Oct 26, 1951 – Apr 9, 2018
Stephen Richard Cudmore was an extraordinary man by any description. Born in Toronto on October 26, 1951, his athletic skill in football and his expertise in the burgeoning audio-video business, brought a recommendation to the Dept. of National Defence, for him to implement A/V programmes in the Canadian military high schools in Germany. Despite being in his early twenties, he accepted both the overseas position, as well as overseeing weekly sport activities for the 400 teenagers at the Baden Youth Centre. But before he left for Europe, he married his sweetheart, Marilyn, on June 23, 1972.
They began an adventurous life, both working in Germany but also travelling most parts of Europe including Russia, in their yellow VW camper van. Once they returned to Canada they chose to relocate to the Vancouver area, where Stephen advanced in the audio-visual field with Sony, JVC and Hitachi. Five children arrived in those busy years and were his utmost joy. He also enjoyed playing baseball in church leagues, coaching little league teams, supporting his children in sport, music, dance, and their entrepreneurial ideas. He connected with community services and communities of faith, renovated homes for friends, and built Marilyn multiple garden structures!
Over their 45 married years they travelled 83 countries and yet he loved his backyard in Sooke the most. He valued trust and honesty and simply believed every problem or relationship could be “fixed”. He forgave generously whether others knew it or not. He was a huge man of solid character. The transition from audio-visual work to his career in the fire/rescue industry was due to a contract with Workmen’s Compensation. As usual he could visualize improvements for the industry. He began a manufacturing company, Airshore International Ltd. where he redesigned pneumatic struts for multiple applications for rescue operations. He was “an engineer without a degree” as his peers tagged him.
Stephen Cudmore was well known as a worldwide expert and became a fire/rescue trainer, called upon worldwide, often linking with the Virginia Beach FEMA team, and other American FEMA teams to assist in their implementation of rescue. He was directly involved in rescue operations at the Oklahoma bombing tragedy, the World Trade Center/Pentagon collapses, the Turkish earthquake, the Las Vegas hotel fire rescue, for example. Yet he rarely spoke of his accomplishments putting awards, medals and certificates into Ziplock bags, relegating them to the back of a drawer. Almost every advanced country worldwide used his rescue methodologies with Airshore products, until he sold the business to an American firm in 2005.
Building houses was both his hobby and his passion. Stephen built several family homes in North Surrey, Fort Langley, White Rock and Abbotsford. In 2013, while Marilyn continued doctoral studies at Royal Roads University, he spotted a property in East Sooke overlooking the ocean. He loved it! This became his masterpiece of design and accomplishment, a West Coast style home supported by a huge red cedar tree. His final project was constructing a Lumon sun room looking south to Whiffen Spit in Sooke. How he loved to sit in that sunroom!
True to his hard working nature, he refused to retire, until a strange weariness overcame him to the point he reluctantly sought medical help at the end of November 2017. In mid December, he was given the grim diagnosis of stage 4 esophageal cancer with only weeks to live yet he faced that news with the same stalwart faith and assurance he always had had. Somehow he made it four months during which he shared many precious moments and conversations with his beloved children, grandchildren and friends, demonstrating his “faith over fear” approach to life and death.
Stephen died at home in the early hours of Monday April 9, 2018, held tightly by his wife of 45 years, Dr. Marilyn Cudmore. Together his children Phillip (Linnea) Cudmore, Melinda (Scott) French, Aindrea Cudmore/ Olafsen, Sharlyn (Chris) Caryula and Gregory (Brigitte) Cudmore gave him unconditional support and care as he transitioned from earth to eternity. His grandchildren, Joshua, Kai, Liam, Ava, Kaleb, Jena, Dylan, Jocelyn, Meleah, Lacey and Matthew remember a wonderful Grandpa who took them fishing, spent time in his workshop building something magical and who hugged them heartily. Their Grandpa now shares a heavenly home with his 10 yr old grandson, Brady French.
A service to remember and to pay tribute to Stephen Cudmore is planned for June 23, 2018, in Langford, B.C. To be advised of service location/times. please leave your contact information with Sharlyn Caryula, [email protected]