In Memorium

It is with great sadness we have lost long time OMRA member Gary Fraser to COPD and lung cancer.   
Rest in peace Gary.  His obituary is as follows:

FRASER, Gary Laurence: June 26, 1949 - November 24, 2018. Gary died at Penticton Regional Hospital on Saturday, November 24th, at the age of 69 years, from COPD and lung cancer. 
Gary loved his family unconditionally and thought his children and grandchildren were the most intelligent, funny and wonderful children in the world (which they are). He was so incredibly proud of all of them.
Gary was grumpy but soft-hearted, quick-tempered but kind and generous. He smoked way too much, drove too fast, drank too much coffee (and whiskey), ate the wrong food, and swore constantly, and we loved him. Other than his family and his Smokey-dog, he loved his motorcycle and auctioneering. Gary could sell anything to anyone. He did love working at both Canadian Tire and Shell but, most of all, he loved the auction. 

One of his proudest accomplishments was buying Smithson's from George and Barb. Over the years, he spent countless hours doing charity auctions for anyone who asked and, more recently, was always willing to sell tickets for the OSNS motorcycle raffle.

Although Gary talked often about growing up in Wingham, Ontario, as the youngest of 11 children of Addison & Alice Fraser, when he married Pat, all those many years ago, he became a member of the Hayes family as well. This meant that he had to endure many hours of playing smear (which he called "that crazy Fort Frances game") but it also meant new siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins to tease, enjoy and love.
The pictures of Gary that we will carry in our hearts include him riding his motorcycle of course but, also, sitting at the table doing hundreds of jigsaw puzzles, relaxing in his recliner with Smokey by his side, and laughing with (or at) his children, Chris, Rob, Adam, Ashley and Amber, and their significant others, Kyla, Angie and Steve. Gary was the world's best Poppa to his grandchildren, Alex, Damien, Addison, Ben, Arthur and Levi.
The family is especially thankful to Dr. Simon Steunenberg for his care of Gary (and Pat) during this last month, to his long-time doctor and friend, Paul Cobbin, and to the wonderful, compassionate and caring nurses of Med South.

As requested by Gary, in the spring, his ashes will be released in the wind as his Harley roars down the highway. A bit of a rebel to the end.
Published in Okanagan Valley Newspaper Group on Dec. 7, 2018


Hiram, also known by “Doc” or “Kayo” by friends, passed away unexpectedly at home Monday, December 28th. He is survived by his partner Renee Tait, sister Dixie Dockray, niece Angela Thomson and nephew Daron Rude. 

Kayo was born at Fort Stanton, New Mexico. He, his sister and parents emigrated to Canada in 1954 settling in the Cariboo. Most of his schooling was in Quesnel and Prince George, where he eventually moved to in the early 1960’s.

Kayo took a keen interest in the military, joining cadets at an early age. At the same time he learned the bagpipes which he avidly played for most of his life. He was a keen outdoorsman in his youth, hiking, trail riding, canoeing and camping through much of the interior and northern BC.

Hiram successfully took his apprenticeship as a heavy duty mechanic, as well as a small engine mechanic and worked for the railway and Baldy Hughes Radar Station, to name a few. He also owned a motor cycle repair shop. Motor cycles, racing and riding were a big part of his life. His other passion starting at an early age was art. He attended Emily Carr School of Art and was an accomplished cartoonist, illustrator, painter and teacher.
In 2000, Hiram moved to Oliver to be closer to his father. After a couple of years he moved to Penticton. He was actively involved in a number of service clubs and associations.
All his life Kayo had an insatiable appetite for knowledge. It didn’t matter what subject, he soaked it up like a sponge. All his friends and family remember his ability to talk about almost anything, the more esoteric the better. Many have asked a question or had a discussion and have walked away with enough facts and figures to last a lifetime. But that was Kayo in a nutshell. He will be missed.

The family thanks the emergency personnel that responded. 

A celebration of Hiram’s life will be held at a later date.


 Penticton man fondly remembered By Mark Brett - Penticton Western NewsPublished: August 01, 2013 4:00 PM/Updated: August 02, 2013 9:28 AM (re-edited to format OMRA Website by Johnna Ortiz)

Accompanied by more than 100 of his closest friends, Chuck Simonin took the motorcycle ride of his life last Sunday.  In fact, the entire weekend was dedicated to, and in celebration of, Chuck, a well-known Penticton man who died of a heart attack in late June.   The large group left the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, where the day before over 600 people attended a memorial service, travelling the back roads to Oliver before returning home.   Saturday would have been his 65th birthday.

