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Herb Couch

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Herb Couch

Date of Death: March 25, 2019


Herb Couch (May 7,1948 – March 25, 2019)


The Couch family is heartbroken to find themselves needing to announce the passing of their beloved father and husband, Herb Couch. Herb passed away from the effects of an aggressive glioblastoma brain tumour on March 25, 2019 at the age of 70.

Herb was born in Nelson and was raised in Vancouver where he attended Lord Byng Secondary School and then UBC where he trained to be a teacher. He taught grades 2 and 3 in Prince Rupert for two years before returning to Nelson. He spent 29 years teaching in Nelson/Kootenay Lake school district. He was a strong advocate for his union and held the position of bargaining chair for many years.

Herb was an advocate for many social justice causes. Among them were: the preservation of Red Sands Beach, Proportional Representation, Occupy, the environment, and gay pride, among others.

He maintained a 50 year passionate advocacy for cannabis legalization. He was a founding member of the Canadian Media Awareness Project which passed news items about cannabis on to their members across Canada while encouraging members to write letters to the editors. He inspired many to write. He was also the SensibleBC coordinator for the West Kootenays and the Western Canada director for Educators for Sensible Drug Policy.

Herb is survived by his wife Kathy, his daughter Diana, sons Danny, Jesse (Jacqueline), Paul (Brianne) and David, grandchildren Jason and Juliet, brother Don Couch (Pat) and sister Sharon Olsen. He also leaves numerous nieces,nephews and in-laws to mourn his passing.

A Celebration of his Life will be held on May 11, from 2-5 pm at the Prestige Lakeside Resort in Nelson. Everyone welcome. A microphone will be set up for people to speak if they wish to say a few words.


Send a condolence, light a candle and/or share a memory, click "Send Condolence". Once your message has been approved by the moderator it will be posted to the website.

From: Thompson Funeral Services Ltd.

Thompson Funeral Service Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Arlene McMillin and Michael McMillin
Relation: years of connection through SD 7/8 and Oso

I was shocked to learn of Herb’s passing. First met him in 1978 at NDTA meetings in Nelson. A speaker that one could learn from. Friendly, outgoing, informative. We will miss not seeing him, with Kathy, at Oso. Blessings to his family and friends.

From: Lois Lawrence
Relation: Colleague

Herb was my colleague at Brent Kennedy Elementary in the wonderful collegial days of Teaching for Thinking and such. He ensured that his grade one students had good manners, as he did — gentleman that he was. In a knowledgeable and articulate way he stood up for our teachers association which was especially appreciated when the mood of the government seemed adversarial. Other local causes benefited from these same skills and Herb’s calm persistence. It’s hard not to feel sad now when I think of Herb and Kathy.

From: Theresa Thomas
Relation: I knew Herbie at Queen Elizabeth Elementary School. We were friends until Junior High when way back then, the girls and boys were separated and all my good friends from elementary school became inaccessible to me. Of course, you will easily find Herbie in the 2nd row from the back, 4th from right. I am front row far right. sorry, it is a .pdf; maybe someone from the Byng facebook group can forward it from there.

Dear Family of Herb,
Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your husband, father and grandfather. Your description of Herb’s life sounds like he continued to be a caring and sensitive guy, thoughtful and wanting to effect change. From me, I always remember Herbie with a smile on my face and an opened heart. I wish you a path of ease and love as his spirit leaves this world. I am sure he will be with you in many gentle ways over the coming months. Sending Love, Theresa

From: Bob McLure
Relation: Herb was a Nelson teaching colleague.

Kathy, I was so sorry to read in the post forwarded to me by Frances Welwood of Herb’s passing. Although often unrecognized Herb was a leader in so many ways. He was one of the first males in BC to teach Kindergarten and at DESK. At DESK his innovative ideas for encouraging correspondence students to ‘stick with it’ inspired all his colleagues. He and I enjoyed much jousting of ideas but our friendship never waned. I’m sure he was a fighter for his beliefs as long as he was able.

From: Mary Defeo
Relation: Community fan

I am so sorry to hear of Herb’s passing. I remember well the time on the picket line and many other times listening to a vast range of stories that were always enlightening and entertaining. I am so sorry for your loss, I know he will be missed.

From: Carol Tett
Relation: Friend

Sending heartfelt condolences to Kathy and the couch family ,we were deeply saddened to hear about Herb’s illness and his passing away.
Tony will miss seeing Herb at Oso Negro when visiting from Australia, he enjoyed catching up over a coffee..
Our sons remember his humour, patience and his coaching skills.

