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Omar Pettersen

April 1, 1970 ~ June 24, 2022 (age 52)

Obituary

Jane’s best friend and love of her life of 32 years and Felix's incredible dad, Omar passed away on June 24th after a brief, brutal battle with pancreatic cancer. His passing was so peaceful, an incredible gift after so much pain. He was with two of his best friends, Jeremy Ayotte and Peter Brain as they reminisced, showed him photos and shared some laughs. For all who were lucky enough to know him, his generous soul and all out goodness stayed with him to the end.

Omar was born in New Westminster on April 1st, 1970, an April Fool’s baby to Dorothy (nee Stigant) and Ingar Pettersen, joining his beloved big brother Shawn. A move to Salmon Arm later in the year ultimately ended up in Tappen where all four grandparents soon joined them on Cemetery Road, houses side by side. Omar loved his grandparents dearly, with a special place in his heart for his Grandpa Stigant. The positive influence of their closest relatives is probably what helped Omar and Shawn make it through their wild adventurous childhoods relatively unscathed and without lasting injury!

Jane and Omar first met as Grade 8 students at JL Jackson and remained in each other’s orbits as Jane became friends with Shawn’s own soulmate, Anna Gleave. They connected again while all living in Vancouver where Jane and Omar’s life adventure together began in March 1990. They tripped through Europe that very summer and their love of traveling together never waned. A favourite trip to Mexico was the seed of a wonderful tree of friendship with many Down Under, especially “our Aussies” Gus, Andy and Ben.

Part of Omar’s drive to survive was so he could travel again, there were so many destinations, but literally so little time. During Omar’s illness armchair traveling through Youtube helped transport him and Jane and give a glimmer of hope to maybe being able to rebook their 50th birthday trip to Mexico that Covid cancelled but it was not to be.

When Omar and Jane moved to their home on Keefer Street they got their first dog, the incomparable Andie. Their most beloved “foster” puppy, Oscar, joined them for 6 amazing years until he lost his own battle with cancer. Andie soon had another doggy sibling, the fiercely loyal Olive. Hercules, the rescue wiener dog became part of the pack and then there was just Olive after many years and tears. Olive’s world got turned upside down with the addition of Freya, the shepherd, so Olive made way for Sally, the sassy corgi. Omar was a dog guy through and through.

In between one or two of these dogs, the very best thing happened to Omar and Jane and that was the birth of their son Felix in 2008. Omar loved nothing else on earth as much as he loved Felix. Period.

Omar’s career in stucco began in Vancouver where he and Shawn honed their craft together on high rises around the city. Shawn and Omar’s incredible brotherly bond stood them through so much mud slinging over the years and when Omar and Jane moved back to Salmon Arm in 2003, Omar often pined that maybe one day they would work together again in the Interior because Shawn was his favourite stucco partner. Omar joined George Brain & Sons Stucco in 2004 and forged brotherly bonds with brothers Tom and Peter Brain, where Pete became the little brother that Omar never had. It gave Jane great solace to know that Pete, along with best friend Jeremy, was with Omar when he chose to take his last breath.

Moving back to Salmon Arm allowed Omar to spend some great years close to Ingar, before Ingar himself passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2011. Dorothy, after separating from Ingar many years before and living in Vancouver, moved to Belize where Omar, Jane and Felix loved to visit her and where they got officially hitched in February 2013.

With Omar and Jane in Salmon Arm, Jane’s parents Peter and Norma Barton moved back and that was when Peter and Omar’s friendship and love for each other deepened into something truly special, as they golfed endless rounds on the Heritage Course. Always the first ones out, first feet on the greens, it was Omar’s favourite past-time, especially with Peter, and any combo of golf buddies Dennis, Mick, Vince, Rich and Fred and Marilyn along.

Living close to Larch Hills was a boon to Omar and Jane as they both got into x-country skiing and where Omar’s Norwegian heritage shone through. Omar put on so many miles on the trails, one winter going out every day, sometimes even beating dear friend Eileen to be the first one out.

Omar’s love of downhill skiing, learned from Ingar, never stopped and he loved hitting the slopes with his brother-in-law Keith (Leslie Scheibal, nee Barton), where they one time hit an astonishing 130km/h speed run on a perfect grooming day at Silver Star. He was proud that Felix seems to have inherited the gene that makes you point your skis straight downhill.

Though tragically cut short, Omar’s was a life well lived and in his illness and in dying he showed a strength of character beyond measure.

There are many people to thank for Omar’s care, including Dr. Chris Main, nurses Megan, Iris and Omar’s special MJ at the Shuswap Lake General Hospital’s Oncology Clinic. The family would like to give a special thank you to nurse Brandon for his incredible compassion when Omar came into his care. Dr. Kim Grieve deserves a special thank you for her care of Omar and for watching out for Jane and Felix too. A thank you to Dr. Muf Shamshuddin and his team at Pharmasave for their empathy and kindness.

Omar will always be loved and missed by Jane and Felix, his brother Shawn and by his ‘Mommy Mousie’ Dorothy and many other family and friends.

There will be a Celebration of Life for Omar on Saturday, July 9th starting at 2pm at 390 20th Ave SW, Salmon Arm. Family, friends and all who love Omar are invited to share stories, some wine and food and toss a Beersbie frisbee or two.

 


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