Two Eds are better than one” was their slogan), with Stolberg Construction at Babine, Purchasing agent for Babine Forest Products, and then working at Decker Lake Forest Products until his retirement. Ed always loved wood and working with wood, his burl clocks are in the homes of many family and friends. He picked up driftwood by the armload and rock and agates by the ton. All were used in his “Pol-Craft” business. He never made much money because his greatest love was in the giving of gifts, so he gave it all away.
Ed’s grandsons Troy, Ryan, and Brett were the joy of his life and he often babysat and played with the boys for hours. He read to them and gave them “gee-gee” rides and along the way he taught them to pray for healing in their own young lives when they were ill.
Ed’s faith grew and flourished over the years and his dream was that all the churches would become one body and work together. Little did he know that this would happen at his funeral. Ed touched many lives with his unswerving faith in the loving, healing power of God.
In the last few years of his life, Ed was always in prayer. His prayer journals are full of the people and things he prayed for. His health failed rapidly over the last year due to cancer and kidney failure. He prayed, and wanted others to pray, for a miracle. Who is to say that he didn’t get what he wanted!