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Born: Oct 14, 1940
Date of Passing: Nov 15, 2020Send Flowers to the Family Offer Condolences or Memory
Dad was born on October 14, 1940 in Blumenhof, MB, the fourth of ten siblings. After high school, he studied Education and Geography at the University of Manitoba. His first teaching job was at a one room schoolhouse in Giroux, MB. His life-long passion for travel and photography began with two years of volunteer work in Burundi, Africa. Following his marriage to Emily, the love of his life, he began a teaching career in God's River, MB.
They moved to Rainy River, ON next, where they purchased a small farm. There they farmed, fenced, gardened and transformed the rustic farmhouse into a beautiful home. Dad taught geography at Rainy River High School, coached volleyball, was a Union Rep, Divisional Consultant and became Vice-Principal of the school. Summers were spent looking after the farm and taking family road trips throughout Canada and all 48 of the lower United States. Weekends were spent fishing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and skiing. Dad was first and foremost a teacher, teaching his children about many things; geology, rocks, boreal forests, karst topography, hay-baling, fence-repair and most importantly things of the heart, love, commitment and passion for life.
Dad was a deeply spiritual person and faithfully attended church in every community he lived in. These include the Covenant Church in Baudette, MN, a small Pentecostal church in Blue Township, Ridgewood EMC church and Good Life Chapel in Mesa. He was also active in the Gideon's Bible Society.
In 1980, he moved to Blumenort, MB and was quickly promoted to Superintendent of Hanover School Division, a position he held until his retirement in 2002. He was well known by his staff for his active involvement in teacher evaluations, making sure he regularly visited each teacher's classroom.
Shortly after retiring, he and Emily left to do volunteer school administration in Indonesia and later Brazil. They continued to travel widely, Mount Rainier and Zermatt being two of their favourite destinations. They established strong friendships wherever they went, including their winter home in Arizona where Dad was involved in several hiking groups and enjoyed singing in the choir. Dad loved photography and doing stained glass. He kept active, walking, cycling and hiking many miles a day, greeting people he knew, and always making new friends.
Dad was deeply loved by those around him. He impacted many peoples' lives, and his light, love, strength and zeal for living have impacted each of us deeply.
Birchwood Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements. Due to current covid-19 restrictions, we will have a ceremony celebrating Gilbert's life at a later date.
As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Nov 21, 2020
Condolences & Memories (4 entries)
Enjoyed working with Bert in Rainy River High. He taught me a lot about geography so that I could go on and teach the kids. I always felt I had been tutored by a professional. I remember his explanation of glint line lakes which clarified so much of Canadian geography for me and which I have managed to shoehorn into many a conversation. We shared a spare and our staff room bull sessions were wide ranging and fun, though I don't think we convinced each other of much especially on matters religious, but we had fun trying. I shared a love of travel and travel photography with him and I still have the hundreds of slides to prove it. I find it so hard believe that he is gone: when we visited Bert and Emily in Arizona he out-biked me and out hiked and he was a year older than me! I thought he would go on forever so perhaps I should have paid more attention to our connection re established in the last few years, but that is so often the way, especially when age and illness get in the way. But he kept one thing from me; I never knew he played the guitar till I looked at these pictures! My condolences Emily, and Michelle and Bertram, he was a good man in every sense of the word. And he did keep your interest up didn't he? - Posted by: John Scott (Colleague of Bert in Rainy River) on: Dec 01, 2020
My thoughts and prayers go out to Emily and family. Bert was such a great hiker and I so enjoyed his stories and experiences that he shared during our hikes. I’ll never forget that he has ridden his bike the circumference + of the earth. God Bless - Posted by: Joyce Meyer (Hiking friend from Sunland Village ) on: Nov 24, 2020
It was my privilege to have worked with Gil when we taught together in Ontario in the 1970s, and when we were superintendents of neighbouring school divisions in Manitoba in the 1990s. Gil unfailingly exemplified professionalism to an admirable extent. You ran your race well, Gil and fully deserved the tribute that your family has provided in your honour! - Posted by: Keith Bricknell (Colleague) on: Nov 21, 2020
Such a great tribute to a great man. Sorry for your loss. - Posted by: Stephanie Cortilet (Colleague of Bert) on: Nov 21, 2020
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