January 16, 1948 – June 13, 2020
George Aitkens passed away on June 13, 2020 at the age of 72. He is survived by Dave Brickwood, his spouse of 40 years, his sister Jan in the Philippines, his niece Mary in Toronto, his nephew Rob in Winnipeg and many close long-time friends, including all of the Waifs in various cities in Canada.
George was a dedicated English teacher at Kelvin High, retiring in 2015 after 25 years. He taught the International Baccalaureate (IB) program as well as regular English. He also presented training courses to IB teachers in the United States and Canada.
George loved to teach and loved his students. He enjoyed watching them grow, develop and become influential citizens all over North America. It was not unusual to run into former students all over Canada.
In addition to teaching, George lead student canoe trips, and created “Shakespeare in the Snow” where his students would not only have to put on a Shakespeare play but would have to manage a winter tug of war. He would do anything to help his students succeed. Students were expected to wear the academic robe when doing their presentations and heaven forbid if he found you with White Out. It would end up on Bruce the Moose’s antlers.
He loved to travel and visited most of Canada, some of the United States and much of Europe with his partner. Picking up little treasures on the trips and bringing them home to a now overfull house and cottage at Red Rock Lake.
George also loved to do projects, electrical, furniture refinishing and building. He loved his cottage and the property is decorated with his projects, both inside and out. He spent many happy summers and winters at the lake with his spouse, his friends and always a series of dogs, currently Rufus and Molly, two Airedale terriers.
He was a presence wherever he went, at school, in the Wolseley neighbourhood, at the lake and around the dining room table at his formal dinner parties. He will be missed by everyone. Wolseley and Red Rock will never be the same.
Due to the Co-vid pandemic restrictions, sadly the funeral service will be by invitation only.
In memory of George, we ask that people contribute to the Nora Taylor Scholarship Fund with the Winnipeg Foundation on line at https://www.mycharitytools.com/gift/wpgfdn/donate?fund=1173 . The fund provides scholarships to Kelvin Students every year.
We love you George and we miss you so much.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
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June 25, 2020
Rest in peace. Our condolences. He was a fabulous English IB instructor at Kelvin High School. His attitude was that school should be fun. It was.
June 23, 2020
I met George so long ago that the exact date has become fuzzy, like the moose slippers he wore during his leisure hours. Suffice to say, the meeting was in the Book Store at the U of M where George was holding forth on Shakespeare to an admiring group of young women who adored his humour, erudition, and golden locks. When my wife, who was one of the group of worshipers, introduced me to George, I was tempted to pierce his polished armour with a nasty verbal barb. However, I abstained when I realised that he was likely a master of repartee who would shred me with a volley of slings and arrows, which he did after we became good friends. I will miss you, and your insults, greatly, my friend.
Penny Jones Square
June 21, 2020
George has been my beloved friend for close to fifty years. We met while studying English together at the University of Manitoba in the early 1970s, becoming even closer friends in the eighties and remaining fast friends through to the end. I will forever cherish his raucous laughter, his kind spirit, his warmth, his brilliant mind and wit, his unstinting curiosity and love of life, his love for and delight in his dogs, and all the wonderful times we shared in lively conversation and in uncontrollable laughter. I will treasure the memories of our camping trips and cross-country skiing weekends, times shared at our home and at his and Dave’s and at their cottage at Red Rock, the movies we watched together, the books we discussed, and being together through so many life experiences—both happy and sad—and being always comforted by his friendship in difficult times.
George was loved by everyone with whom he came into contact; the light he brought into so many lives endures, and his huge presence persists, dispelling any feeling of absence. No one was more fundamentally intact, so essentially happy and content, and no one made me laugh harder. Right through the last week of his life, he remained positive and hopeful (he said to me that despite his many “afflictions” he still experienced moments of “pure joy every day”); his daily emails, as we bantered back and forth about his scooter (which he planned to race down my forest trails), were filled with his distinctive humour. He loved and was loved well by Dave, and by all who were so privileged to call him friend. He left us peacefully and as himself, and for this I am grateful. I grieve his loss as much for David and Bryn, who were loved by and who loved him dearly, as for myself. We will all miss him desperately but will carry on, knowing he is forever with us in our hearts. We will keep him close always through memory and devotion. Rest in peace, my dear friend.
June 21, 2020
When one thinks of George, we need to think coffee. It was always a top priority each day. I met George in the lineup to the coffee bar at the Arts reading room in the U of M. It was the beginning of a very long friendship. In the mid-70’s we spent many hours in that reading room and chatted over dozens of cups of coffee. As our friendship extended beyond the university campus we had many meals and drinks together at our various apartments in the Wolseley neighbourhood. There was many a trip down to Audrey’s Antiques to hunt for a new find in antique coffee making machines. One of George’s greatest discoveries was his double bubble coffee perc. It was something to watch, when it worked.
George’s need for coffee could result in some rather low standards, like using the shower water to make a cup of instant during a stay in Montreal.
One of George’s more recent buys was a machine that resembles a shock absorber. During a visit to Winnipeg he insisted Nancy and I try a coffee from this device. He did say he had trouble remembering how the parts fit together. Moments later he plunged the press and the next thing we saw was coffee flying in all directions: on us, the walls, and ceiling. We laughed until it hurt. A true George moment.
My lasting memory will be of him sitting at his desk, student papers everywhere, and his two-handed grip on his coffee mug.
We had many adventures together over the more than 40 years of friendship. Nancy and I will miss him so much.
Brian and Nancy
June 20, 2020
Mr Aitkens was my English teacher at Kelvin, he was also my sisters. I remember the day that I got a paper back from him and it had a A, my sister was so mad because she had never gotten an A in his class (he was a hard marker) and I was so proud that he thought my work was good enough to receive that kind of mark. I still brag about that A. He was a great enthusiastic teacher and he will be deeply missed!
June 19, 2020
I remember going on many canoe trips with George, Dave and other friends. George made everything more fun. He mocked my wilderness navigational skills nicknaming me 'Fliegel the Directionless and derided my portaging ability by calling me 'swampfoot'. George was the diametric opposite of a hunter and he surprised me when he said he wanted a moose on his wall. I didn't get it until he explained that he wanted me to help him sew one. Bruce the Moose was the end result, a very amateurish wall trophy, who spent time on his apartment wall before being a classroom mascot.
I have so many memories. It's going to be hard not having someone to ask grammar questions of or exchange humorous emails with. George, you were a friend for 43 years and I'll really miss you.
June 19, 2020
I taught with George at Kelvin and always joined him at Shakespeare in the snow as one of the winter activity crew. I considered him a close Kelvin family friend and colleague.
My partner Judy and I met Dave and George at home hardware one day , as they were shopping for one of George’s Projects. George was telling me that he and Dave were getting married, in part, so Dave could have legal standing and a say in George’s care if needed. George suggested that judy and I get legally married as he knew we travelled to the States to see Judy's dad very often. George did not want us to be in an emergent situation without one of us being able to speak for the other.
Judy and I married, in part, because of our conversation with George and Dave at home hardware.
I hold a special place in my heart for George because of this. My thoughts are with you, Dave, and all your family. I’ll never forget George. 💜