For the ride, Chuck’s ashes were carried in a specially-designed wooden urn with a symbolic First Nations eagle crest on the front - a culture he was very close to.  The urn was carried by his wife Michelle, who was a passenger on the bike driven by one of his best friends, Roy Colmer.  Chuck’s son and daughter, Luke and Dora, lead the cavalcade on their father’s motorcycle.  “I think he’d be more than thrilled with what’s happening here today because he loved doing this stuff and we’re all here in memory and support of him,” said his son as the choppers around him revved their engines amid the tears and laughter of the participants.  “I think what is happening here with everyone just kind of speaks for itself and I’m sure most people here would have a story or two about riding bikes with dad.  “I know he’d just be tickled with this.”  Like others who knew her father, Dora described him as, “larger than life. My dad was an incredibly giving individual, incredibly genuine.”

Growing up in a small Alberta town just east of Calgary where he was born, Chuck developed his passion for rodeo, in particular the three-man, wild horse race team.  It was a sport he continued to practice, even after moving to Naramata with his family in the early 1980s where he opened Wild Rose Stables.   In addition to motorcycles and rodeo, Chuck was involved in Ironman for many years, minor baseball and worked as a teacher, running for school board in 2011.

One of his biggest claims to fame was winning a gold medal at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics where rodeo was a demonstration sport.  His children remember fondly the summers travelling with their dad on the rodeo circuit.  Luke even had an opportunity to  join him in competition once at the Calgary Stampede.  “Dad taught me a lot of things directly and a lot of things indirectly,” recalled Luke about his childhood.  “He just sort of taught you to be your best and that if you put an honest effort into life you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of or to worry about.  “I think one of the most important things he taught me was just to have a positive outlook on life.”

Michelle also remembered her husband as someone who had the ability to bring out the best in others.  “You know what, he was just a man who was living life, was vulnerable and inspired people to achieve their greatness,” she said. “He had a sensitive, intimate relationship with everyone he met. He was five-star, cowboy guy with a huge heart and touched everyone’s heart in so many different ways.  “He will be missed by so many people.”

Chuck was also remembered by Mary, his friend and ex-wife, stepdaughter Brigitte, brothers Hal and Tim

Penticton loses a gem

E-mail Print PDF
Chuck Simonin

To describe Chuck Simonin as "larger than life" is no understatement.
Details of a public memorial service for the well-known Penticton area rodeo star, educator and motorcycle enthusiast have now been determined, following his sudden death last week.
Simonin, 64, suffered a heart attack while driving in Penticton last Thursday evening. His pickup truck crashed through a fence in front of a home on Cossar Avenue, struck a parked vehicle and collided with a tree.
A celebration of life will be held July 27 at 1 p.m. at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
Born in Calgary, Simonin grew up in the small town of Cluny, Alta. and began a lifelong love of rodeo in his early 20s as part of a three-man wild horse race team. He continued with the sport, even after he moved with his family to Naramata in 1984 and soon opened Wild Rose Stables.
"We grew up travelling the rodeo circuit with Dad in the summer, which was always fun," his daughter, Dora recalled Thursday.
Chuck won a gold medal in the wild horse race at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, where rodeo was a demonstration sport. He was joined by son Luke for one season, including an appearance at the Calgary Stampede in 2003.
"That was pretty special to do that together, even if it was just for one season," Luke said. Simonin gained a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Calgary in 1980 and was a teacher at the Penticton alternate school and substitute teacher with School District 67 for several years. In 2011, he ran as a candidate for school board trustee.
"I remember classrooms would always come to Wild Rose and he'd do educational things for kids about farm life and horses," Dora said. "That was pretty cool. Dad was a good teacher."
Simonin was also a keen motorcyclist, heading the motorbike escort operations with the Ironman Canada triathlon and an active member of the Okanagan Motorcycle Riders Association. He helped organize the annual Harley Davidson fundraising raffle for the OSNS Child Development Centre.
"Dad was larger than life," Dora said. "My Dad was an incredibly giving individual, incredibly genuine."
In addition to his son and daughter, Chuck Simonin is remembered by his wife, Michelle and stepdaughter, Brigitte as well as ex-wife Mary, sisters Lynn and Patti, and brothers Tim and Hal. He was predeceased by sister Cheryl in 2008.

Passing Of Chuck Simonin
Editor  MyNaramata
Former resident of Naramata, Chuck Simonin, died suddenly,Thursday evening, June 13.

He had moved from Alberta in 1984 with his two young children, Dora and Luke, and wife Mary to where Wild Rose Stables remains today. There he ran a B and B and Trail Riding business which included overnight rides to Chute Lake and a 5 day ride into Okanagan Park in the fall. Some of you may still remember the breakfast rides which were always a great way to start a day. 

