Larger than life and dramatically unforgettable, Al Perrett left this life on February 1, 2021, from Royal Inland Hospital, at the age of 82, for the great hereafter which, we expect, will continue to include many loyal friendships, positivity, enthusiasm, exuberance, generosity and, of course, skiing and motorcycles!
Related to skiing, Al, in the mid 1950's, without having had any training in racing, competed on Mount Seymour in the Vancouver high school skiing championships. Al was the only entrant from his school, King Edward. Although he didn't have much in the way of equipment or ski clothing, his enthusiasm and determination attracted the attention of other racers. He was invited to join their ski racing club. His saying "yes" marked a turning point in his life and in the lives of the club members. Al had a new focus, and the club members gained a life-long friend, someone with boundless enthusiasm and a generosity, friendliness and openness that few had encountered. Al became a fixture in the group, a good friend to all and a constant source of inspiration.
After just a few years of racing, although having had no formal coaching, Al caught the attention of the Canadian National Ski Team, which sent him to Europe to race against the world's best alpine skiers. Unfortunately, after only two weeks, he suffered an ankle injury and was released from training.
Al was not about to give up on this great European opportunity and just go home. Being Al, he turned this into a great new adventure. He somehow picked up a motorcycle and went travelling. Along the way, he came across a multi-day cross-country motorcycle race which he entered, sore ankle and all. This may have been the beginning of one of his favourite sayings, "Pain is my friend". He would tell us, if he was feeling pain, he knew he was still alive.
Quite by chance, Al bumped into a member of his regular ski group who was off on his own European experience. Together, they went to Pamplona, had a wonderful time and, of course, ran with the bulls! The friend unfortunately became ill and went to England for treatment. Al followed, made regular hospital visits all the while the friend was recovering from hepatitis and then helped him get back on his feet. Al never lacked compassion, generosity and possessed an innate willingness to help.
In the 1960s, a number of Al's ski group went to spend a ski season at Queenstown, New Zealand. On landing in NZ, they found themselves (burdened with a huge mound of luggage and skis) outside the quay on a very busy street. They knew where they wanted to go but had no idea as to how to get there. Al spotted a small panel van coming down the street, walked out into the traffic, waved down the van and talked the driver into taking the group to its destination, gear and all. Al could “connect” with people in an instant.
In addition to many more wonderful stories, Al taught for a season in Davos, Switzerland, was coach of the Alberta junior ski team for a season and, in the late 1960's, was coach of the Whistler Mountain junior ski team.
And, throughout his skiing years, Al always had a grand time skiing with his children and grandchildren.
Al's other love, motorcycles, began when he was age fourteen. After having been given a ride on a 250 BSA, he was hooked. He thought motorcycles were awesome.
Al had worked as an iron worker and had some "near-misses". Think, Second Narrows Bridge. Looking for a less perilous line of endeavour, he went to work with his brother, Jon, as a plumber. Al and Jon always had a very close relationship but, after eight or nine months, he let Jon know, "I don't think this is going to work out for me." Jon kindly suggested, because of Al's adeptness at such, he go into repairing motorcycles.
So, in 1966, Al borrowed $4000 from the bank, bought five Suzukis from Trev Deeley, and opened a small shop in Richmond. It didn’t take long before he moved to larger quarters selling Yamahas. Money was tight but Al bought out Tyne Side Repairs, a long-time established dealership. This purchase was a great move as he had truck loads of parts for sale and was soon able to pay off the bank as well as Deeley's for the purchase of motorcycles. He was even able to move to a larger location.
In 1972, Al sold his Yamaha shop and moved to Kamloops, starting Kamloops Honda.
One of Al’s best business decisions was taking on a Harley-Davidson franchise in 1977. He developed a very successful business in spite of a devastating fire in 1986. Their HOG chapter raised huge funds for Muscular Dystrophy and donated many gifts and cash to charities in the community.
Al's "do business on a handshake" reputation was such that, people would travel from far away just to do business with him.
Through it all, Al took out time to race motorcycles.
Dan Amor talked Al into going to the Six Days Trials in Italy in 1974 and over the next decade he won several medals. In 1990, Al rode in his first Baja 1000, "the Most Dangerous Race in North America", and finished! He was hooked! He competed in 17 Baja races with different teammates over the years, winning class age 50 and 60 numerous times.
