Two long-term residents of Squamish, B.C., who recently died hours apart of COVID-19 were honoured at a truck rally on Saturday.
Margaret (Gail) Ross and Harvey (Merrill) Ross died 17 hours apart on May 5 and 6, respectively, of complications from COVID-19 after a month-long battle with the disease, according to their obituary. Merrill was 76 and Gail was 73.
"This is not the way Merrill and Gail's story was supposed to end," said JR Transport owner Darren Doak, who organized the rally.
"I miss them every day."
Beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, Doak says, thousands of locals came out to watch about 90 trucks meander through Squamish and onto the Sea-to-Sky Highway.
Hard worker and team mom
Doak says he had known Merrill for 50 years from their shared careers in the trucking and logging industry.
According to their obituary, Gail and Merrill Doak were married for 54 years and had moved to Squamish from Montague, P.E.I, in 1969. Merrill was known to many for his "old-school work ethic."
"Merrill was an extremely hard worker, whether he was going to work for five minutes, one load, or whether it was going to be a 15-hour day," Doak said, adding that Merrill worked right up until he became ill.
His wife, Gail, was known in town as "the ultimate team mom" who volunteered with hockey, soccer, baseball and ringette youth teams in the community. She often travelled with her husband on his trips.
Doak says the couple were sent to the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver shortly after they fell ill. He doesn't know if they had been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The pair leave behind four children and seven grandchildren.