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DAVID ROBERT BLAKE March 20, 1925 - February 25, 2008 It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of our husband, father, grandfather and dear friend and colleague. Predeceased by his parents, William and Isabella and brothers, Albert, Douglas, and sister-in-law Helen, Dave leaves to cherish his memory, his wife Gwen; sons, Darren and Christopher (Lisa), and daughters, Naomi Blake Marshall (Garry), Kelly Blake (Marguerite), Colleen Nelson (Leonard); grandchildren, Jordan and Kirsten Nelson, Dylan Blake-Marshall and Samuel Nyberg-Blake; cousin Cyril Blake; brother-in-law Paul Bergman and family, many nieces and nephews; and his many dear friends across the country. Dave was born and raised near Rapid City, MB on the family farm he loved. In 1941, he joined the Royal Bank of Canada until enlisting the following year in the R.C.A.F. and training as a navigator. Although he did not serve overseas, he was a champion of the war effort and continued his military service after the war as Captain and Paymaster with the Armed Forces 6th Field Engineer Regiment in Winnipeg. He returned to the bank and in a career that spanned 41 years, he served many communities throughout Manitoba most notably Glenboro, Selkirk, Swan River and Minnedosa. Posted to Flin Flon in 1948, he met Gwen Bergman (the boss's daughter). After a two year courtship, they married on August 16, 1951 and began their life together. It was his laughter, gregarious nature and Clarke Gable good looks that drew her to him. Naomi Karen was born in Flin Flon; Kelly Elizabeth in Winnipeg and Dave received his first appointment as Branch Manager in Glenboro the spring of 1958. He opened new branches for the Royal Bank in Selkirk and Swan River. In October of 1960, the family, including 10-day old William Darren, moved to Selkirk where Colleen Marie and Christopher David were born. Dave was a great dad. As a role model and with his support, encouragement and friendship, he nurtured their love and respect. He and Gwen enjoyed a lot of travel over the years including Europe, Iceland, many parts of the U.S. and coast to coast in Canada. Dave was always very active in the communities in which he lived. He was a Mason and Shriner for over 20 years. He curled, shot skeet, was a Rotarian and a dedicated member of Duck's Unlimited. He served as Chairman of the Industrial Commission of Selkirk. He was Past-President of the Royal Canadian Legion Branches in both Selkirk and Minnedosa and of the Kiwanis Clubs in Selkirk and Swan River, and after several years with the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce, was elected President in 1970 - 1971. In 1971 upon the request of former Progressive Conservative Premier Walter Weir, MLA for Minnedosa, Dave entered public life. In a by-election with record voter turnout, he became the first Royal Banker (perhaps the first banker in Canada) to be elected to a provincial legislature. He served the constituents he loved for 17 years both in and out of government. He also acted as Caucus Chairman; Chairman of Public Accounts and was on the Board of Directors of Autopac and Mackenzie Seeds. Dave had an immense love and respect for the people, wildlife and landscape of this province. He was in his glory flying into a wilderness fishing camp with his buddies, sitting point deer hunting or training one of his many Laddies to retrieve a targeted fowl. Retirement in 1988 did not slow him down. His sense of loyalty and humour were always evident to all. Dave had an ageless quality that attracted those old and young to seek out and enjoy his company. It was these qualities that defined his last 20 years. Golf, hunting, fishing, crib, a little gambling and the occasional rum coke press were just a few of the many pursuits enjoyed with his large circle of friends and family. We shall truly miss him. A Celebration of Dave's life will be held Saturday, March 1, 2008 2:00 p.m. at the Minnedosa Community Conference Centre, 63 Main Street N., Minnedosa, MB. Honorary Pallbearers: Timer Hyndman, Ken Parenteau, Jim Ferguson, Craig Stewart, Leonard Nelson, Garry Marshall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Palliative Care Unit at the Minnedosa District Hospital, Box 960, Minnedosa, MB, R0J 1E0 or the Minnedosa Golf and Country Club, Box 1191, Minnedosa, MB, R0J 1E0. Minnedosa Funeral Service in care of arrangements. (204) 867-3868
As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on February 27, 2008
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