Jean Speare
Jean Speare
Jean Speare
Jean Speare
Jean Speare
Jean Speare

Obituary of Jean Emma Speare

The Family of Jean Emma Speare regret to announce her passing on December 30, 2022.

A service and or gathering will be held in the summer and will be announced at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Jean’s memory to the Quesnel SPCA, 1000 Carson Pit Road, Quesnel, B.C. V2J7H2


Jean was delivered by Dr. G.R. Baker at the Quesnel hospital on July 17, 1921 to Robert and Jane Barlow of Kersley. The Barlows adopted a son (Jerry) in 1929. It was here she spent her younger years on the farm and got her education at the Sisters Creek School.  She married A.M. (Mac) Grady and was stationed during the war on Vancouver Island at Coal Harbour, the RCAF base. Robert (Robin) was born in Vancouver, and the family returned to the Cariboo to Wells, where Mac worked for the Cariboo Gold Quartz. Heather was born at the Wells hospital. Jean and Mac were involved with many town functions mainly with the Wells Ski Club and Wells Rod and Reel Club.   


Jean was not one to let grass to grow underfoot. She spent many a day, or more, canoeing the Bowron Lake circuit, mainly the West side where a cabin was built at Unna (Grizzly) Lake. She bought an 18 ft square stern freighter canoe,so could use a 5hp outboard, which made for more time at the cabin. When not canoeing, the packs were thrown on for hiking the alpine peaks and trails beyond Barkerville. Elk Mtn cabin (Cloud Inn) was the designation of most hikes. These treks were not only in summer, but in winter she skied on the same trails and local ski hills.  This little cabin was inherited from the miners who left it to us to maintain, and it still stands after 80 plus years and has had enjoyed many weekends with friends and family.


The family eventually moved to Quesnel where Mac worked for the B.C. Power Commission. Jean married WC (Bill) Speare and lived in various places, Williams Lake, North Vancouver, England, Quesnel and finally Bouchie Lake. Her last four years she resided at Maeford Place in town. Jean worked wherever she was living; grocery stores, post office, newspapers and hospitals as a Medical Records Librarian.


In Jean’s “spare” time she kept busy writing many short stories. She published five books and reams and reams of poetry. There was always a poem to explain everything from a ”Vesper Moon” to “Squirrel Stew”. She also somehow found time to paint abundant scenery and memories.  Her love of animals and dogs, hers, and any dog that knew a good thing was always included as family.


“She had it all.”  And leaves us all so much.


Jean leaves her family:


Robert and Loretta Grady,

Ian and Andrea Grady, Adison, Hudson and Reid

Alison Grady and Dave Nestel, Wyatt

Heather Grady and Mike Howard,

Colin and Karen Keis, Ryan, Ava

Randelle Langevin, Emma, Jessica

April and Dan Moi, Joey, Dusty and Maria, Evan, Camille

Dana Speare and Michelle, Erica, Tianna, Sally


Here are some poems written by Jean:

The Grave on the Hill


The grave on the hill

            Is still.


It is the song of the wind,

The accent of night,

The sob of the rain,

The hush of the snow.


It is the pulse of time


            It is yours,

            It is mine….


The grave on the hill.





How steep the hills of heather are spread before the eye

Between the twisted, stunted spruce and snows abreast the sky;

With smouldering abandon that blooms from here to yon,

The purple of the heather meets to golden of the dawn.


How old the rocks and ridges that lead up to the peaks

Where centuries sit listening as an ageless aeon speaks!

And here the trails and crevices are intertwined with frills

Of the young white heather in the old grey hills.


Sweet the winds that sing of spring and cold the winds of snow –

But the heather spins a magic as the seasons come and go.

And I wander upward from a world of green and brown

To where the purple heather sees a crimson sun go down




Always before me I like to see

Tracks that will tell me just where you’ll be.

So much the better, this will I say –

The flash of your jacket not far away.


The broad lips of snowshoes pressed to the snow,

Steady in measure take me where you go.

Through the darkest of woods, the going is fine,

If I follow the blaze on the white flesh of pine.


And stream-threaded lakes with dusk in their eyes

Search for our coming, your paddle replies.

A thousand thrills haunt me and line up the trail

That you carved with your skis in the swirl of a gale.


Yet always, I notice, as far as we roam,

The trail takes a bend to the place we call home.

We seek beds of pine in the fire-lit way

And plan for the trail we will follow next day.




It makes a happy cabin

To have rucksacks piled about,

Or hanging from the main-beam

With contents lolling out,

It makes a happy cabin

When it belongs to you

With its familiar worn-out places

That tag it, “far from new”


Some are big and clumsy

While some are small and neat;

Sometimes a brawny packboard

Commands those ‘round hid feet’

The veterans tell the young ones

How their canvas skins were grimed –

Of alpine trails they have swept down

Or glaciered mountains climbed.


For they are just part of the team

Whose shoulder bear the frame,

And so they share full memories

Of the mountaineering game.

It makes a happy cabin

When six or eight or more

Ski up and pile the rucksacks

Inside the cabin door.



The bow is pointing westward on cold Lanezi Lake,

And glacier-crested mountains are writhing in the wake

Still high above their bonded brows

Are looming grim and strong –

And the world can move her cargoes

In little crafts along.


The bow is pointing westward where the points recede in blue;

Where the hills are steeply rounded and the wind goes rushing through.

Behind, the peaks are glowing

With a sweep of alpine light,

And the pass of day means nothing more

Than deepening of night.


The bow is pointing westward in strange reluctance cast

And the motor’s song is coming back in echoes clear and fast

Yet hardly have those echoes spent

Themselves on wings of space

Than the bow has changed its homing course

For an east wind in its face.