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August 16, 1937 – April 21, 2021

Due to the COVID-19 situation at the time of Dad’s passing, we are now going to celebrate his amazing life. Please join us with your stories and memories on SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2022, at 2:00 PM, at 1658 Tower Ridge Road, Castlegar, BC.

Beloved Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, Brother, Uncle and Friend.

It is with great sadness in our hearts that we, the children of Cliffe Churches, announce his passing. Dad passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 21, 2021, at Kelowna General Hospital at the age of 83.

Dad was born in Rossland, BC on August 16, 1937, the third of four children born to Norris and Dorothy Churches. As a child, he lived in Rossland, Castlegar, Burnaby, White Rock, Chemainus, Saltair and back to Castlegar. He attended Stanley Humphries Secondary School and graduated in 1955. He was very active in the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets in Nanaimo, Chemainus, Trail and Castlegar and attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Many camps and courses were attended in Esquimalt, Comox and Cornwallis, NS and he was selected as one of twenty cadets in Canada to attend a 3-month cruise to Europe and the Mediterranean onboard the H.M.C.S. Magnificent Air Craft Carrier in 1955. In July 1956 he joined the Royal Canadian Navy and enrolled in a 4-year Technical Apprenticeship. Upon graduation, he was a Petty Officer 2nd Class Aviation Technician and served at CFB Shearwater Naval Aircraft Maintenance School VF 870, Base Technical Branch VS 880 and VU 33.

On June 27, 1959, he married the love of his life, Carol Joyce Coolen in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Before long they began their family and together they raised their 5 children. The family moved from Nova Scotia to British Columbia in August 1976 where they made Castlegar their family home. Dad was the true dictionary meaning of Family Man - a man devoted to his family. From their birth until his passing, his 5 children, 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, never had to question his love, he truly devoted his life to family and family time was the most important thing to him. Dad’s love for his family could only be outshone by the love they had for him.

He was employed at Celgar for 14 years and then went on to excel at selling Life Insurance for Pioneer Life, Sovereign Life, and then 10 years with Canada Life. In 1994, at the age of 57, he suffered a large stroke which left him unable to work. In 1996 Mom and Dad bought a truck and trailer and set off and travelled across Canada, they spent lots of time in Nova Scotia with family they also travelled throughout the United States. Throughout his years, Dad enjoyed playing cards especially crib, swimming and picnics at Syringa, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family and friends. For the many years he lived in Castlegar, Dad was a member of the Castlegar Seniors, and was a proud member of the Kinnaird Park Community Church.

One of Dad’s proudest achievements was the idea he had to bring Fire Protection to Robson, BC in 1978. With his idea and the hard work of many family, friends and residents of Robson they went to work and made his dream become a reality. Dad was always so proud of all the volunteers that kept the fire department alive the past 42 years. It makes us children proud that the creation of the Robson Volunteer Fire Department is an integral part of our Father’s legacy.

Dad will be remembered for so many reasons but for his quirky little smile, his amazing sense of humor, little jokes, wittiness and pranks. One of his ultimate, biggest joys in life was watching his grandchildren grow into amazing adults and watching his great-grandchildren laugh and play, they all lovingly call him Papa. They all loved him as much as he loved them.

Dad is survived by his daughters Cindy (Lanny) Racich of Kelowna, Christine Churches (Brian Murphy) of Port Coquitlam, Diana Churches of Castlegar, and son Cliffe Churches (Sharon Phillips) of Kelowna, BC. He is also survived by his 11 grandchildren Chelsea Kristian, Kristina Racich, and Shauna Adrian, Seamus Murphy, Kyle and Aaron Roos, Ryan and Kelsea Dorosz, Ashley and Taylor Bercier and Elizabeth Churches, and their spouses, as well as his 11 great-grandchildren, his brother Gordon (Wylla) Churches of Brentwood Bay, BC, Brother-in-law Gerald (Maggie) Coolen of Halifax, NS, his Sister-in-law’s Judy (Joe) VanDevender of Fishers, IN and Kathy (Scotty) Cameron of Windsor, NS, and their families; as well as many nieces and nephews.

Cliffe was pre-deceased by his wife of almost 50 years Carol Churches, daughter Sandra Churches, parents Dorothy and Norris Churches, sister Margaret Schandl, infant sister Josephine Churches, mother- and father-in-law Ermie and Medford Coolen and his special pal Buddy.

We would like to thank the Doctors and nursing staff at Kelowna General Hospital for their care and compassion for Dad while he was recently in their care. To the staff at Village At Mill Creek and Northwoods Retirement Resort, thank you for your kindness and care for dad.

Thank you to the Springfield Funeral Services of Kelowna, BC, who were entrusted with cremation arrangements. Dad will be laid to rest with our Mom at the Springfield Baptist Church Cemetery in Springfield, Nova Scotia.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.springfieldfuneralhome.com (or click the direct link with his name in it, just below).

Link: www.springfieldfuneralhome.com/obituaries/churches-radcliffe-ernest
Condolence Messages
  • May 18, 2021
    I had the pleasure of knowing Cliff for the duration that he lived at Northwood
    He was a wonderful , caring man ,who always had the time to chat and show off any new pics ,or gifts that came his way , he has surely been missed at Northwood.
    My sincere condolences to his family.
    RIP Cliff
    Debbie Marshall
    Housekeeping Supervisor, Northwood
  • May 17, 2021
    Thank you so much everyone. It is a very difficult time but we were blessed with an amazing father and we have a lifetime of memories.
  • May 17, 2021
    I was so sad to hear of my friend Cliff’s passing. He and l have been friends for a good many years. I would come in to the homes where he lived to play my fiddle, hold church servers and as a friend, just laugh and tell tales from our youth. God be with you as we all remember him.
    Gord Fletcher. Chaplain, Trinity Baptist Church.
  • May 15, 2021
    Cindy.....Our sincere condolences on the loss of your dad. He sounds like a wonderful man and I know you will cherish the memories you have of him forever.
    Love Edda and Dave
  • May 15, 2021
    Cliffe had such a positive outlook on life. I had the pleasure of getting to know him over two years when he was at Northwoods. He loved reading his morning paper!
    My sincere condolences to his family and friends.
    Curtis Scott
  • May 14, 2021
    Radcliffe & I volunteered several times collecting for the Poppy Fund & Salvation Army at the Orchard Park Mall.
    RIP Radcliff.
    Lloyd Johnson
    Kelowna Naval Veterans Association
  • May 14, 2021
    To the Church family, I am so sorry to see of Cliff's passing, we became good friends while he & I were at Northwood, he always looked on the bright side of life. May he rest in peace. Alice Lundy