Fraser Valley loses the Keith Wilson Waver as Ron Hupper passes away

Hupper brought smiles to the faces of hundreds of people traveling Chilliwack’s Keith Wilson Road

Ron Hupper reached celebrity status with people who traveled Keith Wilson Road on a regular basis, sitting in his wheelchair at the end of his driveway, smiling and waving at everyone who went by. (Facebook photo)

Ron Hupper reached celebrity status with people who traveled Keith Wilson Road on a regular basis, sitting in his wheelchair at the end of his driveway, smiling and waving at everyone who went by. (Facebook photo)

You may think that you’ve never seen Ron Hupper, but if you‘ve lived in Chilliwack and you’ve ever driven along Keith Wilson Road, you almost certainly have.

Do you remember a guy sitting in a motorized wheelchair at the end of a driveway, waving at you as you drove by? Do you remember asking yourself, ‘Who is that guy?’

That was Ron, a local celebrity of sorts who epitomized the saying, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’

Nearly nine years ago, he suffered a bad stroke that left the right side of his body completely paralyzed. Beforehand, he was an active guy who owned his own business and traveled the world with his wife.

Having all of that taken away would leave most of us wallowing in self pity, but not the man that Taylor Roseboom called ‘Papa.’

“When he got home after months of physical therapy in Vancouver and Coquitlam, it was really hard for him because he used to be the man of house,” said Taylor, Ron’s 20-year-old granddaughter. “My Grandma started bringing him outside when she was gardening, and while he was out there, occasionally a family member would drive by an honk.

“So he ended up going to the end of the driveway to sit, and that’s where it started.”

The stroke left Ron mostly non-verbal. He could say a few words, like yes and no and good.

“And a few choice curse words,” Taylor added with a laugh.

But the stroke didn’t take away his smile, and that’s what drew people in. They’d drive by and there he’d be, relaxing in his wheelchair, grinning and waving.

People started honking, which encouraged him to wave even more.

“It became this thing where he wanted to go out there every day, because it gave him something to smile about,” Taylor said. “He grabbed his newspaper first thing in the morning and then he’d come inside to eat breakfast, but some days he’d be out there before he even had breakfast and my Grandma would have to call out, ‘Honey! You haven’t had your toast yet!

“If there was snow outside and his wheelchair couldn’t make it, or it was super rainy, he would be so frustrated. But even when he was stuck inside, he could still hear people honking their horns. I’d be like, ‘Oh Papa. There’s your fans honking for you.”

Soon enough, some of the more curious among the passers-by started pulling over to introduce themselves. People brought him cookies and brownies, and one kind-hearted soul brought him a blanket to keep him warm on chillier days.

“People started saying to me, ‘Hey, have you ever seen that guy over on Keith Wilson?’ and I’d say, ‘He’s my grandpa!’” Taylor said.

Ron’s health started deteriorating in March of this year, with a series of strokes and seizures landing him in the hospital for several months. Around four weeks ago he was moved to a care home, and doctors discovered two untreatable brain bleeds.

“It was hard with COVID because we weren’t allowed to visit him,” Taylor said. “It was hard for him because he didn’t have his Keith Wilson Road anymore, and I didn’t realize so many people truly enjoyed seeing him until he wasn’t there anymore. The day he died, I heard eight cars honk out there and I thought, ‘Oh my. He’s not even here anymore and people are still honking for him.”

Taylor posted the news to Facebook Saturday and was shocked by the response. Two hundred and six heartfelt comments (as of Sunday afternoon) from people whose lives Ron touched, every one of them read and appreciated by Taylor.

“My Papa was a really tough man. What he went through was so hard and it was so hard watching him go through it,” she said. “The biggest thing I learned from him is that I’m never going to treat life like it’s short or dwell on things, ever, because he adjusted and overcame something horrible and he was still our Papa.

“I will always push through and persevere, just like he did.”

chilliwack

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Connie Werzun has taken up photography classes, and tok this picture along the dikes at Jerry Sulina Park one night recently. Using a seven-minute exposure, “a photo taken at night looks like it was taken during the day.” (Special to The News)
SHARE: Night photo of mountain range appears as day

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Raphael Baruh of Slavic Rolls creates one of his Eastern European desserts at the Maple Ridge food truck festival on Saturday afternoon. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Food Truck Festival in Maple Ridge this weekend

Pick the drive-through lane for the food you like at Albion Fair Grounds

Coyotes walk down a Maple Ridge residential street. (Special to The News)
Security camera shows coyotes walking down Maple Ridge street

A warning to Silver Valley residents to keep their pets indoors, says home owner

Coach Ray Wakeman and the Maple Ridge Lawn Bowling Club are looking for new members. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Maple Ridge club looking for lawn bowlers

Games have been modified for safety during COVID-19

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Would Maple Ridge councillors want cannabis store beside them?

Resident concerned about how close cannabis store is to her home

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
1 taken to hospital after plane crash at Metro Vancouver airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Most Read