How blessed we were to have a dad like ours. Dad was loving, thoughtful, caring, kind, quiet, humble, determined and would do anything for his family and friends. We are so grateful to have been left with such wonderful memories and are so proud to be his girls.
Our dad was born in Oakville, Ontario on July 20, 1936. He left home at the age of 14 shortly after losing his mother to cancer. Once he was old enough to enlist, Dad joined the army and came out west for basic training. Following his stint in the army, Dad discovered a love for driving after becoming a long-haul trucker.
Dad met the love of his life, Irene, in Calgary and they were blessed to have 51 years of marriage which brought them on many wonderful adventures. These years included many fun family activities such as snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, skating, swimming, and many trailering trips all over North America, including destinations such as the Maritimes, Yukon, Disneyland, and annual summer trips to Fairmont Hot Springs. They also travelled all around the world including visits to Australia, New Zealand, China, Poland, Tahiti, South America, and cruises to Alaska and the Panama Canal.
Our parents loved children and were so thrilled to have two girls to call their own. Because our Mom worked full-time as a teacher as well, finding reliable childcare for us was a must. Rather than having us go to daycare, Dad left his long-haul trucking job and transitioned to becoming a professional bus driver working night shifts with the Edmonton Transit Service (ETS), so that he could be home and care for us during the day. We have many fond memories of Dad making us Kraft Dinner, Fried-Egg sandwiches and going out to Captain Scott’s for Fish and Chips whenever Mom had parent-teacher interviews.
Our favorite memories of Dad include him teaching us how to ride bikes and snowmobiles and drive the big ex-police cruisers he bought for us to be safe on the roads.
Dad worked for ETS for over 25 years, and absolutely loved his work. He made many long-term friends there, some of whom we are privileged to have join us to celebrate him at his service.
Dad was also proud to contribute to ETS as part of its Accident Review Committee, and thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the ETS Bus Rodeos where buses were driven through obstacle courses.
One of Dad’s last routes ran through Wellington, where he and Mom lived for over 50 years. He loved this route because he was able to socialize with the regular riders who lived in our community. Everyone loved him, and he loved them back – Dad often made the comment he retired too soon. For many years after Dad retired, seeing an ETS bus put smiles on all our faces.
Dad had many hobbies. One of his favorite things was tinkering in his garage. Dad loved to build things and could fix anything. When we bought our first houses, it was so nice to have him close by for SOS calls, and he never let us down – he had a solution for everything. When Sharon needed a sewing cabinet, Dad quickly built one; he also made a beautiful sewing cabinet for Mom. He also loved lending a hand helping his sons-in-law Derrick and Fred with any mechanical issues. Further, he overcame great odds and somehow taught Derrick how to hook up and pull a travel-trailer safely to Fairmont each summer.
Another favorite passion of Dad’s was the waterfront lake lot at Lake Isle which he and Mom purchased in 1981. They painstakingly cleared this tree and brush-filled space by hand, creating many a bonfire in the process – Mom loved to see how high she could get the flames to shoot, much to Dad’s chagrin.
Dad’s love for boating also resulted in him annually donning hip-waders and clearing the lake weeds by hand with a scythe, so that he could have a clear area to put in the dock and boat hoist.
Dad also loved Salmon Fishing in Campbell River, and made many trips there with his good friend Harold White.
Dad also enjoyed visiting Mom’s family in Guy Alberta during the summers and helping them with their large farming operation. So many good memories.
After retirement, Mom and Dad took up square dancing and became very accomplished dancers, advancing to the point where they were part of a performing group. Dad used to love helping his neighbours by clearing their sidewalks and driveways with his snowblower. He also enjoyed helping the Church by picking up food from the Food Bank for distribution to parishioners in need.
Mom and Dad loved their grandchildren so much, and they were delighted when their later summer trips
to Fairmont came to include their grandchildren Alyssa and Alex. Mom and Dad especially took great delight in early-morning and late-night swims with Alyssa at the outdoor pool at Fairmont.
Dad took great pride in teaching Alyssa and Alex how drive and bought a new vehicle in 2018 with his ultimate wish being that this vehicle be passed on to Alyssa.
After Mom passed away in 2017, we were so proud of how Dad held his head high and carried on. He continued with Square Dancing – a thing he loved to do.
In September 2020, Dad was diagnosed with idiopathic cirrhosis. Dad fought this disease with the same energy, determination, and spirit that he had put into so many other activities during his life. Despite failing health over the past year, and on top of the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic, Dad was determined to stay in his own home until the end, something which he ultimately did.
Dad was very compassionate about his caregivers at the Royal Alex, often noting how overworked they seemed to be and not wanting to bother them with requests. This is typical of Dad, always putting the needs of others first. Dad would beam when presented with updates about his grandkids, and took great comfort knowing that his grandchildren’s path forward in life was taking shape.
Dad made the comment two weeks before his passing about hoping to be home for his 85th birthday, which was July 20. It is comforting to know that Dad did make it “home” for his birthday, and we hope that he and Mom had one heck of a celebration.
We are so grateful for his wonderful neighbours who kept a watchful eye on him and were there to help in any way they could up until the end. Thank you so very much.
We all send you our love Dad. Happy 85th birthday. You will be greatly missed.