As for being the most dangerous race in North America, during one race, Al was riding the night-time leg. Suddenly, in the dark, loomed a cow. Al survived the crash; the cow did not. Al did see the inside of a hospital in more than one country.
Related to Al's racing in Bahia de los Angeles, Baja Mexico, Al so loved the people and the location, he bought property there in 2005 and built a house. Over the years, he met many wonderful friends and developed beautiful relationships in the community. Al made annual trips there to ride, fish and enjoy the life.
Al's motorcycle racing took him to varied destinations, from the ultra-dangerous Isle of Man TT, to our local Westwood.
He won four National Cross Country Championships in the 1980's and 90's.
Al was inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame on November 17, 2018 at its 13th Annual Banquet and Reunion at the Delta Hotels Burnaby Conference Centre.
There is no end to anecdotes which feature Al Perrett as the main character. Everyone who knew him has a different “favourite story”. Or three!
Al Perrett, it has been a great honour and an endless pleasure to call you “friend”!
Al is survived by the mother of his children and lifelong friend Shirley Perrett, four children and eight grandchildren. Guy Perrett (Barb), Magnus, Xavier; Renee Bucknell, Elizabeth, Ella; Jane Perrett, Travis, David; Andrea Perrett (James Huser), Pierce, Roko.
He also leaves behind his beloved brother Jon (Eva) Perrett, sisters Gail Robb and Linda Sysoloff and their families. As well as many, many friends all over the globe.
Al is predeceased by his father Emery Perrett, his mother Helen Blythe (Perrett), and his sister Rosemary Bryan.
Our family would like to thank the Royal Inland Hospital Cancer Clinic, Dialysis Clinic, and the Community Dialysis Center for their outstanding and compassionate service. Al frequently praised the quality of care he received.
If you would like to pay tribute to Al’s life please consider a donation to the BC Cancer Foundation, the Canadian Kidney Foundation or the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation.
A celebration of life will be held when it is safe to do so. Please stay tuned…
A special note: Al, many times, gave loving thanks for his mother's positive and supportive attitude.
Al will live in the hearts of those who in these unfortunate times greet him farewell... Having met him in 1999 on one of his many Baja 1000 participations. We became friends and up to this very day I haven't seen anyone with such passion for life like that of his... Always with that trademark smile of his overflowing with a contagious happiness... And a story to tell with no lack of details. 'til forever, my friend.
Jon Shirley and all the kids. I never heard Al say anything but positive things about all of you. My condolences to you all. I miss him and will continue to miss him. In time all our memories of Al will bring big smiles,not as big as Al's smile though. If there is anything that I can do please call on me.
Al was special. He was a pleasure to be around and it was a real honour to be part of his world. He was a very principled and trusting person as part of being positive about life and people. I will miss him and I am thinking of Andrea, Guy, Janie, Renee and Shirley. Condolences to them and also to his brother Jon.
To Shirley, Rene and All the Family We are so sorry to hear of the lose of Al. We know your wonderful memories will bring tears now. But those same memories will bring smiles and laughter forever. Our deepest sympathy Howard and Linda Shannon Howard and Linda Shannon ❤️❤️❤️
I first met Al in 1958 when I raced for Mt.Seymour, then saw him again in 1959 when we both made the National Ski team, he was everyone’s friend and kept everyone’s spirits high. Our thoughts are with you Shirley and family at this sad time.
To Shirley, Rene and All the Family We are so sorry to hear of the lose of Al. We know your wonderful memories will bring tears now. But those same memories will bring smiles and laughter forever. Our deepest sympathy Howard and Linda Shannon ❤️❤️❤️
We are so sorry to hear of Al’s passing. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy are with you, Shirley, and the family. My fondest memory of Al is when I was a young girl he would tease me saying “beep beep, I’m a jeep”! I carried this forward, teasing our daughters when they were young.
From the time of having first met him on Grouse Mountain around 1960, to his being the best man at our wedding in 1969, to his attending the celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary, Al, with his never-ending display of enthusiasm, was a star fixture in the lives of our whole family! When Al was in the group, it seems, the ordinary could quite often became an adventure.
