A Celebration of Life: Garry Ronald Clement

This is our new baby ram, he was born yesterday morning as I was getting ready to leave for my Uncle Garry’s celebration.  After sitting with him for 5 minutes I decided to name him Garry because of his kind and gentle nature.  I thought it was only fitting since we welcomed him early that morning and yesterday afternoon we said goodbye to his namesake.

Garry the Ram

Like I mentioned, yesterday was the funeral of my amazing, loving, wonderful Uncle, Garry Ronald Clement.  He was a treasure to anyone that knew him and his celebration was full up, standing room only.

Garry Ronald Clement

There are so many people who were there to share in his wonderful achievements but there were also a few very close family and friends that were unable to make it so with the permission of Garry’s family, I would like to share details of his service for all to enjoy.

First of all, I would like to commend the Stettler Funeral Home for a beautifully executed service.  It was a wonderful setup that was planned with much care and attention.  Together with my Uncle Garry’s lovely wife, my Auntie Barb, and their three gorgeous daughters, Camille, Sheila and Tanya and their families, it was nothing short of amazing.

I love my family.  The Clement family puts the ‘we’ in awesome and I am privileged to be one.  Seeing all the people I love and care for is always bittersweet on a day like this but our family keeps their chins up and their arms open so we hug it all away.  We all entered the auditorium to a beautiful display of floral arrangements and a great picture of our smiley Uncle Garry.

The Reverend, Ross Helgeton, greeted us with warmth and my Uncle Allan began his eulogy.  He shared wonderful stories about growing up together with Garry and Roger and how they were always being boys – fighting over dishes, putting heads through walls, jockeying for the best sleeping spot in the one bed the three of them shared!  Always happy to go where the wind blew, Garry was pleased with wherever his brothers wanted to lead him.

After the giggles Uncle Allan allowed us, Uncle Garry’s great-niece Stephanie got up to sing the hymn “In the Garden”.  I cried.  If there was anyone that wasn’t crying in there, their tear ducts are clearly plugged because she has such a beautiful voice she could make angels weep.  It was incredible.

Garry and Barb’s three daughters got up to speak after this and just like each of their personalities, their speeches were unique and relevant.  Cami talked about making her Dad proud and having his memory live on forever in her because she IS her father’s daughter (if not her father himself); Sheila spoke about everything her Dad taught her – dancing, lawnmowing, roof-shingling and carrying on his tradition of “popcorn and floats” on Friday nights; Tanya, about being Daddy’s little girl and how he showed her the importance of a sexy car and athletics in your life.  All three of you are beautiful, kind and caring just like your Dad and it is very apparent that he is your hero.

After hearing all these great stories we were given the opportunity for an open mic.  Garry’s brother-in-law, D’Arcy McKay, had a great story about how he gallantly relented when Garry stole his big sister Barb from him in 1968 to get married.  Late on Friday night after his plane landed from Portland (coincidentally at the exact same time the Farmer, the Daughters and I would have been there arriving home from Arizona) he drove to Stettler in the early hours of the morning being led by the light of the moon.  He said he immediately realized it wasn’t just the moon that was lighting his way, it was Garry holding a flashlight steady so he could get his tired body home to Stettler.

I worked up the courage to stand and speak next.  I told a story about selfless and caring Uncle Garry and his quest for a John Deere sprinkler that I wanted to give my soon-to-be father-in-law as a birthday present.  He tracked that thing down after it was long sold out and then mailed it to me with about 27 postage stamps attached.  There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for family.  I recalled my wedding and his mad dancing skills too; all three of those Clement boys had the gift of golden shoes, especially Uncle Roger when Aunt Bonnie wasn’t tripping him.

After me, my cousin Kaylon got up and spoke about a family trip to the Eskimos game where she and my Uncle Lionel cheered for the Stampeders (traitors) and Garry and Tanya cheered for the Eskimos (hoorah!).  Apparently Lionel and Garry grabbed a cheerleaders calendar “by accident” and were paying more attention to it than the game.  All laughs all the time, you were definitely smiling on us yesterday UG.

