In many communities there are people who quietly go about their lives never attracting attention and rarely seeking it.
One of those people is the late Harold “Hal” Lynge.
Harold Norman Lynge died on Aug. 26 in his apartment in San Francisco. Many in the Sooke area will not know of Lynge, but he was a part-time resident in the Shirley area for 19 years.
A child of the Depression, Lynge went on to become a prominent neurosurgeon in San Jose California.
He was the son of poor, Danish immigrant parents. The rugged prairie life instilled in Lynge an appreciation for life and what came from hard work. The family had moved to Vancouver seeking work during the drought years. They never wanted to give up their farm and worked at any jobs they could get. They picked fruit, his mother kept house and his sister sold beauty products, while Harold took a job delivering for a grocery store. Hal’s first job after high school paid a quarter an hour and he saved up enough quarters to enroll in the University of Saskatchewan and later onto medical school at McGill and the Mayo Clinic. He met and married Patricia Govier and they moved to San Jose, California from Winnipeg in the late 1950s.
The two of them travelled to Vancouver Island and found the 10 acres where Lynge would build a home. He told his wife, “you now have a retirement home.”
“They came up on holidays but Lynge never used the home regularly until he retired.
Patricia died in an auto accident in 1976 and by 1985 he had met the woman who was to become his second wife, Amy Cole. They would have celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary on Sept. 15.
They spent six months of the year in Shirley.
We love the West Coast,” said Amy. “Harold said he knew he had to have the place the first time he saw it.” Happily ensconced in their waterfront home, the Lynges loved all things Sooke. This included the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra, Sooke Days and the bluegrass music. Harold was an avid walker and horseman with a wicked sense of humour and lack of hubris.
When Harold’s health began to deteriorate he was determined to see his home in Canada one more time. He was on his way to Shirley from San Francisco when he stopped in Seattle and blacked out. This was the beginning of the end for Lynge, who never again saw his beloved home on the wild, West Coast.
He died peacefully at home and is survived by his wife Amy, his sister Marie Garrison, five children and step children and seven grandchildren.
He never forgot his small town roots in Saskatchewan and Shirley, even though he gained distinction in his chosen field of medicine.
“It meant everything to him,” said Amy. “He loved Vancouver Island.”