Capp Candler

From the Gabriola Sounder Island Life

(an island off of Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Michael Candler of Gabriola Island, age 47, died peacefully at home on October 5th, 1998, surrounded by his friends and loved ones. He had lived with cancer since his diagnosis in January of this year, cared for at home by his loving partner Deborah Blake, his father Irv from Texas, his many friends, devoted Gabriola Home Support workers and hospice volunteers.

Michael was a well-known nonviolent activist with a lifelong commitment to social responsibility and peace. In recent years he served as the Coordinator of the Nanaimo Nonviolence Society, a non-profit agency he helped to found in 1990 to counsel men involved in family violence.

Prior to Coordinating the Nonviolence Society, Michael was for several years the Coordinator of the Nanoose Conversion Campaign, a group focusing opposition to weapons testing by US nuclear powered warships at Nanoose Bay. He was also a longtime member of Amnesty International and an outspoken advocate of human rights.

Although born in the United States, Michael grew up from early childhood in Saudi Arabia where his father worked for a US oil company. Michael often spoke of his dislocation, growing up between Saudi Arabia and the USA, and his growing alienation from the militaristic policies of his homeland. He was fascinated by the Middle East its people, its history, its landscapes and its conflicts. He went on to specialize in Middle Eastern Studies at Oregon State University. After three years teaching school in the USA, he returned to Saudi Arabia to work six years as a financial plannerfor an oil company. Michael eventually left the Gulf and came to Canada where he became a landed immigrant, moving to Gabriola Island in 1984.

Michael's openness and inclusiveness helped to create a community of friends on Gabriola and Vancouver Island, and a network of activists in peace, human rights and social justice. King, Ghandi and Einstein were among his models. He was a pacifist, feminist and co-being with all on this planet. A committed vegetarian, Michael managed to live lightly on the earth, owning few belongings beyond his basic needs. He took time to appreciate the passage of time, giving his energy generously to friends and the community.

On Gabriola, Michael served as the Chairperson of the Gulf Islands Committee, a group formed to focus opposition to a potential bridge and mainland Ferry terminal on the island while in Nanaimo he spoke widely on peace, human rights, and gender issues to community groups. Ironically, despite Michael's widespread community involvement, he had a lingering sense of homelessness and unease stemming from his early years of dislocation. Only in recent years had Michael found a new stability and sense of home on Gabriola.

Although the last months of physical struggle were challenging, Michaels sense of humour was never far from the surface, lightening the burden for his caregivers. Debbie has asked that we acknowledge the kindness of hospice volunteer Barbara Allan, the newly developed palliative care team at the Nanaimo Hospital, especially Dr. Love and the help of Dr. Marshall on Gabriola.

His example, his inspiration and his love have had a lasting impact on all who knew him and made the world a better place.

In Lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to:
Nanaimo Nonviolence Society
76 Bastion St., Nanaimo, BC V9R3A1

Contributed by Alan Wilson