Oak Bay beach walker hopes to return memorial memento

Small wooden boat appears to commemorate elderly couple’s reuniting in death

A stormy Sunday morning set the scene for Alan Gregory to find an emotional memento.

A regular walker of “three to five miles a day,” he says Willows beach is usually besieged by walkers during his 7 a.m. walk. With a storm brewing on March 13, Gregory found it unusually quiet.

A spot of bright blue butted against the cement wall that barricades the park from the beach captured his attention.

Gregory picked it up and discovered it was small wooden boat.

Inside, black marker noted two names and dates: Iris McKinley 1927-2013 and Gerald McKinley 1926-2015 “together again.”

It made for a bit of a moment.

“I thought, ‘This is sad,’” Gregory said. “I thought, ‘This has got to go back to somebody.’”

He’d love to find the family of what appears to be the hand-made craft, and after a cursory glance at the telephone book, decided it could be daunting.

The boat, despite not being too beat up, could have sailed from afar.

He carried the small find to a meeting at Monterey, where he showed his peers, and consensus was to try the newspaper.

Anyone wishing to lay claim to the wooden boat can contact the Oak Bay News at 250-480-3239 or editor@oakbaynews.com to have their information passed on to Gregory.

If he doesn’t find the family that set the boat sail, Gregory plans to return the small wooden craft to the sea.