Richard (Dick) Gessner was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan on January 11th, 1938 to Helen and William (Bill) Gessner. He was fifth of the six children that they shared and, although they were not wealthy folk, they had one another, and were happy. Dick passed away peacefully in the McCreary Personal Care Home, on September 3rd, 2021 at the age of 83 years.
Memories of my Uncle Dick were ones where he was always smiling. He loved to laugh, tease, and had an excellent sense of humor. He was a good man to have on your side in a game of crokinole, and generally made time spent together a lot of fun, but he had a sombre side too, and was one of the most gentle, caring individuals I’ve ever known.
As a young lad, Dick did well in education, graduating with top honors from high school. He was always an avid reader, collecting hundreds of books throughout his lifetime, mostly westerns and adventure stories. He was athletic in those days, excelling in sport, most notably baseball and badminton, where he competed provincially during his school years.
As a man, Dick wore many hats. For a time, he was employed in an asbestos mine near the tiny town of Cassiar, in northern British Columbia. He also worked with his oldest brother Ed at a salt mine in Lindbergh, Alberta, and, while living in Edmonton, Alberta, became a fine bricklayer whose talents at the trade were much sought after. However, he gave all that up when his mother needed extra help in Battleford, and he returned home to care for her until her death in 1986.
It was at that time that he went to live with his brother Don Gessner in Sifton, Manitoba. They were an inseparable pair and together spent many years working as carpenters in and around the area. I recall one story where they had been hired to renovate a cabin beside a lake that teemed with trout. Each day, before work, the brothers would carefully string fishing lines off the pier. By the time supper rolled around, they always had fresh fish to fry and enjoy. Life was simple, and good.
Dick was an avid fisherman and hunter. He spent many happy hours with Don as they fished and hunted geese, and they were both instrumental in teaching my sons, Justin and Chris, the finer points of each sport, whether I liked it or not. Dick loved being in nature and went for many wilderness rambles, his walks sometimes ending up at the local bingo hall, twenty miles from home.
In October of 1999, Dick and Don were proud to receive the Master Angler Award for catching a 43 inch Northern Pike at Sifton Beach. It took their combined efforts to land the fish, and it remains to this day, stuffed and shellacked for posterity on a plaque inscribed with their names.
Dick was a dog lover. He had many furry friends over the years and doted on them. They accompanied him everywhere as his closest companions and confidents. He often told me that, “Dogs are far better company than people.” Nevertheless, he loved his family dearly.
Left to mourn his passing is only one brother, Harold Gessner and many nieces and nephews across Canada. He was predeceased by four siblings: sister Ellen (my mother), Edward, Jesse, and Don.
We will miss your laughter, cheerful optimism, ability to recall the words to every song written before 1972, and even your awful peanut butter and onion sandwiches. You will never be forgotten Uncle Dick. We love you.
Special thanks for their care and support goes to the Home Care workers who attended him when he lived at Golden Harbours in Sifton, and also to the staff at the McCreary Personal Care Home. We appreciate all you did for Dick.
Also, we wish to thank Pathways Funeral home in Dauphin, MB, for their kindness and assistance during this difficult time.
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