Lastly, Garry’s neice Susan spoke of her childhood memories with Tanya and her personal service as her bodyguard.  She was in the area this past June and decided she wanted to stop in and see Uncle Garry and Auntie Barb and was so happy she made that decision.

When our stories were over we were treated to another amazing song by Stephanie, “Thank You” by Johnny Reid.  It was beautiful and made me cry again.  She has a wonderful voice and is phenomenally gorgeous and talented.  Even at six months pregnant she sang wonderfully.  Props to her because I had a hard time just talking.

Reverend Ross then got behind the lectern and shared with us his introduction to Garry through Garry’s mother-in-law, Elaine McKay.  He spoke about how he could never stop in to chat with Garry during the normal visiting hours in the hospital because he always had someone else in there with him since he was so popular!  He talked about how we only notice hope when we’re thrust into times of hopelessness but that hope is always here all around us and to embrace our faith when we are in times of need.  Life is a beautiful gift and unfortunately for our bodies, it has to end sometime but our spirits live on forever.

Next, we were treated to a beautiful slideshow, I don’t have those photos but I found these ones in my collection and wanted to share them.  If anyone has any others they’d like to share, please feel free to send them to me and I will gladly add them to the posting.

Mayor Clement
Donalda Centennial Parade 2012, Past Mayors Car

Clement Hardware
Donalda Centennial Parade 2012, Clement Hardware, 55 years

Uncle Roger Uncle Garry
Brothers Garry and Roger, Kim and Dave’s wedding 2006

Cami and Roger
Garry’s Brother Roger and Daughter Camille, Kim and Dave’s wedding, 2006

Mom Uncle Garry
Dancing machine!

El Centro Happyhour
January 2007, El Centro Happy Hour with Alex, Brian, Allan and BJ

Feb6-08
February 2008, Arizona

2008reunion
Clement reunion, 2008

Feb10-09
February 2009, Dinner with Bob, Lynn, Cliff and Auntie Irene

Feb09
February 2009, Oilers vs. Coyotes in Phoenix

April2010
April 2010, Coyotes Game

DSC03193
Clement reunion 2011, Jenn and Uncle Garry

DSC03195
Clement Reunion 2011, Lionel and Garry

DSC03291
Clement Reunion 2011, Garry, Barb, Camille, Sheila and Tanya

DSC03289
Clement Reunion 2011, The Clement Family

Lastly, we were all given a glass of cider to toast Uncle Garry with.  A fitting tribute to a kind, generous, loving, caring, compassionate, warm-hearted, jovial man whose energy will be missed but whose spirit lives forever in our hearts.

After the toast the congregation gathered for refreshments and reminiscing and were treated to a large display of Garry’s Edmonton Oilers memorabilia and photos that Cami, Sheila and Tanya put together.  As I looked at everything, I thought back to the last time I visited Uncle Garry too.  It was back in July and I went down to Bashaw with Nana and Uncle Darryl and like Susan, I cannot begin to explain how happy I am I was able to go.  He was his usual smiling self, forever happy even though he was clearly in pain from his broken arm.

The five of us sat and talked and almost left and talked some more and almost left again but started up another conversation and finally were ready to say goodbye after another 2 hours of conversation (you’re right Uncle Allan, he always wanted just one more nightcap).  As we were saying goodbye, I threw my arms around him and gave him two big long hugs.  After that, I kissed him and told him I loved him.  He looked surprisingly back at me and said with that famous chuckle “I love you too dear”.  I am SO GLAD I was given the opportunity to tell him I loved him just one last time.  You will never know when your one last time will be so MAKE SURE you share your love every time you see the cherished ones in your life.

Yesterday on my way home I was given the most beautiful sunset.  It peeked and dipped on the horizon for about 10 minutes until I pulled over and said “I see you Uncle Garry and I’m stopping to take your picture”; I got a really good one too, he even smiled back at me over the hay field.

sunset

I said goodbye to my Uncle Garry yesterday but like the setting sun he’ll rise in my heart again tomorrow; it’s not goodbye forever, just until we meet again.  ALL my love and adoration to you and our wonderful family, Kimberly.

