Photography

Andrew John Carmichael

March 21, 1942 ~ April 8, 2021 (age 79)

Obituary

ANDREW JOHN CARMICHAEL, Hornby Island Railway builder, dad, grandpa, husband, ship terminal engineer, sailboat shipwright, and generous soul, died after a long battle with Parkinson’s on April 8.  He had just turned 79.  Andrew, born amidst the bombs in London during WWII, grew up in British Society.  Preferring the socket wrench over the silver spoon, he built from scratch and drove three cars, each faster than the next, all of them red.  He showed early his passion for turning things upside down and figuring out how they work.

Determined to find his own path, he stopped in Vancouver on his way to Australia, where he fell in love with Lynne at the Kitsilano Yacht Club.  Together, they sailed their first boat, Aries, up to Desolation Sound.  Their next boat, the Fraser 30 Sarita, took shape in their vegetable garden and sailed the family on further adventures.  Andrew began his professional engineering career at Swan Wooster and traveled the world, managing projects in Indonesia, South Africa, and Kitimat.  Swan Wooster transformed into Sandwell, and his last project took him to Australia, where he expanded a shipping terminal and took up oil pastels, at which he was naturally gifted.

Andrew retired with Lynne to Hornby Island, near Helliwell Park.  He rode his motorcycle in full leather, protected the Helliwell Park bluffs, and welded metal tools imbued with art.  Thousands of cedar siding shingles became cresting waves in his hands.

He transformed a ride-on mower into a thousand-pound gravel hauler, sparking a bike and pedestrian trail network linking well-traveled paths to the Cardboard House Bakery.  His attention to detail and management skills helped realize both the Medical Clinic and the new Firehall.

But if joy could be measured in pounds, then his weightiest creation is the Hornby Island Railway, two loops of iron tucked away amidst Lynne’s beautiful garden on Helliwell Road.  Ever generous with his time and in his spirit, Andrew introduced the magic of railway, locomotives, and steam whistles to his grandchildren and thousands of others.

Andrew is survived by his wife Lynne, his children Mark and Stuart, his daughters-in-law Michelle and Francesca, and his grandchildren, Maëlle, Talia, Rose, and Frank.

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