Remembering Owen Thomas Lightly
His flashing eyes and quick and dry humour, his humbling presence and unassuming way: he was one of those humans you just wanted to be around.
Owen was raised by family and community of Gabriola Island, located on the West coast of BC. A mentor and neighbour of his recorded these pieces in memory of Owen. For those who know, know: growing up on a small gulf island of BC is a unique, challenging, beautiful, dark, and light experience. Owen emerged from Gabriola as young man hungry for adventure, developing deep sense of perspective with a sensitive gulf island heart.
He came of age in Nanaimo BC, and at the age of 20, started working towards establishing himself in his career as a Vancouver chef. Many stories then to follow of sweat, tears, kitchen culture, songwriting, beach guitar, fine dining, writing, staff meals, heartbreaks, testing the waters, and diving in. By the age of 30, not only was he known as a local writer and up-and-coming chef, he was also known as a loyal friend and deeply creative role model. He met many wonderful, like-minded people and his community was growing. His journey was still just beginning when he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at the age of 31.
Owen passed away on May 29th, 2014, two days before his 32nd birthday. The family and community around him continue to remember his sweet smile, his passion, and all the little things that are distinctly "him" by listening to his music and/or music that he loved, cooking his recipes and eating the food he would have loved. He continues to inspire us to take time to enjoy the good things in life. His motto: choose joy.
Here is a piece I recorded soon after he passed away. I wasn't able to speak at his celebration of life gathering - it was much too hard for me to do so. But I offer it in order to share a small piece of vulnerability with you. Owen is dearly missed.