Eulogy of Garry Ronald Clement

“Garry Ronald Clement was born to Winston and Freda Clement in Stettler, Alberta on December 19, 1940 and passed away February 16, 2014 in Stettler, Alberta at the age of 73 years.  Garry attended school in Donalda, Alberta until Grade 11 and then transferred to Lindsey Thurber High School in Red Deer, Alberta for his remaining 2 years.  He was chosen to travel to England as a Queen Scout and did so very proudly.  He then returned to work in the CIBC Bank in Donalda for 2 years before joining his Dad in the Hardware Business in 1962.

In 1966, Winston and Garry became partners and operated as Clement Hardware.  It was also at this time that Ashdown Hardware sold to Acklands Ltd. and they started the Sunset Group.  Then in 1972, Acklands closed the Sunset Chain and Clement Hardware then used Walter Woods Co. as its main supplier.  In 1976, Link Hardware was founded so they joined that chain until 1981 when Link amalgamated with Home Hardware.

In 1968, when he met Barbara they were united in marriage and began their family raising three beautiful daughters: Camille, Sheila and Tanya. Barbara and he took over operation of Clement Hardware as a husband-wife team in 1981.  They operated the business until 1994 in Donalda and then moved the Home Hardware Franchise to Bashaw, Alberta. Garry and family lived in Donalda for the majority of years before him and Barb moved to Bashaw in 2004 and then to Stettler in October 2013.  Garry retired from the Hardware Business in 2005 after 43 years of service.

Outside of work, Garry was involved in many outside curricular activities including being the Mayor of Donalda for 10 years, various positions including President, Secretary and Treasurer for the Curling Club, Lions Club, Ag Society, Bashaw Chamber of Commerce and Alberta Future’s Committee.  He also served as the curling club’s draw master and icemaker for numerous years and, of course, participated in the sport himself at every chance.  He travelled and competed in many bonspiels throughout Alberta.

Garry later went on to enjoy the sport of golfing.  He was a member of the Bashaw Golf and Country Club for many years eventually serving as a Director on that committee as well.  Although Garry’s number one passion was his family, he could also be seen catching the odd Edmonton Oilers and Eskimos games when the opportunity presented.

Garry will be commonly remembered for his good nature and compassion for everyone alike.  If he could help anyone, he would always give it his best.”

Sign the Stettler Funeral Home: Guestbook for Garry Ronald Clement
Feel free to leave any comments or photos here for the family as well.

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7 thoughts on “A Celebration of Life: Garry Ronald Clement

  1. Im really blessed to have have met Tanya and in return met Garry and the rest of this awesome family. I didn’t get to know Garry too well because of me being shy and just under the circumstances, but I found him to be as everyone has said, a really nice, kind man that one could only like. I find that his kind ways and heart reached out to all the family members that I have met so far and that’s so cool. Im happy to have spent the time with him that I did cause he taught me a lot about the most important thing in life, and that’s family. Thank you for taking the time to do this in remembrance for Garry and the family.

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    • Thank you so much for the kind words Greg, I appreciate them greatly! Everything you’ve said about Uncle Garry is spot on too, I’m thankful you were able to have him in your life. You’re a solid support for Tanya and you’re both fortunate to have each other. Looking forward to meeting you!

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  2. Kim, I didn’t know your Uncle, but the way you have written your blog makes me feel like I have known him all my life. This is so beautifully written, and sometimes I believe you may have missed your calling. I love you lots. Mum

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  3. Kim: Your writing is heartfelt. I don’t live in the Donalda- Stettler area anymore but I knew your uncle and his family. He was a presence of kindness. I had a visit with him in the hospital in Stettler in January. I am so happy that I had that time with him. As a nurse myself, I felt he was peaceful. The disease didn’t take anyway his kindness or smile. I wasn’t in the country and unable to attend his celebration of life but I am pleased I found your writing. He truly was one of Gods Gems. He left behind legacy of smiles and kindess . Take care.

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  4. Having grown up and went to school in Donalda, I had the privilege of knowing of being associated with Garry through school and later was a member of the Donalda Pilsnors baseball team, which Garry managed. I couldn’t agree more with your post, with regards to your Uncles life. He was a very stable even tempered man, who always went about whatever task, he tackled, in his own quiet way. He was far to young to be taken from the living on this earth.
    RIP.

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