To those who knew him, Odd Eidsvik was a funny guy and was always quick with a laugh. There wasn’t a piece of the Prince Rupert pie he didn’t have his thumb in. To recognize his contributions to the city he was so proud of, on June 1st Prince Rupert Rotary Club installed a commissioned hand-crafted sign to denote the Odd Eidsvik Memorial Park, in honour of their long term club member.
The park on Atlin Ave. is directly across the street from the home Eidsvik lived in for more than 20 years. The sign for the park was installed two weeks before the fifth anniversary of his passing.
Spending most of his life in Prince Rupert after growing up in Dodge Cove, Eidsvik was elected city councillor – twice, was an executive member of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, P.R. Golf Club, P.R. and B.C. Chambers of Commerce. He was a Skeena Liberal candidate, North Coast Liberal candidate, Seafarers Society member, Badminton Club member, Concert Society member, Laurier Club member, Ski Club charter member, Rotarian and the list goes on.
After his life in the local fishing industry, he started a new career in accounting and was awarded several community service and business awards.
Eidsvik was also a husband and a father to seven children. It is the family times that his daughter, Prince Rupert resident Sherry Beal, remembers the most. She is the youngest of the seven offspring and said her childhood was very active.
“We were always busy. We all skied. My dad totally supported that. We were always doing some type of activity or field trip. It was a lot of fun,” Beal said.
The ski trips were the favourite, said Beal. There were ski trips with other Prince Rupert families driving in a line of caravan like traffic all the way to Jasper each year.
Beal and her siblings all learned to ski on Rainbow Lake Ski Hill, just outside of Prince Rupert.
“My dad used to give lessons to all of the kids. It was a really good time.”
Beal said when the ski hill was moved in the mid-70s, from Rainbow Lake to Mt. Hays, it was a really integral time for her family, lead by her dad.
“It was group of families that helped get that into place. My dad … and a group of them worked really hard to make sure that it came to fruition.There was such a close knit group that had such a joy of skiing, they wanted to make it more accessible to the community.”
Beal said the ski hill was a family effort and her dad had everyone involved. Her mom helped out in the canteen while her brothers worked the ski patrol, gondola and t-bar. Her dad gave free ski lessons.
“He had us all involved in things like that, which was really neat because it made us value what could be done in Prince Rupert,” Beal said.
“My dad would go on trips. He would go to Norway, he would go to Vancouver, he would be in the U.S. It didn’t matter where he was, one of his main topics of conversation was Prince Rupert. He just had such a love for this community and he just saw such potential for what could be done here.”
Beal’s sister, Shelley Parks, who now lives in Vancouver, shared memories of her dad and his antics as an outgoing friendly guy who adored the city he lived in.
“He was Mr. Prince Rupert. He loved his town. He wanted everyone to know it was such a beautiful place,” Parks said.
“Our dad would just meet people at the top of the street and bring them home for dinner. We would have people from Switzerland, or people from the States or from Prince George. We would just laugh. We would make room for all these wonderful people from around the world that he just picked up on the way from home from work. That’s just the kind of guy he was. He was very, very, friendly. There was no place in the world that he would have rather lived than in Prince Rupert,” Parks said.
“When the sign was installed (for the park) I drove by and cried. He tried to help the community and he worked so hard. He just loved this town so much that it was really nice that he was honoured,” Beal said. “It’s huge. My sisters and my brothers feel the same way. We are all very grateful that people recognized everything that he did.”
Sherry is the only sibling left in Prince Rupert and said when Odd did pass away five years ago on June 12, it was not an easy time for her. People would come and give condolences but it was still hard for her. Six out of seven siblings, plus their families did make it back to Prince Rupert for the funeral.
A celebration of Eidsvik’s life was held after the funeral. Then privately with family his ashes were spread in his favourite three spots, in Dodge Cove, the golf course and by helicopter over the ski hill on Mt. Hays.
“We had three boats out at Dodge Cove. We took everyone out. We had a celebration. We had smoked salmon with crackers, with champagne. We all had a little ‘cheers’ and then spread his ashes,” Beal said. “It was pretty cool. Eighty-five roses were scattered on the water with his ashes.”
“It was a beautiful day. You could’t have asked for a better day.”
“He could make a laugh out of anything. That man told jokes like you wouldn’t believe. The stories he told about him and his brother when they were kids, it was pretty funny. We had some good chuckles,” Beal said about her dad.
For those who didn’t know Odd Eidsvik personally, they can always visit the park on Atlin Ave., across from the house he lived in, to feel a little piece of what he did contribute to the development of Prince Rupert. Upon the request of Rotary in June 2017, the City of Prince Rupert dedicated and named the park after Eidsvik.
“We were pleased to see a sign recognizing the dedication of the Odd Eidsvik Park go up recently, a lasting commemoration of a man who gave back in many ways to Prince Rupert,” the City of Prince Rupert said, in a statement to The Northern View.
“Mr. Eidsvik served on City Council, the Prince Rupert Port Authority Board, the Airport Society, a long serving Rotarian, and was a dedicated commercial fisherman. He participated in many facets of community life here, and we are grateful for his service,” the City said.
“He was an important person to Prince Rupert. He was very community minded,” Bill Parmar a fellow Rotarian and one of the organizers of the new signage, said. “He was always concerned with the city and had lots of innovative ideas.”
“Odd Eidsvik always had high energy and high spirits to get jobs done, and he was always a friend,” Parmar said.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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