SMITH: Gordon Edward
On Tuesday, December 16, 2014, two days shy of his 95th birthday and ten days after his 68th wedding anniversary, Gord passed away in hospital in Lindsay, Ontario.
Born Gordon Edward in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia in 1919, he was Gord to all who knew him. His early life and school years were spent with his grandparents, who raised him on their farm and sent him to school on his own horse with a rifle tucked in the saddle.
In 1943, at age 24, after working for Ferry Command as an aircraft instrument technician, Gord joined the RCAF and travelled to Toronto to train for deployment to Europe during the Second World War. This was a decision that would lead him to the woman with whom he would share the rest of his life.
Standing tall at 5’4”, Gord was issued a standard uniform by the RCAF, which required immediate alterations. He brought his uniform to the tailor shop of William Orange in Toronto. Upon arrival, he was sent to the back of the shop where the tailor’s daughter, Florence, waited to take his measurements and hem his raincoat. As she began pinning, Gord often recalled, he knew in that moment that she would always be by his side.
Gord was sent to Europe within weeks, but they wrote each other often. One day, the letters stopped abruptly. Florence soon learned that Gord, a rear gunner on loan to the RAF 620 Squadron, had been wounded in action over Northern Holland. With strength and determination, he made a full recovery and returned to Florence in July, 1945.
They were married and became Gord and Flo to all who knew them. Gord studied at the University of Toronto and began work for the Welfare Division of the City of Toronto. When he retired after 35 years with the City, he was the Chief District Administrator for the GTA.
Gord and Flo had three daughters, Erin, Dawn, and Kerry. Together, they packed their young family and all of their camping supplies into their tiny Volkswagen Beetle for countless adventures. Killbear Provincial Park was a favourite spot as was the Bay of Fundy, where Gord and Flo bought a cottage and hosted the entire family and their families for years.
Gord was a man of many gifts and interests, including woodworking. At age 85, he built a fully functional, cedar strip, ocean-going kayak that is the prized possession of his granddaughter Caitlin. During that particular project, which consumed most of his waking hours (and his workshop and the garage), Flo was by his side, day and night, holding clamps, applying fibreglass, and taking pictures.
Gord and Flo shared a lifelong love of photography. Together, they captured and captioned nearly every memory, from their early married life right up to the present. They created an extensive collection of carefully curated photographs and slides that will endure as a loving legacy of the lives of two extraordinary people and the extended family that they nurtured and encouraged to grow and thrive.
His wife Flo, his daughters Erin (Lee), Dawn (Murray), and Kerry (Bill), his granddaughters Christie (Marc), Kirsten (Arun), and Caitlin, his great grandchildren Kieran, Milenne, and Manon, will forever
keep Gord in their hearts and celebrate all that he gave and all that he was: intelligent and curious, friend to so many, fighter, perfectionist, scotch drinker, photographer, woodworker, sailor, camper, avid traveller and driver, Florida Snowbird, square dancer, and most of all, loving husband and devoted dad and granddad.
The family’s deepest thanks go to Kalie and Robin, the staff at Ross Memorial Hospital, and all of Gord’s additional caregivers for their loving care and concern.
A private funeral for family and caregivers is being held Saturday, December 20, 2014 in Cannington, Ontario. A celebration of his life will be held in the spring of 2015 with details to be announced. He would be honoured to be remembered by a donation to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.