Neil Bardal Funeral CentrePhone: 204-949-22003030 Notre Dame Avenue WinnipegMBR3H 1B9 info@nbardal.mb.ca info@nbardal.mb.ca info@nbardal.mb.ca
MacKenzie Funeral Chapel | Phone: 204-467-2525 433 Main Street | Stonewall, MB R0C 2Z0 info@mackenziefh.com
Neil Bardal Funeral Centre | Phone: 204-642-7124 | 82 5th Street, PO. Box 1889 | Gimli, MB R0C 1B0 | info@nbardal.mb.ca

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Gordon Tovell

Gordon Tovell

Sunday, March 21st, 2021

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Obituary

Obituary for Gordon Charles Tovell

GORDON CHARLES TOVELL (December 27, 1939 – March 21, 2021)

Surrounded by his 4 children, his wife of 55 years, his dog Elvis, and a whole lot of love, Gord passed very peacefully into the arms of the angels on the evening of March 21, 2021. He fought so hard, but after a 20 year battle with cancer, he needed to rest. He was able to be at home for his last few days, and for that we are eternally grateful.

Gord was born in Winnipeg, MB on December 27, 1939. He moved to Selkirk as a young boy and spent his formative years there. He always considered Selkirk home and had many entertaining stories from the adventures he had with his friends and family in his early years. His parents, Charles and Violet Tovell, provided the foundation for his life-long connection to family and modelled a solid work ethic. He was lucky to have two sisters, Nadine and Debbie, whom he loved very much. He often talked about the time he spent at his Grandpa and Grandma Merrick’s farm in Glenella, MB and the wonderful memories of warm summers spent with the sense of freedom a child has when surrounded by nature and the love of extended family.

After high school he attended the University of Manitoba where he spent most of his time at St. John’s College. It was there that he met his best friend and life partner Lynne (nee Cosgrove). Both Lynne and Gord have very fond memories of their university days and made many life-long friendships that continue to this day.

Married on July 17, 1965, Lynne was the love of Gord’s life. They purchased their home on Harvest Lane in 1968 where they created a warm, loving environment for their four children, Jennifer Findlay (Reid), Nancy Tovell (Duane Millar), David Tovell (Andrea) and Jane Milne (Geoff). Growing up with Gord as a father was an adventure and life was to be experienced. The house was filled with pets, sports equipment, camping gear as well as neighbourhood children and adults alike. Gord was very social and formed strong friendships with many families in the neighbourhood whether through coaching sports teams, activities at Heritage Victoria Community Club, chats in backyards, breakfast groups and many neighbourhood parties. So many life-long friendships were created and the Harvest Lane/Valleyview connections that were made are still very evident to this day with the Scotts and Davidsons becoming part of our family.

Gord always considered himself fortunate to have chosen education as a career. He spent 31 years as both teacher and administrator in the St James-Assiniboia School Division. He was an original staff member of John Taylor Collegiate when it opened in 1964, and worked in 8 different schools as well as the Board Office over the course of his time in the division. During this time he forged very special friendships with a large group of fellow teachers and administrators who enjoyed each other’s company in both work and play. Gord maintained many of his school division friendships long past his retirement in 1995. Each week they would meet to have lunch and tell stories of the good old days. While he valued all of his relationships, most special to him was his original curling team that included John Proudfoot, Dennis Stefanson, and Chris O’Grady. They were all born in 1939, all administrators in the division, and were steadfast and true friends to one another. They spent over 30 years curling together and we have no doubt they are reunited now in Heaven and once again able to continue their traditions of late night meetings and general shenanigans.

Gord was a man of strong faith. He was a member of St Andrews Woodhaven Anglican Church since 1968 and held many roles as a leader in the church community during this time: Sunday School Superintendent, Lay Reader, People’s Warden, Rector’s Warden, and Honourary Warden. Christmas was his favorite time of year and he liked nothing more than to have as many members of his family gathered around as possible. His Christmas Eve parties on Harvest Lane are the stuff of legends and his reading of “Twas The Night Before Christmas” to his children and grandchildren is a tradition that will be carried on.
One of his favorite places on earth was the family cottage at Clear Lake. This was a haven for family time, which he cherished above all else, along with hiking, horseback riding, playing board games, and entertaining friends. These were golden moments for Gord. He enjoyed “rip-rapping”, Happy Hours, dog-walking, and storytelling with his many lake friends.

