Memorial vessel packed for Penticton

Origins still unknown, but boat will be back with family

Alan Gregory hopes to find the family that released to the sea the small wooden boat that appears to commemorate an older couple’s reunion after death.

The blue-hulled wooden boat beached at Willows heads north while the sailor of said vessel remains a mystery.

Oak Bay resident and regular walker Alan Gregory discovered the small boat bearing the black marker inscription – Iris McKinley 1927-2013 and Gerald McKinley 1926-2015 together again – snugged up against the retaining wall of the popular Oak Bay beach last month.

Turns out Gerald, or Jerry as he’s referred in his Clearwater Times obituary, found through a quick internet search, “loved to fish, hunt and travel the back roads.”

An email to our fellow Black Press paper, the Clearwater Times, made its way to Lloyd and Doreen Romeo. Doreen is the daughter of Iris and Gerald, explained Lloyd in a phone call from Penticton.

“I really don’t know who made the boat or anything,” Lloyd said. “There are only a couple people in my mind who would be involved in this.”

The couple hasn’t yet attempted to solve the mystery, as they now live in Penticton.

“We were there (in Clearwater) all the time, we just moved down here after they passed away. We were there looking after them,” Lloyd said.

He suspects the wee craft could have set sail from the Thompson River, making its way through to the Fraser and across to the Island. Gregory figured someone set it adrift in James Bay. Both now prefer Lloyd’s version of events.

Gregory called the couple and sorted out where to send the vessel, because despite not yet knowing the builder, Doreen would love to have the memento.