Some Memories of Dad
by Eldest Daughter, Elsie Oakes
Dad, Grandpa, Great Grandpa, Friend, Teacher, Guide
When I was about 11 years old I helped Dad glue and cut out a huge Santa Claus design on the dining room table, then erected it outside in the snow. Paul was just a baby and the decoration was a hit for picture taking. Dad did a lot of renovations to the house over the years.
Our parents were generous and kind, helping others in need. One year they took in 3 of my cousins for several months since their parents needed assistance.
We had lots of fun at Ipperwash Beach and annual trips to Lake Kipawa to visit our Grandpa Gayler at his fish camp. We would go fishing and swim in cold Tee Lake each August. We would run on the rocks and paths with our cousins. In preparation for the trip we would collect earth worms for several nights and pack them in moss. My niece, Barbara tells me that Dad carried on that tradition with her and Joe.
We also had a rope swing from a tree branch near the house, raised chickens and rabbits for a time.
Over the years, Dad worked several different jobs then eventually had his own business of carpentry, plumbing and electrical services. He was a hard worker and precise in whatever he did. The project needed to be done correctly. I remember Dad working several jobs at a time. He was frequently late for dinner and sometimes that was an issue. Saturday night hockey on TV was the highlight of the week. We were one of the first homes in town to get a small black and white TV. Family, neighbors and friends came to watch the game, eat popcorn and have ice cream sundaes.
After I was married and living in the Boston area we would visit Thedford with the children or put them on a plane to spend some time during the summer with their grandparents. Mom and Dad loved and dotted on all the grandchildren. All children were precious to them and one could feel the love. They also helped Connie and Paul and Doreen and Rick with their children.
Dad took a crew and helped put a new roof on Rick and Doreen’s house.
Dad and Mom helped Pat and Lew move to Newfoundland. Dad drove with Lew. Dad, half asleep would put his hand up and feed Lew candy to keep him awake. Mom and Dad were like parents to Pat and Lew.
Twenty years ago, when Mom passed, Dad was devastated. After a time, he managed to rally and find purpose in life again as he helped Martin and I build a house on Lake Norman in NC. I learned a lot about building from Dad. He was 73 years old and could work circles around me at age 50. I really got to know him and enjoyed his company. He loved to fish off the dock and cook fish dinners for us. Black crappie, a pan fish was his favorite.
Dad also enjoyed fishing trips in this area with Paul and Art.
For 14 years, family members took turns to drive Dad to NC each fall where he would spend Christmas with us then we would drive to Florida where he would spend a few months at his mobile home near Orlando enjoying the warm weather, fishing and visiting his friends. He also did repairs for his Florida friends. Family members visited him in Florida. Rick and Doreen spent several weeks with him most winters. Martin or I would fly down then drive with him back to NC and he would stay with us till time to head back to Thedford. He enjoyed the outdoors and watching sports and cowboy movies on TV. At our house he had his own room and TV area and was very independent for several years until his health started to decline. Eventually he was not able to travel to Florida on his own and stayed in NC during the winter with us. Later his health declined and he was not able to go south for the winter.
In 2015 Kristal, her girls and l visited Dad here. Jayci, age 1 ½ who had never met him and was shy around strangers went to Dad immediately, hugging and loving him.
Dad was a quiet, self reliant man who helped others. He was mostly non- judgemental and tried to see the best in each person.
What we, his children learned from Dad - Patience, perseverance, kindness, honesty, a strong work ethic, diligence, always do your best, and quiet love.
We are BLESSED to have had him as our Dad and Friend.
GAYLER, KEITH GRANVILLE, of Thedford, passed away September 29, 2017 in his 93rd year. Predeceased by his wife, Margaret Gayler (1996). Loving father of Elsie (Martin) Oakes; Doreen (Rick) Windsor; Paul (Connie) Gayler; Cherished Grampa of Kevin (Alicia); Kristal (Drew); Tim (Marti); Joseph (Laura); Stephanie (Jarrod); Barbara (Josh); Christine (Peter). Great Grampa to Lindsay, Kalli, Marisa, Jayci, Joy, Hayden, Grayson, Ashton. Predeceased by siblings, Alex, Albert, Donald, Parson, Evelyn, Tom. Survived by sister Jean.
Born May 21, 1924 in Clarendon, Quebec. Keith enlisted September 11, 1942 in Parry Sound, Ontario and joined the Toronto Scottish Regiment as a Private MMG No. 1 Gunner. He was shipped overseas to France in World War II, where on May 22, 1943 he sustained an injury to his left leg and ear drum due to mortar fire. Keith returned to duty on August 15, 1943. Three of his brothers also served overseas in different regiments, one making the ultimate sacrifice. Keith earned $46.50 a month. Upon his discharge, he returned to Thedford, Ontario where he married his sweetheart, Margaret Fleming on November 10, 1945. They had three children, and raised their family while Keith worked as an electrician, plumber and carpenter up until his retirement.
Keith was a Life time member the Thedford Royal Canadian Legion Branch 278, and the last surviving veteran of his Legion Branch.
Visitation will take place on Tuesday, October 10th at Gilpin Funeral Chapel, 97 Victoria Street in Thedford from 5pm to 8pm. A full honours service will take place on Wednesday, October 11th at Gilpin Funeral Chapel in Thedford at 1pm, with Reverend Dr. Christine O'Reilly officiating.
In honour of the service to our country, and support of the Thedford Royal Canadian Legion, the family wish to have Memorial Donation to the Thedford Royal Canadian Legion Branch 278.
Please leave a memory or condolence online at www.GilpinFuneralChapel.com
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