Memorial bench a place to sit and reflect

A touching tribute to the late Ed Gyoba overlooks the soccer fields in Ashcroft.

The bench sits just off Elm Street, overlooking the soccer fields and playground at the pool park in Ashcroft. On this particular day the sky is vivid blue overhead and the sun beats down; there is a scent of newly-blossomed foliage in the air. On the field below a piece of lawn-keeping equipment moves in slow, steady lines up and down the grass, getting it in order for soccer season.

It’s not hard to picture the field as it will be in a few short weeks, teeming with children and parents, coaches and onlookers; and anyone wanting to view the soccer action could do far worse than choose this particular bench to sit on. Many people undoubtedly will choose it, which is why it has been placed there, in memory of a man who loved to be with people.

“Ed was such a social person, and we wanted somewhere people could sit down and think of him,” says Susan Maximiuk, who spearheaded the fundraising for the bench after Ed’s death in early 2014. He is remembered in the words inscribed on the bench: “live love learn laugh. Gone Fishing. Ed Gyoba 1948 – 2014.”

The idea for a memorial to Ed came when a candlelight vigil was held after his death. “People just wanted to donate money,” says Maximiuk. “We didn’t know what we were going to do with it at first; we didn’t have a specific goal. People just donated.”

There was no need for specific fundraising events; Maximiuk put the word out on Facebook and in The Journal, and “people just got hold of me and donated.” There was some money left over after the purchase of the bench, which was donated to the South Cariboo Elizabeth Fry Society.

The site of the bench means a lot to Ed’s wife Barb. Shortly after the bench’s installation, in November 2015, she wrote a letter to the editor in which she said “I miss him every day, and now having a special place to sit and talk with him is wonderful.”

She sits on the bench on this warm spring day, her dog Ashley beside her. “I walk here all the time,” she says, as a cream-coloured moth flits silently by and the equipment on the field below hums along. “In summer I can sit here and watch soccer games. I love to watch soccer.”

Maximiuk is glad that Barb is able to sit there during her walks and think of Ed. “I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated. It’s nice to see people come together and do something positive; make something good come from something bad.”

Just Posted

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

The Desert Daze Music Festival is doggone good fun, as shown in this photo from the 2019 festival, and it will be back in Spences Bridge this September. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
‘Best Little Fest in the West’ returning to Spences Bridge

Belated 10th anniversary Desert Daze festival going ahead with music, vendors, workshops, and more

Internet speed graphic, no date. Photo credit: Pixabay
Study asks for public input to show actual Internet speeds in BC communities

Federal maps showing Internet speeds might be inflated, so communities lose out on faster Internet

Fireworks are among the things now banned throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre, as the weather heats up and a dry summer looms. (Photo credit: Black Press files)
Category 2 and 3 open fires, fireworks now banned in Kamloops Fire Centre

Ban on certain types of fires and fire activities in place until Oct. 15

Cache Creek Village office, date unknown. (Photo credit: Wendy Coomber)
Cache Creek eyes water conservation bylaw as usage increases

Water bylaw was considered in 2019 but did not move forward

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Most Read