Leonard N.J. Bjola (July 06, 1932 - May 04, 2016)


The wreck of the Hesperus has sailed his last voyage at 83 years. In the past 10 years, Len, the toughest man we know, broke countless ribs, ripped his bicep, snapped his femur (the snow) replaced both knees (arthritis) broke his arm, broke his wrist, broke his neck (we called him bobble head), Staph infection in his spine (bad luck), dislocated his shoulder, replaced his hip (arthritis), Staph in his leg (Bad luck again), separated his shoulder again, and suffered organ failure. The final straw was a double break of his femur.

His standard response: "I feel like the Wreck of the Hesperus".

Unable to rally after the last surgery, Len passed peacefully to the bottom of the sea. He was the toughest, meanest, most stubborn, nicest, hardest working, most dedicated man around. Dedicated to his family, often working 3 jobs to make ends meet, always there to help, support, scorn, scold, push, pull, drag, encourage, and scare the crap out of most, but a teddy bear to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

His motto's in life - "if a jobs worth doing, it's worth doing well".

"Why hire a machine when you can do it by hand".

"Those that think they know it all, really annoy those of us that do".

His life was simple - work hard: and his life was well rounded.

- 60 years a dedicated father, proudest moment(s): Being a provider.

- Driving at the age of 13, when he applied for his driver's test he showed up driving a 5 ton grain truck: lots of stories about life on the farm.

- Active service in the 
Korean war as a ships gunner (no stories - ever).

- 27 years in the Navy as a Physical Education Instructor (Drill sergeant): proudest moment - as a leader in the 1967 Gun Run Tattoo and many stories - most notable, his trainees (victims) of 40 years ago still call to say hi.

- 17 years operating the Sooke Arena, proudest moments - a staff of 4 doing the work of 15, and his world famous hand built beautiful wood bleachers.

- 10 year volunteer at Metchosin Golf Club - proudest moment - his team of volunteers.

- Len lived for his family, his bride Anita of 63 years, his predeceased daughter Laurie (Chris, Alexandria, Andrew, Amanda, Ava), his son Les (Diane, Kelsey, Chris), his daughter Jodie (Mike) and his daughter Sandy (Jeff, Jena, Jonathon) and the many brothers, sisters and family back east.

He was an amazing individual, excelling in sports, never afraid to tackle any project - (the plan is in my head, why can't you follow it?) and always ready to step up. Quick with a retaliatory prank and one who never suffered fools gladly, Len will have the ocean ship shape in no time.

No service by request.

Raise your glass and salute a Proud Navy Veteran.

Friends are welcome on Sunday, May 15, 2016 from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. at Anita's home to share a Celebration of Len's life. Heartfelt thanks to all the staff at VGH for the wonderful care during Dad's many visits. Len will spend the rest of time at God's Acre Cemetery at Gorge Vale.