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Russell (Russ) John SEARLE

February 23, 1944 - November 5, 2023

An honourable gentleman & kind soul.

A celebration of life for Russ will be held on

Saturday, November 25, 2023, at 12 noon

at St. Peter’s Anglican Church on Pender Island

with a reception to follow at the adjacent church hall

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It is with more sadness than we ever knew was possible that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend, Russ Searle. He passed away Sunday morning November 5 with his loving family at his side. He is survived by Shirley, his devoted wife of 53 years, his three daughters, Katherine (James), Mo (Adam), and Linda (Dean), his two grandchildren Andrew and Emily, his sister Madeleine, extended family, and countless friends.

Russ was born in London, England, during the Baby Blitz of 1944. His father, Tom, was the RCAF boxing champion and his mother, Marie, was a volunteer ambulance driver. His early years were split between the Canadian prairies and England, where he took his first two years of schooling. He received his high school education in New Westminster, BC, and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology (with a minor in English) from Simon Fraser University.

In 1965 he met his future wife, Shirley Marshall, at a party for the local chapters of DeMolay and Job’s Daughters (organizations for the sons and daughters of Masons). Five years later, on August 29, 1970, they were married in Vancouver, BC.

In 1975 Russ and Shirley moved from Vancouver to Victoria where Russ took up a career in sales. He started with Xerox, then moved to the fledgling Monday Magazine, where he also became their resident wine columnist, and lastly was with Manning Press in Sidney.

Russ and Shirley’s love of sailing brought them to the Gulf Islands and in 1980, they moved to Pender. Four years later, they bought the Port Washington General Store – the main grocery store on the island at the time. When the Driftwood Centre was rebuilt, they opened the Grocery Store (now Tru-Value) in the location where the pharmacy currently resides. During this time Russ was also the Justice of the Peace for Pender Island – a role that he proudly fulfilled with his usual integrity.

Ten years and three daughters later, they decided it was time to move on. In 1996, Russ put his name forward for School Trustee, an office which he served for three terms (nine years). While serving, he was elected Vice Chair of the BCPSEA (BC Public School Employers Association). He was passionate about ensuring that the children in his community were able to get the best possible education.

For more than 20 years following his time as a trustee, Russ worked with Shirley in her jewellery business (Ear Curls) where he often referred to himself as “The Boss’s Husband”. He became the company’s graphic design and marketing department. He also helped with jewellery production, and with sales at craft shows.

Throughout it all, when he had the time, Russ worked on his science fiction novels – a trilogy (Quaternity) of which he successfully published two-thirds in the last five years. The third book will be finished by his daughter.

Russ was a dedicated, faithful, loving, and doting husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend. He always made time to listen to everyone and respected their opinions, even if he disagreed with them. He was always up for a spirited debate and had a vocabulary that would rival that of Will Shortz. He loved reading good books, listening to great jazz, drinking fine wine, cooking and eating amazing food, owning, looking at, and driving beautiful cars, and enjoying peaty Scotches (especially Lagavulin). He was an avid Canucks, Blue Jays, and BC Lions fan, could beat most at poker and chess, and often played crib with friends and family.

Russ Searle was an honourable gentleman and a kind soul. He was a pillar of his community and the heart of his family; he will be dearly missed by all who knew him.

A celebration of life for Russ will be held on Saturday, November 25, 2023, at 12 noon at St. Peter’s Anglican Church on Pender Island with a reception to follow at the adjacent church hall. In recognition of his strong commitment to education, the family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Pender Island Coleman/Rogers Bursary fund – a bursary that supports Pender Island students.

Cheques payable to the Coleman Rogers Memorial Bursary Fund may be mailed to:
Joanne Enns
4210 Clam Bay Road
Pender Island, B.C.
V0N 2M1

Or you can donate online here:


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