You may have walked by the memorial trees or rested on the colourful bench in front of the Ladysmith Pharmasave or admired the giant tree at Aggie Hall during the Ladysmith’s Festival of Lights. These are all expressions of love for Chuck Perrin, a beloved community leader and pharmacist, and Josh Sikora, a popular student and skateboarder whose light shone brilliantly.
In 1994, the Ladysmith Light Up dedicated the lighting of the tree to the memory of Chuck Perrin, who helped initiate the Festival of Lights, and the downtown revitilization of Ladysmith.
This August 28 marks the 25th anniversary of the tragic plane crash that killed “the King of Ladysmith” along with his 13-year-old stepson Joshua when the Cessna 150 crashed north of Calgary in the Rocky Mountains.
“Chuck was a supporter of just about anything to do with Ladysmith,” says Brian Childs who was his best friend.
“He had a huge impact on the community.”
Chuck was débonnaire with wavy hair and a mustache that he kept curled and waxed. He was the funniest person I know,” says Brian. “He always had time for everyone.”
Josh was a happy teenager who’s passion was skateboarding.
“He was a devil daredevil. He jump off the highest bridge and cliffs into the river,” remembers Naomi his sister. Popular at school and a passionate skateboarder. “He was as bright as the sun,” says mom Diana Childs.
Tom Renton, now retired, was Josh’s teacher. “Josh was only in town for one year but he had so many friends. Everyone liked him. He would light up the room.”
“The town was quite devastated when all of this happened,” says Renton.
Chuck played a major role in the community, initiating and supporting programs from which we benefit today.
Over five hundred people attended the service with many more lined outside.
Josh’s mother Diana Childs and Chuck’s wife was working as a realtor at the time of the accident, went on to operate the Ladysmith Pharmasave for 15 years before selling it.
“People came from everywhere. The community support continued long after, said Diana — as does their legacy.