August 28, 1942 – June 27, 2020
With the deepest sorrow, we announce the passing of a beloved husband and father, cherished brother, uncle, cousin and friend to many.
Survived by his loving wife Lorraine (Drinkle), son Christopher (Laura), sisters Lois, Susan, Tricia, nephew Gordon Shaffer (Nicole, Lauren & Sam).
Born in Fort William and educated in Winnipeg, he landed his first on-air job in Lloydminster, later moving to CKOM Radio Saskatoon, hosting “Gord Browne With The Best Music In Town” and meeting his future wife Lorraine working at the same station. He was later with CFQC and CBC Saskatoon, before transitioning into the fundraising field with Saskatchewan Abilities Foundation and finally as Executive Director with the Canadian Kidney Foundation, Montreal. On relocating to Victoria BC in 1992, he held fundraising positions with Glenlyon School and the S.P.C.A. before retiring. to Qualicum Beach in 2002.
A lifelong outdoorsman and nature lover, he fished anywhere he could drop a line, summer or winter. Rather than hunting animals, he would set up a “blind” in pre-dawn hours to photograph them. His photos portray sensitivity and reverence for all living beings, including his own pets and those in need. He was vocal about saving nesting birds from roaming cats. He delivered abandoned seals to the waiting arms of wildlife officials, ushered bugs from indoors to outdoors, kept a leash and dog treats in his car in case he came across a missing dog and is the only man we know who tended to orphan kittens at the SPCA on Christmas morning.
He was an adventurer, piloting his single-engine Champ he built the wings for, to fly-in breakfasts, kayaking through the Broken Islands, hiking the Cape Scott Trail with son Chris and most recently realizing his dream of owning a sailboat, the Zephros.
A vintage car and motorcycle enthusiast, Gord spent endless hours refurbishing vintage motorcycles and tinkering on his yellow Volkswagon bug.
With a mind and memory for detail and precision, he seemed able to turn his hand to any project, meticulously fixing things, building decks and fences and renovating the 1932 cottage, he and Lorraine called their retirement home.
Gord was a published travel writer and photographer with stories about his far-flung journies to far-away places including the Alamo and the Magdalen Islands. He most recently completed screen-writing courses and was working on several scripts, including one focused on his passion for saving elephants.
One sunny morning he slipped his kayak into the waters of Nanoose Bay for a paddle, stopping at a farm he discovered along Stewart Road to pick up veggies for supper. Seeing a charming farm stand and sprawling fields at the end of the driveway, he was smitten and a long conversation with the owners proved to be fortuitous. Arriving home full of enthusiasm, he declared “and I start tomorrow!” This would be the beginning of a warm and enduring friendship with Barb and Lorne Ebell and outdoor seasons full of seedlings, transplanting and irrigation repairs.
His enthusiasm for living life to the fullest was only exceeded by his pride in his son’s accomplishments and their adventures together.
Always in touch with his former Winnipeg buddies, Gord also cared for his parents Stanley and Anne as they aged, hosting many family gatherings with his three appreciative sisters.
At the time of his passing, he was a member of The Qualicum Beach Resident’s Association and Vancouver Island Animal Training Association.
We will celebrate the exemplary life of this remarkable man with a private outdoor gathering in the farm fields he loved so much and treasure his memory of a life well-lived.
Our family expresses its deepest gratitude for Gordon’s care, to the doctors and nurses at Nanaimo General Hospital Emergency Department and Palliative Care.
Donations in Gordon’s name, may be made to a charity of choice.
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