Larger than life is right! Sending loads of love to Shirley and family. Xoxoxoxoxoxo
Al a great mentor to so many people, Al took me to a race in 1978 in his race van Al played cassette tape of how to be a champion. Alan Perrett a Champion of Legends let the spirit live
Hard to believe that the phonecall on new yearsday was the last conversation we had with our oldest “brother”, a over 40 years of true friendship came to an end but I am sure hé is riding dirtbikes with Dan,Paul and our brother Keimpe somewhere. Thanks Al for all the time we spend with you and your family. Our condoleances to the whole Perrett family
Larger than life is how we would call Al. We met many times over the years skiing and motorcycling. We will never forget introducing him to the Challenger. Condolences to Shirley and family.
Our condolences to Shirley, Guy, Renee, Jane, Andrea and their families. Sad news of Al's passing . Fifty years of great memories with a great friend. Dave & Linda.
Al was an amazing man. He will be missed. Condolences to his family
Al was one of those legendary riders I looked up to in the 70’s when I was a young motocross and cross country racer! His many successes at the ISDT and Baja were an inspiration. My condolences to the Perrett family. He will be missed by all who met him! Thank you for sharing.
What an amazing person,and what a remarkable life. Will always cherish those memories with Al. Bob Underhill
Al will be remembered for so many things but for me his waffles, country music, banging pots and pans to wake us for skiing and driving with no hands down winding roads will be among my favourites. My condolences to all the Perrett family. Al’s energy and positivity will be missed but never forgotten.
Our sympathies to all the Perrett family , he lit up the room whenever he walked in with is charmfull and friendliness manner . He will be missed .
Sorry to hear this news. Pete, Andre & the rest of the Family enjoyed racing & riding with him. He was a honest , down to earth , good guy.
It was always a pleasure to run into Al around town. He took time to chat & catch up on any news. He certainly will be missed - condolences to Shirley & the kids. I'm so grateful I was able to attend the banquet when he was inducted into MC Hall of Fame.
Very good obituary. Al was such a stunning character! If you were with him on a dirt bike trip, you knew a big adventure was forthcoming. His zest for life was so contagious. Condolences to his family....
A true inspiration in my life. Thanks Al for all the amazing people I have met through you especially your son Guy who I have considered a best friend from the moment I met him. I love your whole family, they are very real but extremely amazing like you.
So sad to get the inevitable news with Al's passing. He was such a part of Sharon's life then mine. His constant reminder of his mother's words that we have a choice everyday to be happy is an inspiration. We will make some pancakes, enjoy a taste of rum and savour a life fully lived. Ride on Al!
Al was a very good friend always. We worked together in Ironwork, He will be missed.
Nothing but good memories and feelings when we think of Al. Our sympathies with all the Perrett clan.
Sorry for you loss Guy and the rest of the Perrett family. I always enjoyed my conversations with your dad over the years whether it was regarding skiing, motorcycles or work related with the development/re-development of the motorcycle shop up on the hill. He will be missed.
I met Al when he owned the shop in Richmond, 1964!--Next I had the Kawasaki shop in Kamloops when Al moved here..I competed against Al in a few x-country races in the kamloops/Ashcroft area..he usually won--as a long time Motorcycle enthusiast I crossed paths with Al from time to time..always enjoyed his company...A great guy, he is missed
Al had the gift to "connect" with everyone he met, where ever they were and whatever they did. Very few have that gift and Al had it in spades! It was the gift that carried him through life, as he was highly capable and successful in everything he touched. .He will be remembered.
Al's journey picked us up on the slopes of Mount Seymour and he called the day before this earthly journey made his final turn. It was a delight to be included from that day to his last...Lorne, Helen, Ryan and Mallory
Being with Al was always uplifting and an adventure. I've never met anyone so positive and enthusiastic. He was a good friend and is sorely missed.
So sorry for your loss Andrea. Al was such a fun, friendly, wonderful man. He lit up the room whenever he walked in. Hugs to you and your family xox
Through my grateful tears, I’m blessed to call Al my beloved friend. ❤️❤️