(Clarke Gourlay/Facebook)

The founder of Little Qualicum Cheeseworks and a Nanaimo regional director, Clarke Gourlay, passed away in a hiking accident on Saturday, June 29th.

His death was announced on the Facebook page Little Qualicum Cheeseworks and MooBerry Winery on Monday, July 1st.

According to the post, 55-year-old Clarke Gourlay died while hiking in Strathcona park, “where he loved to pursue his passion for mountaineering”.

He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Nancy, his mother Dorothy, his sons Kevin, John, and Raymond (& Rebecca), and his grandchildren Kieran and Dahlia.

His last expedition

Gourlay was a long-time member of local mountaineering club, Island Mountain Ramblers, whose president issued a message to members upon Gourlay’s passing.

“With a heavy heart I write to tell you that over the weekend, while on a club trip to Mount Donner, we lost long-time club member Clarke Gourlay,” writes club president, Matthew Lettington.

“While route-finding in foul weather he found himself off-route, Clarke slipped as he attempted to downclimb some wet fourth-class terrain. With the height of the fall, and the resulting tumble down steep terrain, he died without suffering.”

Anyone who would like to pay their respects is invited to an open memorial service for Gourlay being held on Friday, July 5th at 10 a.m., at the family farm in Parksville (403 Lowrys Rd).

Instead of flowers, the family asks that attendees make a donation to the Campbell River Search and Rescue at this link.

Eighteen years ago a man with an enormous vision and a wild dream decided to start a business in an industry he knew…

Posted by Little Qualicum Cheeseworks on Monday, July 1, 2019

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