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Date of Passing: Oct 12, 2020

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It is with great sadness that the family of Orval Voakes announces his passing on October 12, 2020, at the age of 89 years. After a brief illness, Dad is now reunited with his wife, Merl.
A memorial service will be held at a future date to allow family and friends to celebrate his life.


As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Oct 17, 2020

Condolences & Memories (13 entries)

  • Hello Grant, Leanne & family, Many memories flooded my mind of times we spent with your family when we lived on Somerville Ave. I always enjoyed your Dad’s sense o humour & as others have said his kindness. It is hard to remember you Dad without Your Mom as that is how I knew them best. Love & care to you both & to your families as you grieve your loss & pick up the pieces to keep the Voakes memories alive. ❤️❤️ - Posted by: Bill & Pat Reid (Friend) on: Oct 21, 2020

  • Dear Orval. I was so fortunate to have known this amazing kind man since the day I joined the University of Winnipeg. After tiring days of teaching I would stop by mail room, for a refreshing chat sharing lots of laughs. I loved his life stories, and he enjoyed mine, from a different world before Canada. As a former musician, he had lots of stories for my husband, also a musician. If something happened, bad or good, at work or with family, he was always the first to know and listen with all his kindness and wise words. We suddenly shared a grave loss at the same time, his wife, and my mother. The bond between us became stronger and comforting chats more frequent. We made each other laugh, even though we both had tears in our eyes. I will miss Orval, he will always have a special place in my heart. - Posted by: Vesna Milosevic-Zdjelar (co-worker) on: Oct 20, 2020

  • So sorry to learn my friend, lodge brother, Facebook friend! passing. To me he was a quite and insightful fellow who always had a kind word, and showed a genuine interest in your answer to “how are you doing?” Wow it’s been a bunch of years since visiting him at U of W while on a break or lunch downtown, and I was lucky to sit in many lodge meetings with him over the last 20+ years. Reach out to me if you need a piper for any kind of service for Orval. - Posted by: Troy Blair (Friend) on: Oct 20, 2020

  • I will remember Orval for his sweet and kind demeanor. On many dreary mornings, as he came to deliver the departmental mail, he had that rare gift of sensing when someone needed cheering up. If he perceived that I was feeling less jolly than he was, he would advise me: "Look at all those clouds. But you know what, the sun is shining brightly behind the clouds-you just can't see it right now, but it's there and it's shining for you." He always left the office with both of us smiling. Even when he was experiencing his own personal challenges, he never failed to spread his sunshine, which I greatly admired and tried to emulate for the students who came to the office. - Posted by: Carolynn Smallwood (co-worker) on: Oct 20, 2020

  • Orval was a kind and thoughtful man who always had time for conversation. I appreciated his support in my Eastern Star activities. He will be missed. His gentle presence will be missed. - Posted by: Carol Girling (Eastern Star Sister) on: Oct 19, 2020

  • Hearing of Orval's passing was very sad. He made a remarkable contribution to the University. His unfailing kindness, his warmth, and his gratitude for the smallest things were gifts that strengthened the fibre of the University and helped to make us the special community that we are. Orval was generous. I remember more often than is seemly having a bundle of student references that had to be sent quickly. Not only was Orval accommodating, he was also amused that i was so predictable. He always took care of getting the letters out on time and did so with kindness. Thanks again Orval. You are missed. - Posted by: Michael McIntyre (Colleague) on: Oct 19, 2020

  • I worked with Orval for many years at the University of Winnipeg. He was a sweet man and always liked to talk and ask how you were doing. It was nice to see him a few years ago at someone else's retirement. Always liked him coming to my office a chat. RIP my friend. - Posted by: Joan Duesterdiek (co-worker (University of Winnipeg)) on: Oct 19, 2020

  • I have beautiful memories of Orval when working at the university of Winnipeg. Wish him peace. - Posted by: Parvin Ghorayshi (Colleague ) on: Oct 19, 2020

  • Orval was so welcoming to me when I started at U of W and I enjoyed visiting with him for several years after in the mail room. His kindness and calming presence were such a gift. Although we only visited occasionally, he had this way of making you feel valued and always brightened my day. My sincere condolences to his family and friends. - Posted by: Katy Leverick (Former co-worker) on: Oct 19, 2020

  • I'm terribly sorry to hear of the passing of Orval, he was such a great man. He was very friendly, always had time to chat and asked how I was doing. He was very easy to talk to, and we always had a good laugh. He was an icon and inspiration of many at UofW, and we were sorry to see him retire. He will be sadly missed by so many of his friends and family, especially his colleagues at the UofW. My condolences to his family. Rest in peace my friend. - Posted by: Rod Ingram (Colleague at the University of Winnipeg) on: Oct 19, 2020

  • I was fortunate indeed to work with this lovely man for over twenty years at the University of Winnipeg. When I began my position there, I was warned about "Orval in the mailroom," because he was a real "stickler." So I approached him with caution and a big smile, and always respected his rules and methods. Voila! We became buddies at work and he made my day every time he wheeled his cart though our department door. He left not just mail, but also a positive thought to carry me through my day. And we enjoyed many a sustaining hug. A bright light has left the world. He will be missed, but everyone who knew him is the better for it. - Posted by: Cathleen Hjalmarson (Co-worker) on: Oct 18, 2020

  • I had known Orval for a long time, he was a good, honest man. When I became a Freemason, Orval took the time in helping coach me. He had a very strong belief in God and lived his life that way. I worked in Security and The Physical Plant and you could always talk to him and he gave great advice. We would run into each other from time to time, Orval always had a warm smile and a handshake! With him it was as happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again! - Posted by: Ken Kowaluk (Former Co-worker at the University of Winnipeg ) on: Oct 17, 2020

  • Orval was a true gentleman who always had a smile when I saw him, even when he didn't feel 100%. A kind soap who was always ready to help wherever he could. My condolences to his family and many friends. He will be very fondly remembered. - Posted by: Andrea Mauws (Eastern Star ) on: Oct 17, 2020

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