Posts tagged #appendicitis

Douglas Hector

Dates: b. 1877 d. 15 August 1903

Cemetery location: Block F, Row 7, Plot 54


The gravesite of Douglas Hector represents a piece of Canadian history.  The marker reads:  “Douglas Hector, of Wellington, New Zealand.  Died August 15, 1903.  Aged 26 years.”

Douglas Hector was the son of James Hector, an explorer who was responsible for the surveying of the Kicking Horse Pass. James Hector was trained as a medical doctor and geologist in Scotland. In the late 1850s, he joined the Palliser Expedition to map the Canadian west and look for a suitable pass through the Rocky Mountains for a railway. Hector and a small group of men were exploring the area around Field when his horse kicked him in the chest. Hector was rendered unconscious, and his companions actually believed he was dead. They were digging his grave when he came to, but Hector was in very bad shape. He asked one of his companions to make up a medical mixture at his instructions, but the man was terrified he would get the blame if Hector died, so he asked Hector to sign a waiver before he would administer the medicine. 

After the completion of the Palliser Expedition, Hector made his way to New Zealand, where he was involved in more survey work. He established his family there and was eventually named Chancellor of the University of New Zealand. In 1903, the CPR invited him to return to Canada and give talks to interested groups across the country.  He decided to bring one of his sons, Douglas.  The pair traveled by boat to Vancouver where they got on a train and began their journey.  They made it to Glacier House in Rogers Pass, and Sir James was regaling his audience with the story of the Kicking Horse Pass when Douglas became ill.  He was rushed to the Queen Victoria Cottage Hospital with appendicitis, but he died of peritonitis after his appendix burst.  Sir James was devastated by his son’s death, but because of the difficulty of getting the body back to New Zealand, the decision was made to bury him in Revelstoke.  A few CPR officials and distinguished visitors at Glacier House attended the funeral and Sir James returned to New Zealand.

Almost a year later, Arthur O. Wheeler, who was working on the geographical survey of the Selkirk Range, and T.D. Kilpatrick, CPR superintendent at Revelstoke, decided to raise money for a monument for Douglas Hector, and also for a monument in honour of Sir James’s achievements during the Palliser Expedition. Finally, in June 1906, almost three years after Douglas’s death, the memorials were put in place.  The plaque to honour Sir James was placed at Laggan (now Lake Louise) and later moved to the Great Divide.

The memorial stone for Douglas’s gravesite was described in the Mail-Herald newspaper on 2 June 1906:

“…Hewn out of granite, chiseled, polished and inscribed at the CPR quarries, was shaped a monument which shall endure as long as the mountains. The laying of the monument has just been completed.  It is a beautiful yet massive piece of work. The stone selected is the big-grained granite of the Cascade Range, polished and hewn to the size and shape of the grave on which it is laid horizontally, set on a basement of the finer-grained granite, of which the CPR corner stones are cut.”
Kicking Horse Valley, c.1915. Douglas's father James Hector surveyed the Rocky Mountains for CPR in the late 1850s.   

Kicking Horse Valley, c.1915. Douglas's father James Hector surveyed the Rocky Mountains for CPR in the late 1850s.


Rev. C.A. Procunier

Dates: b. Ontario, 24 February 1863 d. Kamloops 6 March 1940

Cemetery Location: Block F, Row 5, Plot 50


Charles Ault Procunier served pioneer congregations for 30 years: 12 as a Methodist minister and 18 as an Anglican.

His first posting as a Methodist minister was in Springfield, Ontario, in 1885. Over the next few years he moved around the province in various postings before studying in Cobourg at Victoria University in 1888. In 1889, he served in Napinka, Manitoba, then Edmonton from 1890 to 1892. He was awarded his bachelor of Philosophy in 1894, then his Masters in 1896.

Charles married Jessie Annetta Maxfield in Edmonton in 1892, and the newlyweds arrived in Revelstoke in 1893, where he was Methodist minister until 1895. He later transferred to Kaslo, B.C., to serve the Ainsworth and Kaslo congregations, and after that, the Forte Steel Anglican Church. He returned to Revelstoke in 1900 to become the Anglican minister; a position he held 16 years.

Charles was a popular preacher, occasionally exchanging pulpits with ministers in other communities such as Vernon, Nakusp and Nelson.  He was on the school board for some years and joined the fledgling Alpine Club of Canada - Revelstoke Branch, assisting in the construction of a small chalet at the summit of Mount Revelstoke.

The Procuniers maintained a vegetable garden on their ranch just north of town and honey from their hives regularly won prizes at the Fall Fair. They hosted parties and sleigh rides, organized family picnics and assisted with a snowshoe club for teens.

The Procuniers had three children: Charles Jr., Irene and Iona. On 22 August 1909, Iona “Max” Procunier died of appendicitis at the age of 11. School was dismissed on the afternoon of her funeral.

During World War I, Rev. Procunier joined the army to serve as Captain (chaplain) in an Engineering unit. His son Charlie was wounded in action, taken prisoner by the Germans and interned for two years.

Charles died in Kamloops on March 6, 1940, at the age of 77. His wife Jessie died the day after her husband on 7 March, at the age of 67.