Thomas Garfield Gould

June 4, 1922January 10, 2015
Play Tribute Movie Play Tribute Movie

GOULD, Thomas Garfield "Garry" MC, CD

At the Montreal Neurological Institute on January 10, 2015 in his 93rd year. Born in Montreal, Quebec on June 4, 1922, son of Ora Gertrude Porter and William Pierce Gould. He grew up in Notre-Dame- de-Grace, and lived in Dorval, Quebec. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Gwendolyn Mae Williams, and the family includes Russell, Matthew, Ellen (Stewart), Havard (Helena), Derek (Christine), as well as four grandchildren, Gwendolyn, Nell, Margaret and Derren (Kimberley). He was retired from Wajax Industries Limited and as Honorary Colonel of the Sherbrooke Hussars Regiment, the successor regiment to the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment with which he served in WWII. The family is grateful to Dr. Jeffrey Wiseman and all the staff of the Royal Victoria Hospital and extended health care system for the many years of care that extended his life. Further thanks go to Amine Makhlouf for his dedicated assistance and home care. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Royal Victoria Hospital Foundation at Online condolences to Visitation 7-9 p.m. Friday, January 16, 2015 at Collins Clarke MacGillivray White, 222 Autoroute 20, Pointe Claire, Quebec, 514-483-1870. A private Funeral Service will be held with Interment to take place at the National Field of Honour in Pointe Claire, Quebec.

“Don’t back up,” Garry Gould was ordered in one of his operations in World War II. He never did. Not in tank battles and not in his life.

Thomas Garfield Gould never stopped moving and was always trying to push forward, either to meet challenges or to expend his unbelievable energy. He was a runner decades before it was popular, rising with the sun to do his miles along the lakeshore in Montreal. Later, he would do more miles by bicycle, determined to stay fit and able.

And, above all, moving.

Garry was born and raised in Notre-Dame-de-Grace, the second of three boys. Pierce, Garry and Keith would play hockey in the basement of their home, re-enacting the exploits of the Montreal Canadiens, whose games were played not far from where they lived, the boys often listening on the radio. His father, who worked in insurance, did not enjoy good health and died far too young.

During particularly hard times, Garry worked on a farm in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Amusements were few. He recalled he and others would encourage the farm’s dog to sneak up to birds on the field, then on a signal race after unsuspecting crows, which would frantically take flight. No bird was ever caught but the game entertained both dog and young men.

Throughout his life, Garry found humour. He had an endearing ability to make fun of himself. He was a proud man but always able to set that aside when he felt there was an opportunity to connect with someone with some self-deprecating stories.

He once described his experiences as a boy playing baseball in Montreal West, taking his spot behind the plate as catcher. Times were not easy, equipment was scarce and so he was playing without the benefit of a catcher’s mask.

“After the third foul tip off my head I decided that I was better off trying another position,” he said, inviting anyone listening to laugh at his boyhood follies.

That anecdote doesn’t do his humour justice. He would tell stories the way great hockey players “rag the puck”. He would throw out a clue about where he was going, using verbal and physical feints, hinting at the point then spinning off in another direction. The effect was mesmerizing. The listener would often start off amused by Garry’s engaging style, then become puzzled about the ultimate goal, then fully engaged in the story. Garry would then get the listener to talk about himself, listening with genuine interest and respect, a bond formed.

It was a signature of the man that he could connect in this fashion with almost anyone. When he was in his nineties, it was possible to get into a cab in Dorval and discover the driver not only knew Garry but spoke of him with affection, chuckling over “Mr. Gould’s game” of pretending to flee the cab to avoid paying the fare.

“I drive him often,” a cabbie once said. “He’s a good man.”

He did many good things, most of which he chose not to speak about.

He cared for his wife of 63 years. He cared for his children. He cared for his mother, his in-laws and relatives in need of support or encouragement. He raised money for the Salvation Army and, later in his life, became deeply involved with the Canadian Army.

Garry Gould was a genuine war hero, a young captain caught up in a ferocious tank battle in Europe. Circumstances forced him to take over one dark night and he led his forces with quiet authority until he was wounded. Decades later, at a reunion, a veteran would remember Garry’s calm, clear voice on the radio.

Garry Gould was awarded the Military Cross for his valour and leadership in trying circumstances, events which he did not discuss for many years. For decades, his children didn’t know he had been decorated by the King and when one accidently found out, Garry asked the child not to discuss the information.

His reasons only became clear later, when he spoke eloquently about his sadness for fallen colleagues, who did not have the chance to come home, enjoy peace, prosperity and families. He carried with him a deep sorrow for those who fell and an abiding sense that he was lucky, for he was sure others would have acted as he did, had they been given a chance. Rather than focus on his courage, he focussed on the sacrifices made by others.

Garry Gould was an emotional man. His children remember him as being choked up with both love and pride at key moments. They also remember that at many, many key moments, he was simply there. He would drop everything when needed, showing up when he felt his support or reassurance was needed.

His overabundant energy was a force his children had to reckon with. The man simply could not sit still. Garry was happiest when solving a problem for his kids. No problem was ever manufactured but some were preserved for his visits. He would be thrilled to be outside in freezing temperatures installing a runner on someone else’s stairs, half the neighbourhood helping and enjoying his company.

His greatest pleasure was helping others, whether that was making essential car parts or hockey tickets appear.