In the winter for several years Chuck had the horse drawn sleigh shuttle service up at Apex with his heavy horse team. Every summer for many years Chuck took Dora and Luke to the Calgary Stampede where he competed in the Wild Horse Racing and Wild Cow Milking events and was also infield security for the Chuckwagon Races. On 3 occasions he won the World Championship in Wild Horse Racing and once in Wild Cow Milking. 

He also won an Olympic Gold medal at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics for the host city representation sport of Rodeo, again in Wild Horse Racing.

Chuck felt a real sense of community in Naramata and was involved in a variety of endeavours. He was involved with the Naramata Water Board during part of the difficulties with Blackwell Stores. He was a substitute teacher in School District 67, He was captain of the "New Ties" slow pitch team when the league first began and was such good fun. 

He held an Industrial First Aid ticket and was a fireman for 6 years with the Naramata Volunteer Fire Department. He was instrumental in creating the first B and B association for the South Okanagan. He was one of the initial members as a drummer in the "Nameless in Naramata" band. He mc'd several May Day Festivities and rode horses in the August Faire Parades. And he also spent many happy years involved in one way or another with BMX racing.

He was generally known far and wide as a colourful character with a quick wit and fabulous sense of humour. Any who knew him closer knew he was a diamond in the rough with a big heart who was a loyal, straight ahead, supportive friend. He absolutely adored Dora and Luke and was always immensely proud of who they were and what they did.

Even after he remarried and lived in Penticton , he and his wife Michelle and her daughter Brigitte remained lovingly connected to Wild Rose for which all of us will be forever grateful. He was a complex man who lived an amazingly full, rich and varied life and a celebration of life for him will be held for all his many friends that he left his mark on. 

Celebration of Life for Chuck Simonin
Saturday July 27th, 2013, 1 pm
Penticton Trade and convention Center


ORTIZ, JOHN EDWARD 1936 - 2012 Diagnosed with lung cancer in August this year, Dad fought a hard battle until his passing December 6, 2012. Fortunately, most of his loving family were with him, and friends were able to visit him before his passing. Life for Dad and Mom began together in the "land of the pale blue snow", Churchill, Manitoba, when Dad was stationed there with the US Army and Mom was with the National Harbor's Board. Life's travels had children born in Indiana, USA, daughter Johnna, The Pas, Manitoba, son Jim, and North Delta, BC, son Sean. Always hard workers, dreams, homes, careers and family were built and nurtured to the final culmination of semi-retiring to Penticton in 1991, when mom and dad opened their home to share their love of Riordan House to guests. Many Pentictonites will remember the combined civic involvement over the years, including Crime Stoppers, Historical Society, Heritage Committee, ICBC Road Safety Committee, MS Walk, Eagles and Okanagan Motorcycle Riders Association. Many will remember seeing Dad out enjoying the ride on his silver Spyder motorcycle during riding season, including packing photographers along the course for Iron Man. He was an early riser who worked out at the Community Centre and Lakeside Fitness. Many will miss the Santa that waved to passersby and the Christmas bus light tours. Dad leaves loving memories for our mother, Donna; children, (from youngest to oldest) Sean(Danielle), Jim (Liz), Johnna and pseudo-son, Richard. Grandchildren, Talia, Rhianna, Savannah, Anyssia, Megan, Ethan, Stephanie, Annalee, Kayla, Alicia, Jan, and Carli; Great Grandchildren, Jaxon and Robert, relatives in the USA, and many, many friends. No service by request with a Celebration of Life at a later date.  
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Customize your own free photo slideshow

John was a proud member of both the Okanagan Motorcycle Riders Association (OMRA) and the Silver Eagle's Riders Club.  He spent many happy hours on his Bombardier Spider whether simply out for a ride, riding in poker runs, volunteering as a chauffeur for photographers during the Iron Man, or coordinating and providing traffic control for the MS Walk.  He also participated in the yearly South Okanagan Toy Run and could been seen on occasion flipping hamburgers for the annual M&M Charity BBQ.  And, he was  always there when help was needed for the OSNS Bike Raffle. John is sadly missed by many in the biking community. 




Born 1958; Died 2010
Served as secretary/treasurer from 2000 to 2003


I heard about the OMRA many years ago, when I was still living in Vernon. Back when people thought I was a figment of Red's imagination. I moved to Penticton in 2000 and joined OMRA in 2001. The year it became a non-profit society. I enjoy being involved with the group. It's the kind of thing that puts a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye, especially when you see the happiness in the recipients faces when we hand over toys, food and money. I don't ride, so, I'm getting really tired of being Tail End Charlie. I'd like to borrow a back seat for some of our events. Hint-Hint, Wink-Wink, Nudge-Nudge.

