The sudden death of a longtime Langley resident following an Oct. 14 car crash in Walnut Grove “has left a hole in the heart of all who knew him,” says former Langley School Board chair Joan Bech.
“At 94 years of age, Peter Bech was more alive and filled with curiosity about the world than many who are half his age,” said Bech, his daughter-in-law.
“He was in perfect health, sharp as a tack, and cared deeply about his family, friends and neighbours,” she said.
Jens Peter Bech suffered catastrophic injuries in a two-vehicle accident at 88 Avenue and 204 Street at 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. He was airlifted to Royal Columbian Hospital, but died at 9:50 p.m. surrounded by family members, including his sons Soren and Poul, and grandsons Mikel and Dana Bech.
He had been enthusiastically looking forward to beginning a Fraser Valley Regional Library course on getting the most out of the internet the following day.
“We are very grateful for the tremendous efforts made by the first responders on the scene, both firefighters and paramedics, and by everyone in the intensive care unit at Royal Columbian,” said Soren.
“Our thoughts are also with the driver of the second vehicle. RCMP officers have advised us that he tried everything possible to avoid the collision,” he said.
Peter and his wife Mildred celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary this year. They emigrated from Denmark in 1958 with the goal of giving more opportunities to their sons Poul and Soren. Peter, a master painter, had skills that were in high demand in Canada at the time.
“Dad was simultaneously fiercely independent and caring for others,” said Soren.
“Whether it was single-handedly raising our first house so we could walk upright in the basement, designing and sewing costumes for Halloween parties with their ballroom dancing friends, being a full-time caregiver when Mom was diagnosed with dementia, or consistently beating me at chess, there wasn’t much he couldn’t do.
“Just last year, when I tried to tell him that carrying a heavy pressure-treated 2 x 10 was a two-person job, he assured me that he could still drag it into place,” he said.
“As is the case for everyone dealing with loss, this is a very trying time for our family,” said Poul Bech, also a Langley resident.
“It has been made significantly easier by the kindness and support we’ve received from Dad’s many friends and acquaintances, the staff at the Maple Hill care home where dad has visited virtually every day since Mom was admitted earlier this year, and especially the tremendous neighbours in the 205B Street cul-de-sac. There is a strong sense of community here which has lightened our burden,” he said.
A memorial service for Jens Peter Bech will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, at the BCGEU hall at 8555-198A St., Langley. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Alzheimer Society of BC, the Steelhead Society of BC, Sierra Club BC, or the charity of your choice.