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Gordon Blair Tanner
26 mars 1954 – 31 mai 2021
It is with heartfelt sorrow that we announce the passing of an incredible man, Gordon Blair Tanner aged 67, in Chilliwack, British Columbia on May 31st, 2021.
For those of you who were lucky enough to know him, you already know how good a man he truly was. For those of you who didn’t, we’re so sorry you missed out. He was the kindest, nicest, most humble man you’d ever meet, truly one of the good guys. He had a calm, quiet presence about him and touched many lives. The number of people who loved and cared about him is a true testament to the kind of man he was.
He is survived by his loving wife of 44 years Carolyn(MacDonald) and their two wonderful children; daughter Katherine(Kevin), son Matthew(Kyla) and loving grand-daughter Desiree(Colin). He is also survived by his sister Valerie(Frank Mackley), brother Fraser(Janet), brother Jimmy(Colleen) as well as his many loving nephews and nieces. He was predeceased by his father Archibald Fraser Tanner, his mother Eunice Winnifred Tanner(Massiah) and sister Dianne Dowe.
Gordon was born on March 26th, 1954 in Sydney, Nova Scotia(Cape Breton Island). Gordon graduated with honors from Sydney Academy High School. While at Sydney Academy he also met the love of his life Carolyn. Gordon attended the College of Cape Breton where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English/Psychology. He studied through his lunch breaks while working long nights at the Sydney Steel Plant to pay for his tuition. He obtained a Bachelor in Education from St. Francis Xavier University and then lastly received a Degree in Special Education from McGill University.
We are so very proud of Gordon and his many accomplishments throughout his career. He initially began as an Elementary and High School Teacher followed by time as a school Principal. His first teaching job in 1976 brought him to Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba, a place he taught for 5 years and one that held a special place in his heart. He was fluent in English, French and learned to speak a great deal of Ojibwe. Incredibly he had over 44 years of public service, 41 of which were spent with the Federal Government and 38 with the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) with a real focus on education. Gordon had a passion for teaching and was dedicated in his pursuit of helping others. Whether it was helping someone learn to read, write, graduate or learn a trade, he wanted to help others succeed and rise above. His career with CSC took him from coast to coast starting in 1981 at Dorchester Institution, New Brunswick and finishing at Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford, British Columbia.
It’s hard to believe it was only a short 15 months ago that he retired as the Assistant Warden of Management Services at Matsqui Institution in March of 2020. We are particularly proud of the work Gordon accomplished in bringing people together in a spirit of inclusion to reduce hate, violence and racism within an institutional environment. He was recognized for this work when he received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal from Lieutenant Governor Iona Campagnolo in 2002.
Gordon had an appreciation for the arts, literature and poetry, especially Shakespeare. He enjoyed music greatly, both listening and playing. He played guitar in a band in High School and continued to play throughout his life. He was an avid outdoorsman with an incredible love for nature. He loved to set up camp and relax at the many lakes around 100 Mile House. One of his favourite things to do after a long day at work was to boot up to Cultus Lake for some kayak fishing. He could also often be found fishing for trout on one of his many favourite lakes or angling for salmon along the Fraser and Vedder River. Gordon had a love for sports, particularly baseball and hockey. He was a lifelong Toronto Blue Jays fan and never seemed to miss a Vancouver Canucks game. The last game he attended with his son was the retirement of the Sedins jersey numbers on February 12th, 2020.
Gordon passed away after a very long, courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. It took so much from him, but what it never took from him was his marvelous sense of humour or his deep devotion and love for the Lord as well as his family. He truly was an incredible husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, coworker and dear friend to so many. He was unwavering in his care for those who mattered most to him. They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to know them and an entire life to forget them. He will forever be missed, we love you Gord.
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.” (As You Like It, Act 2 Scene 7).
***There will be no immediate memorial service held due to the ongoing pandemic. We ask that in lieu of sending flowers people please make donations, if they so wish, in support of Pancreatic Cancer through the Canadian Cancer Society.***
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Gordon Blair Tanner
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22 juin , 2021
Dear Carolyn and family,
We are very sorry for your loss. Gordie was funny, smart and you sparkled when you were with him (as I remember in the days out at the bungalow).
Carolyn, we wish you strength, courage and love in the difficult days ahead and hope your memories help carry you through. Thinking of you.
Mary Jean, Ross and Jennifer XXO
11 juin , 2021
Every once in a while you encounter someone in your workplace who quietly goes about doing their good work without anything but kindness and compassion for others leading them forward. For me, this was Gord. A true gentleman, who greeted all with a warm smile and an interesting story. My deepest condolences to his friends and family.
11 juin , 2021
To Gord's family; I don't have to tell you what a wonderful person Gord was...you know better than any of us. Gord and I worked closely for many years and he was a mentor and a friend.
We shared many a giggle over things that happened in our work environments. He was always someone I could depend on for information or sound advice. I learned something new from every conversation I had with him as he was a wealth of knowledge on so many topics.
I will miss him and feel very fortunate to have had him as a colleague for so many years. Rest well Gord.
11 juin , 2021
I was very sad to hear of Gord's passing... the World truly lost a rare gentleman that day. I was always impressed by his positive outlook, work ethic, and his willingness to share. I often stopped by to see him when I needed my spirits buoyed as he always had a funny story or bit of wisdom to pass on. My thoughts are with his family and friends during this time.
9 juin , 2021
Spent many hours in Gord's office talking about life in CSC. He was a huge support for me at work. He was encouraging and made me feel needed. He was a good man a good friend. I was honored to take pictures of him at work and his retirement!
Anna and Marshall Gaston
8 juin , 2021
Dear Carolyn. I just heard of Gord’s passing. Brought back lots of good memories of the early days of Atlantic. Of course we lost touch once you moved to the west coast, and we have been retired for 10 years so are even more out of touch now. We want to offer you our sincere condolences. You married a good man. But you know that. He will be missed on both coasts.
8 juin , 2021
Gord and I were both born in Sydney, NS in 1954 and attended Sydney Academy. He went on to St. FX and I went to Dalhousie. In 1981 we both ended up working in CSC at Westmorland (Dorchester) Institution. Even though we grew up in the same town, I actually got to know Gord when we worked for CSC. By coincidence, following working in the Atlantic Region, we ended up later in our careers working together in the Pacific Region. I will always remember Gord as a very nice guy. Always fair and competent in his dealings with both offenders and colleagues. I am sad he did not get the long retirement he deserved. He will be missed by many.
8 juin , 2021
Gordie was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and brother in-law. I remember my first trip to visit Gordie and my sister Carolyn in Little Grand Rapids. It was an incredible trip and Gordie and myself made many memories fishing on the Dog Skin River with the Chief's son. We caught a lot of fish and loved every minute of it. Myself and my family in Cape Breton are going to miss this all round great guy. Love Jay.
7 juin , 2021
I still cannot believe that Gord is not with us anymore. I had the privilege of working with Gord at Matsqui Institution for the last 30+ years. He is without a doubt an absolute gentleman and so kind and caring. Gord and I shared many memories and lots of laughs over the years. Gord you are deeply missed and to know you is to adore you. Rest in peace my dear friend.
2 juin , 2021
So sorry Carolyn to hear of Gordy's passing. My sincerest condolences to you and your family.