Truckers hold memorial parade for beloved Squamish couple who died from COVID-19
VANCOUVER – A husband-and-wife trucker couple from Squamish, married for 54 years, have died from COVID-19.
With public health restrictions not allowing for a large funeral, the community paid tribute to the couple with a truck rally on Saturday afternoon.
Harvey “Merrill” Ross and Gail Ross were truly inseparable. Gail died at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver on May 5, and just 17 hours later, on May 6, Merrill passed away.
“They never wanted to be without the other,” says their son Scott Ross.
Originally from Prince Edward Island, Merrill and Gail moved to Squamish in 1969 with their two children. Soon after, they had two more children. Merrill was a fixture in Squamish’s logging and construction industry. He has driven logging and gravel trucks for decades.
According to their obituary, Gail was very involved in the community and volunteered for several youth sports organizations in Squamish. Both worked in the trucking industry until one day they were hospitalized with COVID-19.
The memorial, organized by JR Transport, attracted a massive turnout of trucks and tractors. Almost 100 truckers looped over Squamish and along Highway 99 for two hours, honking their horns along the way. Dozens of spectators watched and waved from the sidewalks as the large trucks rolled by.
“They meant to a lot of people,” Scott says. “They have been here for a long time and it shows.”
A tray carrying Merrill’s gravel truck led the procession, draped in a commemorative banner showing three photos of the couple and their family. Alan, Merrill and Gail’s son, says his parents never liked being the center of attention so if they were alive to see the rally they wouldn’t be in awe.
“They would think it’s way too complicated for them,” he said. “But they’re really worth it.”
The convoy ended at Squamish Dryland Sort, where the couple were kicked out with a 30-second honk, followed by a moment of silence.
Merrill, 76, and Gail, 73, leave behind four children and seven grandchildren. The Ross family is asking for donations to be made to the BC SPCA in their honor.