Bert was born March 6, 1930, to parents Leicester and Elsie Longden, in their family home at the top of Cherry Street, Nelson, BC. He passed away Saturday, April 25, 2020, at age 90 at Mountain Lakes Seniors residence.
He attended Central School and as a young man worked at a variety of jobs including CP Rail worker, farmhand in Alberta, mechanic and milkman. He married Leona Longden (nee McKenzie) on August 15,1951, in Fernie, BC, and shortly after brought her back to Nelson where they lived together in their home on Victoria Street for the rest of their 68 years of marriage. He settled into a job working as a truck driver for the City of Nelson. Many young people have a favourite memory of getting a ride to school in the cab of his garbage truck. Bert was industrious and hardworking, a man of many talents. People throughout the Kootenays and Nelson knew him as the appliance repair man, through his business: Bert’s Repair. Many a time he left his own dinner to fix someone’s oven, even on Christmas Day.
Bert worked hard and played hard, enjoying camping, hiking, berry picking, boating and water skiing with his family. Fishing, quading, skidooing, collecting wood were done with a multitude of friends and often his brother George. He loved his time outdoors and he knew all the best fishing spots, often flying into mountain lakes with a group of friends.
Bert is survived, and will be sadly missed by his wife Leona Longden and his four daughters; Linda Longden (Frank Carpenter), Ruth Schnell (Harold Schnell), Judy Longden (Jason Grant), and JoAnne Letkeman (Steve Letkeman). Also, nine grandchildren and many great grandchildren, nephews and nieces. He was predeceased by his parents, Leicester and Elsie Longden, his brothers, Leicester, Albert and George and his sisters, Lily and Violet.
Grandpa Bert or Uncle Bert is warmly remembered for a lot of camping, hiking, and fishing with his girls and their friends, nephews and nieces, from both sides of the border, as well his grandchildren. He loved passing his knowledge and love of the mountains and lakes to the young people in his life.
Upon retirement he spent many hours in his basement creating wooden bowls and a variety of other wooden items including trucks of every kind that were often donated to charitable causes to raise funds. He also learned to make his own huckleberry pies which he loved.
Leona and Bert did a lot of travelling starting early in their marriage and continuing into their late 70’s. For their last trip, Bert begrudgingly accompanied Leona to Australia to fulfill her bucket list of travels. He enjoyed the trip but kissed the ground upon his return and remained steadfastly in his beloved home town, Nelson, to his last day.
Bert was seen daily walking his dog around the soccer field for many years. He was always accompanied by a 4-legged friend, Pal 1, Pal 2, Pal 3, Sparky 1, Sparky 2 and finally Rocky.
We want to thank the nurses and doctors at Kootenay Lake General Hospital as well as the kind and caring staff and health workers at Mountain Lakes Senior Community for their care and support of Bert in his last years.
There will not be a service and Bert’s remains will be interred at the Nelson Cemetery at some future time.
When Bert was asked how he wished to be remembered by others, he said “Well, I hope people will think I was a good guy, and that I did my best to help others if I could.” We say, Well done Dad.