Edward “Hawk” Kelly Jr., of Chilliwack, BC, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 82, at Royal Columbian Hospital on March 22, 2022. Born June 26, 1939, in Vancouver BC, to Edward Kelly Sr. and Delavina Kelly.
Ed is survived by his loving wife of 38 years, Susan, daughters Deborah Young, Diane (Gord) McEachern, Denise (Mark) Unger, Lisa (Kyle) Bowen, sons Dean (Kim) Kelly and Bill (Christine) Whitlam. Ed also leaves behind 9 grandchildren; Erin (Frank) Schiavone, Cristen Patersdorfer, Andrew Muth, Robyn Muth, Loren (Kegan) Muth, Meghan (Craig) van den Eerenbeemt, Jenna (Justyn) van den Eerenbeemt, Hailey (Jeff) Kelly, and Mackenzie Kelly, and 8 great-grandchildren; Frankie, Gianna, Aubree, Aleena, Shaylee, Ainsley, Alayah, and Dallas.
Ed is also survived by his sisters Valerie (Bob) Friesen of Chilliwack, Naydeen Kelly of Vancouver, sister-in-law Linda (Larry) Burke of Terrace. Ed was “favorite Unc” to Frank (Jan) Ling of Powell River and too many other nieces and nephews. He will also be sadly missed by his loyal traveling pal “Radar”.He was predeceased by his parents Ed Kelly Sr. and Delavina Kelly, brother-in-law Walter Ling, nephew Stephen Ling and niece Darcia Ling, father-in-law Ken “Sarge” Noakes and mother-in-law Mable Noakes, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law Ed and Judy Podworny, brother-in-law Chuck Noakes, nephew Shane Burke.
Ed’s parents moved the family to Chilliwack, BC when he was 12 years old. A graduate of Chilliwack Secondary School in 1957, Ed then pursued his dream of joining the RCMP and graduated from RCMP training in 1959. He was the 1st Status Indigenous person to become an RCMP officer in Canada, which was a significant breakthrough for all Indigenous people. His first posting was in Westlock, Alberta and after serving with the RCMP, Ed moved his young family back to Chilliwack, where he managed capital projects for the Department of Indian Affairs and was the Area East Representative for the Chilliwack Area Indian Council for the 19 First Nations.
He was elected as Chief of Tzeachten First Nation and served for one term. He was dedicated to advancing important matters that would progress the First Nations communities in the Sto: lo territory and had hoped that one day the Sto: lo communities would come together with one collective voice. Ed also did long-haul driving down to California for a short time. Ed’s career path then shifted back to various enforcement roles, including working for BC Parks for 20 years and then retiring from Sto: lo Fisheries. He was very proud of the Park Rangers and Fisheries Officers who were part of his crews.
Ed was known as “Hawk” by many close friends over the years, a nickname given to him when he was a young boy by his grandfather because he had sharp eyes like a hawk. He was also known for being very quick-witted. His interests included horseback riding, hunting, snowmobiling, raising racing pigeons and chickens and he loved all his dogs, but he had a special bond with Rambo and Radar. Ed was gifted with many talents and whatever he endeavored, he excelled at.
During his Depot Training with the RCMP in Regina, Saskatchewan, he was fortunate to sing with Nat King Cole. Although we rarely heard him sing, he did have a beautiful voice. He pursued getting his flying license in 1974 until he lost his instructor in a fatal plane crash. Ed was a survivor and recovered from many broken ribs over the years during his riding days, he beat stage 5 throat cancer and recovered from a stroke in recent years.
On the 60th anniversary of Ed joining the RCMP and as he celebrated his 80th birthday, the RCMP and Indigenous Policing Unit honored Ed for paving the way for many Indigenous RCMP members who have followed in his footsteps.
Ed was very humbled and beyond appreciative to Inspector Dee Stewart and Cheryl Terbasket for initiating and organizing such a beautiful ceremony and for the recognition for what he referred to as “I was just following my dream of being a Mountie”. There will be no funeral at Ed’s request, as he would like to be remembered for how strong and happy he was during the RCMP honoring event. Cremation will follow a private family gathering and his ashes will be taken to his favorite hunting grounds in the Cariboo Chilcotin. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation in his name, to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Ed will be dearly missed
by all who loved him.