Monday, March 21, 2011

A Tribute To My Father, 1919-2008

Dad passed away three years ago today. It was Good Friday (try to find a more fitting day for my father) and we were a part of the Passion Play that our church presents each year.  When we got home there was a message on the answering machine from my sister indicating that Dad had had a stroke and was not in good shape. 

By the time I got through to my sister, Dad had passed away.  It was a bit of a shock to say the least. He was 88 and living in a retirement home in Parry Sound.  He had gotten to the point of not being able to care for himself, in his own home, but was still enjoying fairly decent health, considering his age.

 The following is the eulogy that I wrote and delivered at his funeral.

George Newton Hosick,
May 22, 1919 – March 21, 2008

George Newton Hosick was born on May 22, 1919, eighth living child of John and Minnie Hosick. One of the childhood rituals that the family all talk about was the trip back and forth to school, a distance of three miles one way. In the winter when the lake was frozen, the children could ski across the lake which shortened their journey considerably.

George came to a strong faith at about the age of sixteen, and like every other facet of his life, he embraced this faith fervently and has so ever since. This faith made a decision very difficult a few years later. World War II called George to defend his country. His religious beliefs must have raged mightily with his patriotic feelings. I’m certain, torn in his spirit, he headed overseas. While there were emotional scars, Dad has born physical effects of the war since those awful days. The constant bombardment of artillery robbed him forever of a large portion of his hearing.

Dad was a member of the 19th Field Regiment Battery of the Royal Canadian Artillery, which supported the 3rd division. Dad was a bombadeer 105 mm r operating guns on landing craft tanks. He was there on the banks of Normandy on D. Typical of Dad’s self deprication was his reply “ I was no hero, but I wasn’t as scared as I thought I might be.”

The fall after Dad returned from overseas, he and Mom started seeing each other. This meant that Dad had to walk from his parent’s home in Dunchurch to the Patterson farm in Sunny Slope to see his sweetheart. Always a lover of flowers, he would carry an armful of gladioli for Dorothy. Within a month they were engaged and the following August 2nd, 1947, they were married at the Patterson farm.

George and Dorothy purchased the farm from her parents. For the first years of their marriage, they shipped cream from a small dairy herd. Also Dad raised sheep, beef cattle and operated a sizeable maple syrup enterprise.

Dad was offered a job with the Lands and Forest Department, planting trees. Because he was a good worker and conscientious, he became a foreman in charge of the Junior Rangers, among other endeavours. For several years Dad worked virtually full time off of the farm. However in the 1980’s, the ministry began cutbacks and work became scarcer and available only at greater and greater distances. An opportunity arose for a janitor at the Whitestone Lake Public School. For the last five or six years of his working life, he kept Whitestone Lake Central School spotless.

After selling the farm to their sons, Mom and Dad moved to Dunchurch in 1982. They remodeled the former Dunchurch Gospel Chapel that we attended for years. Retirement was kind to my parents. They enjoyed good health for many years and were able to take several trips with other seniors across the country and over to Europe. Dad had time to grow tremendous vegetable and flower gardens.

Retirement also gave Dad time for his other passion – fishing. He particularly enjoyed his snowmobile and his three wheeler which made him able to get to those far away secret lakes where the big ones lay waiting his arrival. Dad also liked to hunt. He enjoyed partridge, and duck hunting, as well as moose and deer. When he retired, he made several successful forays into the far north, with the younger set, hunting for moose. 
Dad was always extremely devout in his faith and the backbone of the Gospel Chapel. Dad’s faith spilled over into his everyday life. He read a chapter of the Bible three times daily, aloud to the family and every morning, would pray.

Mom and Dad were married 55 years. Theirs was a strong marriage and I know they truly loved each other. There are many love letters, which they exchanged during their brief courtship. Mom was working in Orillia, and Dad was working in the bush in Whitestone for Jim Stickland.

Dorothy passed away nearly five years ago on April 4th 2003, after a valiant battle with cancer. While George certainly missed his life-mate, he was able to carry on very well for several years, batching it, along with his son John, who came for supper most nights. He became quite adept at cooking and looking after himself.

George loved music He loved to sing though, and he knew numerous hymns off by heart, and often would entertain the nurses and caregivers with his impromptu renditions. Apparently he made that remark that he was practicing to be ready to sing with the angels. George loved to visit and talk with family, friends and neighbours. The front door was always a revolving one, with someone constantly dropping in for a chat or a meal, or just to see how he was doing.

George was never concerned with worldly possessions. He did love to fish and hunt, and was always of lovers of his flowers and vegetable patch, and he loved nothing better than a good home-cooked meal and an evening with friends. So what does he leave as a legacy: four children and four grandchildren, who loved him and a multitude of neighbours who called him friend. George will always be remembered for his wit, his laughter, his humility, his faith, his loyalty, his devotion, his love.

The spring before he died. Yes he caught all three pickerel himself.  He was so pleased.  My wife took this shot and I think she really captured the essense of Dad in it.

This is the last picture I have of Dad and I together.  It was taken at Christmas time before he died.  

Often if something interesting happens in life, I get that urge to go and telephone Dad and tell him about it, and then I remember that is no longer an option.  Dad was a good little man, and I will always miss him, but am thankful for the wonderful memories I have of him.

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.


  1. Your Dad looked like a wonderful guy! I love the photo of him with his fish. What a lovely memorial post.


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