A life of Hiking Mountains and Paddling Waters: In Memory of Richard Simpson

On February 2nd, 2019, Richard Larke Simpson, born Dec 4th, 1944 known to his friends as Rick, passed away peacefully at the age of 74 after courageously battling cancer.

He is survived by his partner of over fifteen years Gael Russell, his son Richard Kemp Simpson, his daughter Kelly Suzanne Simpson, the mother of his children Grace Bartel, his brother Jeffery Simpson and his sister Victoria Nuttall.

Rick had an intense and infectious passion for the outdoors. For over thirty years, his primary pursuits were focused on improving fish habitat, building up strong fish populations and passing on his passion and knowledge to the next generation of young outdoor enthusiasts. He loved working with groups of children during many community events and often described the joy he felt as they learned something new about fish biology or habitat. Rick had faith in his community and loved connecting with other conservationists and families at the clubs and organizations he was actively involved with in British Columbia.

Rick was especially proud of his work with many First Nations groups over the years and had his own personal universal vision that incorporated a beautiful blending of western and First Nations beliefs.

Rick Simpson was the Chair of the BC Wildlife Federation Region 8, fisheries committee from 2003 to 2018. He was also the Interior representative for the BCWF Inland Fisheries Committee. Rick was a member of the BC Wildlife Federation for 37 years, since September of 1981 when he and his family moved here from Edmonton. The first club he was a member of was the Port Coquitlam and District Hunting and Fishing Club. Rick got heavily involved in the new hatchery at the time in the Coquitlam Watershed. He helped with various projects from 1981 to 2003. He was very proud of the fish and habitat restoration projects he was involved in with the club and the watershed.

When asked in an interview last year, why he became involved with so many projects, Rick said,

It made me feel like I was giving back. I had been a hunter and an angler, and I was given the opportunity to do habitat restoration, and salmon enhancement work, I was given the opportunity to give back to the resource.

I could do hands on stuff and see the results. It’s very gratifying. I hope the future will hold more projects that will help conserve British Columbia’s resources for my children, my children’s children, and my children’s children’s children to enjoy. I want to make sure that we leave this place that we’re in right now in a better state. I’m talking about the environment. I’m talking about fish. When I pass on, I want to be able to say to St. Peter, ‘I got a lot of black marks, but I really did try hard to make this a better place for my children.’”

Rick will be deeply missed as he now walks the mountains and paddles the waters with the creator. May he rest in peace.

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