176 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 2 MARCH 2020
of the Montreal Canadiens (then replete with future NHL players), Len set
about doing just that.
A CNR rail pass that allowed Len to travel for free brought him to Vancouver,
and to UBC, in the fall of 1959. He lived on campus for two years in one
of the repurposed Jericho army base barracks huts in the Acadia Camp student
In January 1961, Len met Sandra Willoughby of Golden, B.C. on a blind
date arranged by a friend who was dating Sandy’s roommate. Their
romance blossomed in the ensuing months. While Len was working at a
summer job in the bush north of Kamloops, he proposed to Sandy in a letter.
She accepted and they were married in September 1961, as Len began his
first year at UBC Law. (Len and Sandy celebrated their 58th wedding
anniversary last fall.)
Following first-year law, Len pursued the possibility of continuing law
school in California but ultimately decided to return to Canada—too late to
enrol in second-year law at UBC. Instead, he worked as an insurance
adjuster and a guard at Oakalla (the Lower Mainland Regional Correctional
Centre). When the time for enrollment in second-year law came around in
the fall of 1963, Sandy and Len had begun their family (son Tom was born
in 1962, and son Len Jr. in 1963) and supporting them had become a priority.
Len worked two jobs for MacMillan Bloedel in Powell River: in the pulp
mill from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and in the plywood mill from 4:30 p.m. to
1:00 a.m. When the office workers’ union went on strike and both mills
were shut down, Len followed a co-worker to Vancouver to get a job fishing
on a seiner headed for the northern waters.
During those two years away from school, Len’s determination to
become a lawyer did not waver. In September 1964, he enrolled in secondyear
law at UBC at last. However, throughout his second and third years, he
continued to fish full-time to support his family and was seldom able to
attend classes. He studied his law books on the boat and his only contact
with Sandy during the fishing seasons was on the boat’s radio phone, where
everyone on the water could listen in. At the conclusion of the fishing season
each year, he worked the 4:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. shift five days per week
at the Red Band shingle mill on the Fraser River, and as a liquor store clerk
during the Christmas school breaks. Sandy obtained part-time employment
as an office worker with a local food wholesaler. They lived in rental houses
in the Kerrisdale area, where they rented all available rooms to boarders
and took in foster children to help them get by.
Len’s spotty attendance at class at law school led Professor James McIntyre
to remark, upon being introduced to Len at the annual post-exam din-