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Earl Harris

November 5, 2023

Earl Harris Obituary


On Sunday, November 5, 2023 after a short illness, Earl passed away at Grace Hospice.  Earl was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Gladys, in 2003.

Earl and Gladys are survived by daughters Louise Bloomfield (Les), Terry Harris (Ken Carnegie), grandchildren Jenna Anhill (Dave), Jeff Rempel, Marli Sakiyama (Kirk) and Kevin Sakiyama, great-grandchildren Darci, Parker, Kishio and Hiroko. Earl was predeceased by his 2 brothers, Stan and Bill, and is survived by his youngest brother, Ron.

Earl and Gladys had special and close relationships with many nieces and nephews. Earl’s brother’s children, were very close and loved, Kirk, Kevin, Kent, Shawna, and Gary and Gladys’s nieces, Sylvia and Dorothy.

Earl was born on May 20, 1927 in Swan Lake, Manitoba where Earl’s father, Everette, was a grain buyer. Earl attended school in Indian Springs, where his oldest brother Stan and him, travelled by dog sled to school in the winter. In approximately, 1943, the family moved to St. James and took up residence on Ferry Road.  In 1944 Earl joined the army to fight in WWII and was shipped to Saskatoon for training.  Even though Earl didn’t see action, he listened carefully to the shortwave radio to understand how the war was unfolding, and with his army training and discipline, was ready to cross the ocean.  In 1945, when the war ended, he started vocational training as a machinist.  As luck would have it, Earl met a gentleman at the St. James Hotel who was looking for young men to join his company, Standard Aero Engine.  Earl started his lengthy career at Standard in the machine shop and then was chosen to join a field crew to be trained as a mechanic to service military aircraft on RCAF bases.  He travelled for 4 years to Weyburn, Mossbank, Moose Jaw, Estevan, Portage, Carberry and finally Gimli, where he met his beautiful wife to-be, Gladys. In June, 1949, they were married in Gimli.

The following years were filled with having a family, and spending many weekends, summers and every Christmas in Gimli visiting Gladys’s many siblings and extended family.  The Gimli family cottage, next door to Earl’s brother and family, was home to many gatherings around the campfire and games table!

Over Earl’s 39 years at Standard Aero, holding many different positions, he saw the company grow from 23 employees to a worldwide company of many thousands of employees.  Earl’s career grew from mechanic to Inspector and into management.  In 1960, Earl was chosen to take a course in turbine engines in Indianapolis, which  launched his career.  In 1970 he transferred from the piston engine department to sales where he started as a supervisor, and subsequently promoted to Manager of product sales and then to Director of sales for the distribution division.  He was responsible for 8 branches across Canada.  His years at Standard Aero were not all work, as he organized and ran many large Christmas parties with gifts and events for all the children, including a full course meal. He curled and played baseball on the Standard teams . As Standard was a generous company, they owned a fishing lodge on Gem Lake in northern Manitoba which was offered to employees to spend time.  Many fly in fishing trips took place, sometimes including the wives, and sometimes just the guys.  In 1984, Earl decided to retire to Gimli. 

Earl joined the St. James Masonic Lodge in 1962 and became Grand Master in 1965, taking out his Demit in 1990. He sang in a choir, and hosted many practices in the basement of Roseberry Street!

During the retirement years in Gimli, Earl was active in the community.  He joined Rotary and accepted the position of President in 1991.  He was busy with fundraising, delivering Christmas Hampers, fish cookouts for seniors, and volunteering at Evergreen Basic Needs.  These were the years where he could perfect his favorite activity, golf.  He joined Northern Air Golf Club and met up with 3 gentlemen who golfed together 5 days a week for many years. Earl and Gladys travelled extensively throughout North America and Europe, and always included visits with families from both sides in their travels.

Earl was best friends with so many relatives, Kiwanis Court employees and residents and will be missed by his special best friend from 1947, Hazel. Earl loved his time at Kiwanis Court for over 10 years and appreciated the support of Sheila and Laverne.

Special thanks to Dr. Albak, Dad’s doctor for many years, and the staff Grace Hospice.

At Dad’s request there will not be a funeral service. Donations can be made to Canadian Cancer Society and Grace Hospice.

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