From Australia, the Tett family , Tony Carol Ben Shelby

From: Don Couch
Relation: Brother

May 11, 2019
Hello, I’m Don, Herb’s little brother. We also have a big sister, Sharon, who couldn’t make it today. There is now a ‘huge’ hole between my sister and me with Herb’s passing.
We miss our brother.
Herb was born May 7, 1948 here in Nelson, a true early baby boomer. He would have been 71 years young today. Herb was named after our father, Herbert George Couch. This was a start of things between Herb and me. Herb got our dad’s first name and I got Dad’s second name as my middle name.
Growing up with my big brother was never easy. He loved WWF Wrestling and practised beating me up with Full and Half Nelsons, the Deadly Claw an then the mighty Body Slam way too frequently. Our mother would yell, stop hurting poor Donnie!
For Christmas I would get a six shooter with caps while Herb got the Rifleman’s rifle shooting plastic bullets. Herb stretched the wire springs so the projectiles would hurt more. You know who the target was, me!
Herb and I spent our early days avoiding our sister who, with her friends would want to dress us up in frilly outfits. Definitely, not Herb. Rather Herb with little brother in tow would sneak out with a hatchet, nails and hammer down the block to Vancouver’s and UBC’s Endowment Lands to cut down trees to build bush forts and tree houses. We had a great life together with me following and getting in the way of Herb and his friends.
Herb was a superior athlete. He was a little league and Babe Ruth Vancouver City MVP, pitching and batting champion. He was scouted by the Chicago Cubs. Our mother wouldn’t let him go for try outs as Chicago was too far away. Herb was a baseball fanatic and I’m sure he still has his card collection (and mine) in the basement somewhere. Herb invented a baseball card game that that occupied many hours as statistics was his strength with his photographic memory. Herb was also a superstar basketball player on the Lord Byng High School famed Grey Ghosts playing in the provincial championships. Herb payed forward and I was a guard. We played together only a few times during the school’s annual home coming and graduation games. These are still very strong memories setting picks and Herb’s accurate jump shot.
We played roller hockey by the hour, me in goal and Herb peppering me with shots to the head.
There was another and very sensitive side to Herb. In a story written by our sister Sharon.
Dad went hunting one day and brought home a duck for dinner. Herb carried that limp dead duck around petting it all day long. Herb then wanted to catch a bird to show his hunting prowess too. He set about to build a trap. The trap was a wooden box with a stick holding it up and a trip string leading up to the porch. He saw a robin go in the box and then he pulled the string. Unfortunately, he got the robin on the neck and killed it. He carried the dead bird around for hours and cried. What a sweetheart!

Herb was the perfect big brother, he made me tough for the school yard and pushed me at all the various and many sports we played growing up in Vancouver.

Our dad, unfortunately, passed away when we were very young, and Herb became the “man” in our house. He bought me my first jock strap for soccer, rugby and basketball, and a razor when the peach fuzz showed up. He showed me how to tie my converse all-star basketball shoes so they would stay tight, he taught me to play pool until our mother bought a pool table to keep us out of the “pool hall”, and he bought me a few beers when the drinking age was still 21.

As our mother was fond of saying, the best thing that ever happened was Herb meeting Kathy. He never looked back.

Herb and Kathy’s surprise wedding was a story, let’s just say they got married and then came back to the family home to tell everyone the good news. The family was excited, and a neighbourhood party was on. I was glad to arrive in time from an isolated logging camp for the hastily arranged wedding cake. Everyone was so proud that Herb and Kathy had made the big decision. It was quite the surprise.

Off to Prince Rupert to his first teaching assignment. A quick story from old friends Bob and Naidene Shannon, another basketball and sport enthusiast.

“Naidene taught with Herb for two years at Kanata Elementary School in Prince Rupert. Herb was the Learning Assistant at the school. Always casual with long, long hair and long beard. Herb was very calm with all the kids at the school. One day when Naidene was the acting principal, this strange fellow came into the office and stated that he was there as a Teacher on Call for Herb Couch. His name was Mr. MacGillicuddy. She felt something was weird but could not put her finger on just what it was.
This fellow had very short hair and was clean shaven. He was dressed to the nines in a pin stripe suit. She took him to Herbs area and he settled in for the day. He joined the staff at recess and at noon striking up several conversations. At the end of the day Mr. MacGillicuddy came into her office, whipped off the wig….guess who…Herb had the entire staff and the students bamboozeld for the entire day.

He was always up the something. Great guy. Sadly missed.”

From these early glimpses of Herb’s life, he became, despite me and our sister, what most of you know today as a caring person, my big brother Herb. A sensitive person wanting to support the little guy and their cause.

To Kathy, Danny, Jessie, Paul, David, Diana and your families:

I know you all will miss your husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather. My sister and I miss him too as the hole between us will never be filled. Thank you for hosting all of us today.

From my sister, Sharon and her family (one of her daughters and grand son are here today), from my wife Pat, our sons Christopher and Brodie (who is also here with us) and their families:

We all share in your disbelief and sorrow; we all wish we could have done more as Herb was way too young to leave you and still had too many more causes to support.

From our deceased mother, thank you Kathy for being there for Herb all those long years ago.

As for me, I can say my heart breaks with condolences,

Thank you

Service Schedule

  Celebration of Life

Date & Time:
May 11, 2019
Beginning at 2:00pm

Prestige Lakeside Resort

A Celebration of his Life will be held on May 11, from 2-5 pm at the Prestige Lakeside Resort in Nelson. Everyone welcome. A microphone will be set up for people to speak if they wish to say a few words.

Memorial Gifts

The family has not designated a preferred charity at this time.

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