October 26th, 2015 – A good man died today
He was born April 3, 1928, in Onaway, Alberta, and spent his first twelve years in the Volmer – St.Albert area before the family relocated to Vancouver Island.
Gordie’s first two school years in BC were spent living with relatives in Victoria as his family had moved to a logging facility up Mt. Tuam, Saltspring Island, and then to Port Renfrew – where there was limited schooling. Gordie had just turned 14 when he left school and started his ‘career in the bush’ as a ‘logger’ – a career he loved. Over the years he worked as a Sparkchaser (for the summer – when he was 13) a Whistle Punk, Chokerman, Chaser, Rigging Slinger, Faller, Second Loader, Head Loader, Hooktender, Fire Warden, Woods Foreman and ending as General Foreman with MacMillan-Bloedel until his retirement at the age of 62.
When he was 16 he moved with his family to the Duncan area where he met and, in May, 1949, married Elsie Lloyd – and where their 7 children (five girls and two boys) were born. In 1952 he started working at Shawnigan Division for MacMillan-Bloedell – eventually becoming Woods Foreman – a position he also filled when he transferred to Copper Canyon Division in 1967. In 1970, when he became General Foreman of MB’s Kennedy Division, the family moved to Ucluelet. In 1973 they moved to Port Alberni when he became General Foreman at Franklin River Division – the largest logging camp in the world. In 1978, he transferred to Sproat Lake Division (a shorter drive from home) and stayed there until his retirement in April, 1990 – when he and Elsie moved to the Lighthouse area, north of Qualicum Beach.
Gordie was always willing to accept executive positions for all the activities he and his family were involved with… church, Little League, basketball, grass hockey, PTA, youth groups, Loyal Order of Moose and recently the Qualicum Horne Lake Water Board. He loved his fishing and he loved participating in sports – Softball, Badminton, Bowling, Ice Curling and, for the past 24 years, curling with the Lighthouse Floor Curlers. He was always very proud of his children – Kerrie & Wim Jellema; Judy Hill; Shannon and Bill Van Wormer; Lyle & Marilyn Braithwaite; Faye & Ken Davidson, Erin & John Keizer; and Daryl & Annie Braithwaite – his 24 grandchildren, and their spouses, and his 36 great grandchildren. He thoroughly enjoyed the recent family reunion when 91 of us were able to take part in a four day ‘get-together’. Talk about being ‘blessed’.
Formerly with the United Church Gordie has been a member, since July 1989, of the Cedar Grove Reformed Church, in Port Alberni, and, like Elsie and his family, these good friends will really miss him – as will his sister, Margaret Baird, Cobble Hill, B.C., his sister-in-law Birnie Braithwaite, Duncan, B.C., and many nieces and nephews and their families. Sadly, in 1985, Gordie was predeceased by his eldest Grandson, Lloyd Hill, aged 15. Predeceased also by his parents, George and Ellen Braithwaite, and two older brothers, Lloyd and Wesley Braithwaite.
Yes, we will all definitely miss ‘Gordie’, ‘Uncle’, ‘Dad’, ‘Grandpa’ or ‘Greatpa’ but this kind, loving man will certainly never be forgotten.
Many thanks to the North Island Care Givers and Palliative Care Nurses for their excellent care and concern for Gordie over the past two months.
A memorial service will be held, at Arrowsmith Baptist Church, 4283 Glenside Rd., Port Alberni, B.C., at 1:00 p.m. Friday, November 13th, 2015.