I have known Knut Solli for 47 years, that was still too short.
Somebody said: Life is too short. I do not know, I have had a long good life, but when you lose a friend, it still does not seem fair.
I visited last Friday, to take him for a road trip, but he was not feeling well, had not eaten his Meals on Wheels. Did not like them he said, and had cancelled the service.
The week prior he was feeling fine, and two weeks ago I took him on a trip to the bank, visiting a friend Bjorn, and took scenic trip on the way home. I was looking forward to more trips like that with Knut.
I first meet Knut in ’66 when I came to Canada. We went fishing up Squamish and Checamus Rivers, did not catch a lot on that trip, but had a good time camping in the wild.
Knut served in the Norwegian Army, he showed me the pictures again, just recently. He was a master marksman. I later experienced that on many hunting trips. Knut knew how to move in the bush, mountain and forest, keeping downwind from the animals. He was also a great hunting partner, fun at the camp sites, very patient when stalking an animal. He knew what to do, he always had several sharp knives, a large moose was skinned, cut and ready to bring out of the bush in 45 minutes, with no waste.
Capt’n K was his handle on the CB Radio that everybody used at that time. He was also a good fisherman, mostly salmon, lings and cods. Knut had several boats over the years for that purpose. I remember “Salten” and “Pinch”. I fished with him many times, but once, in Porpoise Bay, on his nice wooden boat “Pinch”, just a trip to catch some flounders at Snake Bay. They were plentiful and delicious.
Knut got a strike, we could see right away that it was a large salmon, the way it ran out the line on the surface. He coached it slowly in, several runs, several dives. We saw it in the air once, it was too big for the net, I had to gaffe it. Knut knew how to reel in a big salmon, but he was not sure of me as a gaffer of a large Tyee like this. He instructed me, over and over again, I could not calm him down with my assurances that it was not the first Tyee I had gaffed.
It came to a happy end, the Tyee came along side, I gaffed it with perfect timing and got it on board. He thanked me, and I never forgot, the salmon was 23 lbs., caught on light tackle for fishing flounders. I can not imagine what would have been the result if I screwed up this catch of a lifetime.
Knut was trained as a master cabinet-maker, but did a lot of carpentry work, house building and renovations. When we added a second story to our house on Mission Point, he got the contract to build and do the cabinets. I took a week off, to help. That was a learning experience. The architect had designed an intricate roof structure, a nice bathroom, and an open winding stairway in solid oak, where he really showed off his cabinet making skills.
Knut looked at the drawings, measured and cut the angel on the beams correct every time. But, one day, working on the winding stairway, he told me that it was quitting time, he had to think. The next morning he had the solution, and the stairway is still a piece of art. Some years later I called him, to help move a baby grand piano up the stairway, after all he was a neighbour.
He said no, no, no, do not carry a piano up that winding stairway, it will collapse, human traffic only. We got a mobile crane that lifted it up to the balcony, and rolled in in from there, no problem, thanks to Knut.
Knut got in on the fish farm gold rush at the start. He had the first large farm, on the south side going up Sechelt Inlet. He built the floats, the house and the storage sheds himself, one on the nicest and cleanest farms in the Inlet. At this time in 1988 there were 56 farms and they produced a total 3.000 tons that year. Then the boom was over, alge blooms wiped some out, the big corporations bought out the small individuals, and Knut sold to Aquarius Sea Farms, at the right time, some cash, some shares. He kept the shares for his retirement, that was a mistake, he should have sold them immediately, but he did not regret this business venture.
God bless you Knut, we will meet at the final hunting and fishing grounds.
The only picture I could find right now is taken in “66 at the Squamish River bank, I have the the bigger hat.
A celebration of life will be held for Knut on Friday July 26 at 1 p.m.
at Calvary Chapel Sunshine Coast in Davis Bay.
Notes for an Eulogy for my friend Knut Solli – from Oddvin
Knut Erling Solli was born in Norway June 23, 1940. He served in the Norwegian Army, and had honours’ for being a marksman. He moved to Canada in 1965. Knut met Lauralee in Vancouver and got married there. They moved to Sechelt in 1975 and Knut built their house in Davis Bay, living in his camper while building. Lauralee passed away in 1991
They had 3 children, two of them here today, Karen McGee with husband Michael, and grandchildren Emily and Lucas, and the youngest daughter Ann-Marie with Delany. His son Karl Earl passed away in Norway by an accidents at a young age. That affected Knut for the rest of his life.
His second wife Erlinda passed away just this May. She had her five children, and especially the youngest Rodel was to Knut like his own son, a special bond between them.
Knut completed training back home as cabinet maker, and became a very skilled one. But much of his work was to be carpentry, to me a great shame, like a brain surgeon doing regular doctors work.
While building a second storey to our house, he measured and cut all the intricate angel of the roof beams, one mark, one cut, amazing, they all fit correctly. He also built a winding solid oak stair way that my ex-wife Gila still remembers fondly. Built and finished as the finest piece of furniture would be.
Sport fishing was Knut’s favourite past time. Myself, and all the others he would take along fishing on his boat, learned a lot from his skills. But he was firm when it came to proper gear, bait and especially when landing a fish. This was not fun and games, this was food for the family, and his way of doing was right.
Hunting trips was the same way. We could have fun at the campsite at night, but from early morning until the moose was parted and wrapped in the back of the pick-up, it was hunting the way it should be, food for the family.
Knut was always happy, at least outwards, I never saw him down, never had to comfort or confront him. Even when stopped for a driving offence, the one cop I knew said Knut was smiling and friendly, no hard feelings at all. The cop felt sorry for stopping this happy man.
He was one of the pioneers of the fish farming gold rush , built all the floats and houses himself, did as good job as any could do, he loved the sea life. He sold out at the top of the boom, for cash and shares in a large stock market company.
I have not meet one man that did not like Knut, or the work he did, or what he charged for his work. That says something, a life-long carrier without complaints, and now leaving, way too early, with family and friends missing him.
He used to quote an Old Norwegian poem, but I cannot remember it. But one of his sayings was: “I am over here: You are over there”. I still not sure what he meant, if there was to be a meaning at all.
God bless you Knut, we will meet soon, over there!
As I can reflect over the loss of a good friend and a good man, I will update this.