Born in a time of plenty and raised during a time of tremendous challenge and change, Gordon Wark was a deep thinker who naturally appreciated the beauty and wonders around him. With an insatiable curiosity, and an ability to fix anything, Gordon centred his life in service to his family whom he treasured deeply. A proud husband, father, and grandfather, Gordon met life’s challenges with confidence and embraced his good fortune with much appreciation. Though he will be sadly missed, Gordon’s legacy will continue to live on in the hearts and lives of those who knew him best.
1928 continued to ride the decade’s roaring wave of peace, prosperity, and hope. As the post-war wave of sweeping social and economic growth rapidly increased, nowhere was there more hope for the future than in Arran Township as Garnet and Myrtle (nee Millman) Wark welcomed their son Gordon into their hearts and home on May 23.
The third of the Wark’s eight children, Gordon grew up with firm family values as modelled by his parents. His father, having served both the Canadian militia and Canadian Engineers, and his mother married in September of 1920 and made their home on a family farm. Gordon spent much of his childhood working both his family’s farm as well as many local farms. Like many youths of his generation, he attended public school through his elementary years but did not attend high school. Instead, he left school to work and help provide for his family. The family’s farm on the 2nd of Arran was home, job, and playground for Gordon and his siblings: Ross, Laverne, Ivan, Tom “Russell,” Bernice, Doreen, and Freda. It was also where Gordon forged the firm foundation upon which he built the rest of his life.
In time, Gordon began sailing on passenger ships on the Great Lakes. In 1943, after the sense of adventure wore off, and the work of being away from home became too taxing, Gordon returned home and began working at The Metzger Mill in Hanover.
Gordon was blessed with the good fortune of meeting Marjorie Helen Nickel during one of her weekend visits to her aunt and uncle’s, Pearl and Wally Gammie, near Tara. The young couple began dating and soon recognized their good fortune in finding one another. After dating for five years, they married on July 27, 1946, at Southampton Anglican Church and settled into their first home together in Southampton. Four years later, in 1950, they proudly welcomed their son Doug in 1950 into their family, and in 1954 completed their family when daughter Gwen was born.
After working for The Metzger Mill for seven years, the family moved to Southampton in 1952 where Gordon worked at Hepworth Company from 1952 until 1964. In 1964, they moved to Chesley where he worked for Heirloom Furniture until retirement in 1988.
While Gordon had many interests, his favourite place to be was outdoors. He loved to hunt and fish. Whether hunting deer, goose, and small game, or fishing, his endeavours were always most enjoyable when shared with his brother Tom. He had many canine companions along the way, but none outshined his favourite hunting dog, “Red Bone.” A natural tinkerer, Gordon could often be found working on a project; he loved the challenge of fixing stuff, and no challenge was too great for him to tackle. Another passion for Gordon was cutting grass; sometimes he’d cut multiple times a day. Yes, you read that right. His blades were always sharp and never out of place. Gordon was also one of the founding members of the Chesley Snowmobile Club which he belonged to for many, many years.
A man who valued the simple things in life, Gordon was never a picky eater. He loved the country music of his youth, and the family TV, aka the “babysitter,” could put him to sleep in an instant. Gordon and Marj enjoyed travelling and held their trips to Nashville, Tennessee, and Wheeling, West Virginia as particularly memorable. They were also able to take the trip of a lifetime to Hawaii in the late 70s. While these adventures were wonderful, Gordon also found spending countless evenings sitting on the porch, taking in the sights and sounds of the neighbourhood equally enjoyable. Gordon was known for his kindness and warmth; and while he had few very good friends, he knew everyone. When asking Marj what Gordon could do better than anyone else, she quickly responded, “He thought lots!”
Several weeks ago, on April 17, Gordon and Marj moved to Durham. Just four days after their move, Gordon suffered a severe stroke and moved to hospital where he remained until his death.
Clearly, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Gordon’s steadfast presence. May it afford comfort to know that each time we breathe in the wonder that surrounds us, cast our favourite lure, use our good senses to fix something that’s broken, or take to the woods with our canine companion we keep Gordon’s legacy alive. In this way, he will continue to inspire others as he so inspired us.
Gordon James Wark of Chesley, passed away after a brief illness at South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Chesley on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 in his 93rd year.
Beloved husband of 72 years to Marjorie. Loving father of Doug of Hanover and Gwen Kares (Dennis Laver) of R.R. #1 Elmwood. Gordon will be dearly missed by his grandchildren Dan (Trudy) Wark, Darrell (Catherine) Wark, Angie (Will) Kares and Tony (Megan) Kares as well as his great-grandchildren Ashel, Christopher, Jesse, Courtney and Tori. He will be fondly remembered by his sisters Bernice Strba of Walkerton, Doreen (Bev) Kirkland of Tara and Freda (Bruce) Hardy of Chatsworth. Gordon was predeceased by his brothers Ross, Laverne, Ivan, Russell and his parents Garnet and Myrtle (Millman) Wark.
A graveside service will be held at the Chesley Cemetery at a later date.
Memorial donations to the Chesley Hospital Foundation or Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.Send to friend