– Story by Angela Cowan Photography by Darren Hull
While Marnie Naka has come to know and love much about Kelowna and the Okanagan in the 17 years she’s lived here, it wasn’t the lake or the climate or the wineries that prompted her to make the move. It was love.
Marnie is operations supervisor for the Kelowna office of Wolseley Canada, the country’s leading wholesale distributor for plumbing, HVAC/R, waterworks and industrial markets. Calgary-born, she lived in Airdrie and area growing up, and started at Wolseley’s Calgary offices more than 20 years ago, until a business merger changed the trajectory of her life.
“Brad’s dad sold his company to Wolseley,” Marnie says of her husband, “and Brad was a manager there, so he stayed on with Wolseley for a few years.”
Based in Kelowna, Brad Naka would fly out to Calgary occasionally for meetings.
“I would do meeting set-ups and lunches,” she explains. “That’s actually how we met.”
The pair ended up having one of their first dates in the airport during one of Brad’s layovers, and “I moved out here six months later,” says Marnie with a laugh.
The couple, who just celebrated their 16-year anniversary, embraced the outdoor Okanagan lifestyle with enthusiasm.
“I love the outdoors here,” enthuses Marnie. “We’re big campers. We’ll take the trailers and the bikes and just go out. And I mountain bike with my husband. When we first moved here, I took up dirt biking instead, and then we ended up selling them and got the mountain bikes.”
The two go out a couple times a week, even through the winter, and Marnie also gets out snowshoeing with friends, and practices yoga regularly.
“I only started mountain biking a few years ago, and I love it,” she says. “I love to be active.”
The 7 Sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
I never really thought about this before, but since watching The Crown recently, I’d have to say that I would love to walk in Princess Diana’s shoes. She was down to earth and known for her humanitarian efforts; she was compassionate, and her love of children showed what an amazing person she was.
What is the food you could eat over and over again?
I love any sort of ethnic dish, but if I had to choose, I would choose Thai food. I love green curry and pad Thai. I can eat it anytime. For a treat though, I also love black licorice.
You’re given $1 million that you have to spend
selfishly. What would you spend it on?
I would buy a little vacation home on a tropical island, bring the family and spend as much time there as possible.
When marine life is harmed because of deliberate human carelessness. I really hate it when I see people throwing away plastic six-pack rings without cutting them up. And now, I also hate seeing surgical masks littered or thrown away carelessly.
Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?
On a hot white sandy beach, with a good book and an ice-cold tropical slushy drink.
What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
I am secretly proud of myself for my progression in mountain biking. In just the past four years, my skills riding technical downhill trails have allowed me to travel many places with my husband and ride in some of the most beautiful places in North America!
What makes your heart beat faster?
I would have to say my hubby! I love secretly watching him when he doesn’t know I am, and thinking to myself how lucky I am to have such a great husband. It’s been 16 years since we were married on a beach in Mexico, and he still makes my heart beat as fast as if it was yesterday.