SMITH, ROBERT L.: It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Robert L. Smith, often referred to as "Kokanee Bob" or "Ranger Smith", on Thursday, November 4, 2010, at Vancouver General Hospital. Thanks go to the staff at Vancouver General Hospital for their compassionate care and excellent service. Bob was well known throughout British Columbia particularly the Okanagan Valley and Alberta. Bob was an extremely avid motorcycling and camping enthusiast, as well as a volunteer for the Ironman Canada Penticton Motorcycle team, for many years. Bob also assisted in coaching the Penticton Ladies Softball Team to championship back in the 1980’s. Bob was greatly respected for his unique talent as an excellent automotive painter, including custom cars and motorcycles. Bob’s sense of humour and general kindness was always at the forefront of any gathering. He is predeceased by his father, Ralph of Millet, Alberta, and is survived by his mother, Adena, brothers Philip and wife Hilda and children, Jim and wife Heather and children, and the extended Smith Family in Alberta, and former wife June of Penticton, and many friends Bob made over the years. A celebration of his life will take place sometime in the Spring of 2011, at a date to be announced later. In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations to the BC Lung Association would be appreciated. Condolences may be sent to the family through
Friday , November 19, 2010


Ride In Peace
Kokanee Bob

Greg Hagel
July 31, 1949 - August 29, 2008
Gone But Not Forgotten


Sunday, September 06, 2009  was the day chosen for a ride to remember our friend and fallen rider, the “late” Greg Hagel. Some might say it was “just the usual ride”, but that’s okay because the usual ride around here always means a good time. Other than a few sombre moments, it was great fun! Greg, gone but not forgotten. Thanks for everything.

ernie Dougherty holds an honorarium presented to Greg Hagel after he was killed in a motorcycle accident during the 3 Flags Rally several years ago. Dougherty, seen here with Greg’s son Chris, is taking part in this year’s rally in memory of his good friend.

In August 2008 Greg Hagel began a ride he never finished. This year, in memory of his long-time friend, Bernie Dougherty plans to complete that journey. The Summerland resident and other members of the Okanagan Motorcycle Riders Association were expected to leave today at 3 am from San Ysidro CA on the 90-hour, 3600-kilometre, 3 Flags Motorcycle Rally to Penticton. Hagel, who ran the family upholstery business on Eckhardt Avenue, was only several hundred kilometres into the rally that year when something went wrong and his motorcycle left the road.

“I heard about the accident within about two hours after it happened,” said Dougherty last week as the anniversary of his buddy’s death approached. “It was in the early hours of the morning and he’d only got from the Mexican border to just outside Barstow, Calif. Nobody knows what happened; an autopsy showed there were no drugs, no alcohol. There was just no given reason for it.” As a measure of closure for himself, when the opportunity to participate in this year’s trip came along, Dougherty quickly signed up. “I also just thought it was appropriate to finish this ride for Greg,” he said. “We were almost inseparable for over 30 years; him and I put on a lot of miles together. “He was quite a remarkable character, he was the first guy who would always help somebody. He had a wry sense of humour, he was a biker first class and there’s probably not a day goes by I don’t think about him.”

Billed as the premier motorcycle rally in the United States, this is the 36th year of the ride which touches three borders. Organized by the Southern California Motorcycle Association, just over 200 bikes will make the trip stopping at designated checkpoints along the route. There is another component this year called — for obvious reasons — the Iron Butt mini rally. The optional add-on is for those who want to spend even more time in the saddle. Using a digital camera and GPS, participants will document their side trips, with the greater the distance bringing more points and the all-important bragging rights. Riders are expected to arrive Monday at the Lakeside Resort between noon and 9 p.m. where the motorcycles will be on display. The following day an RCMPescorted ride to Okanagan Falls and back is scheduled beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Although Harley Davidson remains the bike of choice for Dougherty, the model he has now is somewhat different than those he rode in the past. “I’ve gotten away from the old chopper style — I was getting too old for that crap — the Glide has got my stereo and all the bells and whistles,” said the 61-year-old. “I like my tunes and I like my comfort, after all we’re not getting any younger but I have gotten a lot wiser.” His Penticton riding companion Alex Papp, also on his inaugural 3 Flags, agreed on the comfort factor: “You have to prepare for it and I put on some long miles on some long days so I sort of get my butt used to where it’s supposed to be. But the thing is just go for it, forget about the bad things and enjoy the things you’re going to see.”

So for Dougherty while there will be a sombre note attached to the ride it will also be a two-wheel, open-road celebration of his friend’s life and he plans to enjoy every minute. “Greg would definitely want it that way,” he said. “Will he be with me on this trip? He’s always right there beside me and this one we’ll finish together.”

Mark Brett - Penticton Western News
Published: August 30, 2011 1:00 PM
Updated: August 30, 2011 1:11

Greg Hagel  Chuck Simonin

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

return to top of page          back to home page