In the autumn of 2013, Dean Kelly Morrison was let go from his contract painting job at Stump Lake Ranch northeast of Merritt. 

The 44-year-old Morrison had reportedly felt unwell that day as he gathered up his tools and supplies and loaded them into his vehicle, which hadn’t been running properly. 

At 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 22, 2013, Morrison called for a tow truck to remove himself and his vehicle from his former workplace. The tow truck arrived after 1:00 p.m. that afternoon, but sometime between the time of placing the call and the tow truck arriving, Morrison had vanished. 

Despite extensive air and ground searches by the RCMP and community members, there has been no sign of Morrison for nearly seven years. 

“We’ve not had any resolution with why he disappeared, and that’s created some complex grieving for the family,” explained Morrison’s ex-wife, Tricia Rainville. 

“So, we want to put something together that commemorates his memory, his being.” 

Rainville has launched a crowdfunding initiative hoping to raise $4,500 in order to place a memorial bench, plaque, or sponsor a hole at Merritt’s recently announced disc golf course in the Bench neighbourhood. 

Morrison, who was a small business owner, former NDP candidate and former editor of the Merritt Herald, was also an avid disc golf player, alongside Rainville and their three children. 

“We have a history of it, we’ve been playing for 25 years, and the kids have played, and it really makes sense for it to be there,” said Rainville. 

Although Morrison is always top of mind for his family, a recently released Mysteries of Canada YouTube documentary revolving around the unsolved disappearances of numerous men in what is referred to as the British Columbia Triangle, spurred Rainville to come up with new ways of commemorating Morrison. 

“Just seeing the documentary, it kind of loosened the ground a little bit to think that there is still a big unanswered question, and none of us feel very good about it,” said Rainville, whose children helped come up with the disc golf course idea.

“We started to brainstorm, and that’s something that we landed on and it really felt right. We’re just noticing that as we move forward, it’s tough. So, to have something that’s neutral and a place for his kids to be and for friends and family to come to, it’s a good stride towards healing for the family, particularly the kids.”

Morrison’s three children were quite young when their father disappeared, something Rainville said has altered their lives significantly. 

“They’re not addressing what happened because developmentally they were kids, and they couldn’t,” said Rainville, who is also a counsellor. 

“So, as they mature and they have a chance to make more sense of it and think about it deeper, not having that cemented feeling about what happened makes it difficult. As they’ve gotten older and are able to look at what happened and look at their own feelings, it’s still fresh, because they didn’t necessarily process it when it happened because they were too young.” 

In addition to placing a bench or a plaque at the disc golf course, Rainville hopes to organize a memorial tournament in the future. 

“A tournament down the road, that would be incredible,” said Rainville, who has plenty of experience with disc golf courses, clubs, and tournaments. 

“To move into celebration would be really great. These are things that help families and help communities. Grief sucks, if you can find something that helps you manage yourself and get through it it’s really positive.”

If sufficient funds are raised the memorial will include Morrison’s favourite quote from Vladimir Tatlin. 

“Not the old. Not the new. But the necessary.” 

If you wish to donate you can do so at the following link until Sept. 24.