No summary of his life would be complete without his love of sailing, a passion he happily traded for the love of his family.

Garry won races and friends at the club. There are trophies that bear his name still on display. But he sold his boat to buy an engagement ring and family legend has it that he gave up sailing completely when his fifth child was born. He liked to say he “swallowed the anchor” for his family – something that was never said with regret. He kept his membership at the club, which became a gathering place for children and grandchildren. Perhaps symbolically, the doorknocker on the family home was a miniature anchor.

Later in life, after Garry retired, he decided to devote himself to remembering the sacrifices of others. He donated his time speaking to students about war. His experiences and thoughts have been preserved by The Memory Project, an organization dedicated to recording and honouring the efforts of Canadian veterans. This link leads to his page, where he can be heard recounting some of his memories.

Tributes poured in from all levels of the Canadian military after his passing. Garry had spent much time mentoring cadets and soldiers in his role as Honorary Colonel of the Sherbrooke Hussars, the successor regiment to the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment. But not everyone realized that Garry started his military career in the 1930’s with a Royal Montreal Regiment Cadet Corps that used to meet in NDG’s Trinity Memorial Church. Garry always maintained that he felt a little guilty that there were scratches in the pews from the Sam Browne belts they wore at the time.

In his business career, Garry was a professional salesperson in the truest sense of the word. He enjoyed meeting customers and solving their problems long before the phrase “business solutions” became popular. He was thrilled to be part of industry, excited to be at the centre of enterprise and, as has been said, loved by his customers.

What was most remarkable about this man was not how long he lived but how his spirit endured, undiminished, for decades. There was little grumbling about the problems of advanced years. Even in his final days he was still eager to get out of bed and trying to joke with the medical staff.

At 92, deeply ill, he playfully insisted to the amused medical staff that somehow, someone had the numbers reversed. He was 29, he maintained in a fading voice. And in a way, he always was.


  • Visitation Friday, January 16, 2015

Thomas Garfield Gould

have a memory or condolence to add?


February 5, 2016

Sincere Condolences from Francis Huijbrechts (Hoogstraten Heritage Association, Belgium). Garry was one of or liberators in 1944. Never forgotten.

thomas gould

April 7, 2015

so sorry to hear of your passing god be with you

Ginette & Daniel Arsenault

January 26, 2015

Sincere condolences from Ginette & Daniel Arsenault (1840, Forest, Dorval)

Ian and Beverley Rankin

January 19, 2015

My wife Beverley were unable to attend the visitation Friday. We would like to extend our sincere condolences to Gary’s family on his passing. We would like to tell you how much we appreciated Gary as a neighbour.
When I moved back to Stream Avenue in 1986 Gary took an interest not only in our young family but in several of the younger families moving onto the street. Our children enjoyed the gracious queries and pleasant conversation of the tall ‘Mr. Gould’, whenever he would stroll past our house on the sidewalk. An outgoing and friendly nature such as his are the foundation and the glue of the wonderful community we enjoy here.
In later years he would occasionally ask the children to do small jobs for pay. Always quick to praise and self-deprecating he would make people feel special. Over the years we saw him jog and walk regularly and it seemed his good health would hold forever, but alas no.
We want you to know that we will miss him too.

Barbara Welsford

January 17, 2015

Thank-you Uncle Gary for all the memories of all our cousins, aunts, uncles, in-laws, grandparents coming together for wonderful family fun in our early years. Rick and I both remember the tremendous help you provided us on our wedding day driving multiple times to and from the airport picking up family and friends. Your calm, your kindness, gentle smile and height:) will always be fondly remembered by all of us. Peace be with you. XO Barb, Rick and Mum as well.

Matthew Stevenson

January 16, 2015

Gwen, please accept my condolences to you and your family for Garry's death. He was an honourable man. He was so kind and supportive of my father when he was ill with dementia. It was always a pleasure seeing him at the R.St.L.Y.C. which I did often. He shall be missed. Sincerely,
Matthew Stevenson

Jeffrey George

January 15, 2015

My sincere condolences. I'm truly sad that I cannot attend the visitation. Col Gould was an authentic example of an officer and a gentleman. A truly generous and humble man who always belittled his feats of arms and truly enjoyed interacting with the Officers and senior NCOs, but especially with the troopers and corporals. As RSM I had the honour of escorting him often and as a Captain I will cherish his friendship and jocularity. Droit au But/In Hoc Signo Stabilitas

Joan Dinning McCammon

January 15, 2015

The Directors of the Maple Grove Heritage Foundation (MGHF) extend their deepest sympathy to the family of Thomas Garfield Gould. He was a loyal member and supporter of the MGHF whose mission was to restore and preserve Holy Trinity Church in Maple Grove Quebec, which was constructed in 1902 by Thomas R. Porter.

Trudy and Peter Vatcher

January 15, 2015

Our sincere condolences, Garry will be missed as a dear and trusted friend.

John Shone

January 15, 2015

I was fortunate to make Garry's acquaintance at the RMR where he joined us on many occasions, distinguishing himself with a boisterousness and joie de vivre normally associated with men 1/4 his age. As an example of his humility, I recall him thanking my generation for winning the Cold War (all, of course, without leaving hearth & home or firing a shot). One of Garry's qualities I most admired is one I associate with royalty and clergy: the ability to make everyone he met feel important. I hope to be like Garry one day.
My condolences to the entire family on their loss.