Another favorite spot was Destin, Florida where Gord and Lynne spent many happy retirement winters. Gord loved the white sands, warm sun, and cocktails with new and old friends who would gather on a regular basis.

He loved to take people on tours of his favorite places – whether it be at Clear Lake, Destin, Selkirk, Winnipeg, or St Andrews Church – if anyone indicated an interest in the area or Gord was aware you might not know all the spots of interest, he would have you on a tour before you even realized what was happening. An hour (or more) later you would have been updated on everything you ever wanted to know…and more!

Gord understood that throughout life, his most important job was as a husband and father. He was an active Dad, who fully participated in his children’s’ lives, whether through coaching their teams, long camping trips in the summers, attending all school events and later in life by being a listening ear and sounding board to help solve many life challenges. Over the past 18 years, this role evolved into being a Grandpa. And what a Grandpa he was! Whether it was watching his grandchildren compete in ringette, hockey, speed skating, soccer or softball, attending school concerts or award banquets, playing board games at the cottage, telling jokes, or tickling them on the couch, he was hands-on, active and so very proud of each and every one of them. They really were the light of his life. Teagan, Katie, Shae, Rya, Soren, Arlo, Bode, Airlie and Sienna will all carry his love in their hearts and share Grandpa stories for years to come. He loved them all very much.

Gord’s life revolved around making connections. Whether professionally or personally, he really enjoyed people. He would talk to anyone and was genuinely interested in others’ stories whether they were a server at a restaurant, the owner of a company, a colleague, or a friend of one of his children. He was inclusive, kind and often sought for advice on a variety of topics. He certainly had an influence on us all. He would want all of us to maintain these connections to one another. So in Gord’s memory, pour yourself a rum and Coke, put your arms around your loved ones, reach out, and connect.

Words cannot thank all of the wonderful caregivers Gord has had over the past 20 years in his cancer journey: Doctors Milner, Graham, Ogaranko and Anashara along with the nurses at Grace Cancer Care. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Cancer Care Manitoba, St. Andrews Woodhaven Anglican Church or the Ostomy Association of Manitoba. The family would also like to say thank you to all our friends and neighbours for the many cards, flowers, gifts of food, and messages of love that have been sustaining us through the grieving process. And to Rev Ian Mills for being with us on Gord’s final day as we sent him on his heavenly journey. You are all amazing and so appreciated. Gord loved you all.

"Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go. You have made my life complete, and I love you so."

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Ron & Marilyn Sigurdson

Lynne and family, please accept our sincere condolences on Gord's passing. Gord was a great guy who enjoyed life, his friends, his professional colleagues, but most of all his family. He will be greatly missed !
Ron and Marilyn Sigurdson
Comment | Posted at 11:17am via Condolence

Diane Eatough

Lynne and family
We are so sorry to hear about Gord’s passing. We enjoyed meeting with you and your family over the years.

Scott and Diane Eatough
Comment | Posted at 10:13pm via Condolence
ST

Sharon Tierney

Tom and I send our love and sympathies to you Lynne and your family. You and dear Gord were some of the first people we met when we moved to Winnipeg. Lots of great memories of times with you all. Gord was a gentle, caring, fun guy that we were so fortunate to have known. Hugs to you all.
Sharon and Tom Tierney
Comment | Posted at 06:16pm via Condolence
BE

Bonnie Eliuk

Lynne,
My deepest sympathies in the loss of your husband.
Comment | Posted at 03:17pm via Condolence
PM

Pat McBeth

Heartfelt condolences to the Tovell family from Pat, Bruce, Paul and Cheryl McBeth. We were so fortunate to know Gord as the principle of Assiniboine and Robert Browning elementary schools. My introduction as a parent in the school system was enhanced immensely by his caring ways.. Wonderful memories of getting to know him as an educator and a warm friendly person.
Comment | Posted at 11:41am via Condolence
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