VANCOUVER -- A husband and wife trucking couple from Squamish, B.C., married for 54 years, have both died of COVID-19 complications.

With public health restrictions not allowing for a large funeral, the community paid tribute to the couple with a truck rally on Saturday afternoon. 

Harvey “Merrill” Ross and Gail Ross were truly inseparable. Gail passed away at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver on May 5, and Just 17 hours later on May 6, Merrill died.

“They would never have wanted to be without the other,” says their son Scott Ross.

Originally from Prince Edward Island, Merrill and Gail moved to Squamish in 1969 with their two kids. Soon after, they had two more children. Merrill was a fixture in the Squamish logging and construction industry. He drove logging and gravel trucks for decades.

According to their obituary, Gail was highly involved in the community and volunteered for multiple youth sports organizations in Squamish. Both of them were working in the trucking industry until the day they were hospitalized with COVID-19.

The memorial, organized by JR Transport, drew a massive turnout of trucks and tractors. Nearly 100 truckers drove in a loop through Squamish and along Highway 99 for two hours, honking their horns along the way. Dozens of onlookers watched and waved from sidewalks as the big trucks rolled past.

“They meant to a lot of people,” says Scott. “They were here for a long time and it shows.”

A flatbed carrying Merrill’s gravel truck led the procession, draped with a memorial banner showing three photos of the couple and their family. Merrill and Gail’s son Alan says his parents never enjoyed being the centre of attention, so if they were alive to see the rally, they would not be impressed.

“They would figure it’s way too much fuss for them,” he says. “But they are definitely worth it.”

The convoy wrapped up at the Squamish Dryland Sort, where the couple was sent off with a 30-second horn blast, followed by a moment of silence.

Merrill, 76, and Gail, 73, leave behind four children and seven grandchildren. The Ross family is asking that donations be made to the BC SPCA in their honour.