James Roy Wesley Gilbart
Peacefully, on July 13, 2021, after a brief illness, Roy Gilbart, a lifelong resident of Selkirk, Manitoba passed away on his 92nd birthday. He is now reunited with June (nee Pruden), his beloved wife of 69 years.
Dad was born in Selkirk, the third of four sons, to Maurice and Muriel Gilbart (nee Dixon). They came to Selkirk from Elkhorn for Maurice’s vocation in the funeral business. The family lived in numerous homes around town and Dad really enjoyed reminiscing about the Selkirk town of old, his neighbourhoods, and various antics with friends and brothers. He was a great storyteller and throughout the years loved to recall funny, strange or unique experiences of school chums, residents, and the old Selkirk landscape.
An entrepreneur right from the early days, Dad had “the best paper route in the world” which he faithfully executed each day with his dog Rover and in winter, pulling him and his sleigh. He took an avid interest in the merchants and businesses in town, especially in the funeral business observing his father. When Maurice passed away, dad was too young to take over, so he furthered his studies and trained at Bardal’s in Winnipeg, earning his funeral directors license.
In 1955, now fully licensed and in his early twenties, he repurchased the funeral home in Selkirk that his father had started, when Mr. Langrill died. Dad was very devoted to the people he served and the Gilbart Funeral Home, running it successfully for many years. He was later joined by his son Wes and subsequently Wes’s son, David making it a four generation business. Dad was a member of the Manitoba Funeral Service Association for many years and had served as president.
Dad met Mom one fine day in Winnipeg Beach at a church picnic when their families just happened to spread their blankets next to one another, and the rest they say is history. Dad would tease that he had strong competition from dapper men in fancy cars from Winnipeg vying for mom's attention. Thankfully he persisted and prevailed in the end! Roy and June were married in 1951 at St. George’s Church, Wakefield.
Dad was a lifelong member of the Selkirk United Church, serving on council several times. Being community minded, he was a member and president of the Selkirk Rotary Club and was instrumental in the building of the new public pool in the Selkirk Park, a School Trustee during the amalgamation of the Lord Selkirk School Division, and also a member of the Masonic Order. He sat on the board of the Betel Home Foundation for many years and helped purchase property and plan for the new Betel Home in Gimli.
A true golf enthusiast, Dad was a lifelong member of the Selkirk Golf and Country Club, enjoying his game on the course for 80 years and then watching on TV from the comfort of his lazyboy chair. Dad and Mom loved the game of bridge, playing with their friends and at the Selkirk Duplicate Bridge Club. They won the club championship twice and at age 90 were and still are the reigning champs.
They enjoyed their cottages first at Chalet Beach and later north of Gimli. Dad enjoyed duck hunting, curling, and, in retirement, the art of stained glass. He made countless stained glass keepsakes for us all.
The door at Roy and June’s house was always open. People of all ages were welcomed to the pool, to parade day each July, backyard barbeques, and enjoying the river view. The family met there most Sundays for dinner and life long traditions were established in the yard that have continued to the present generation. A few years ago Dad and Mom moved into condo life, leaving behind their beloved home on Eveline Street with Wes and Leanne. Today the family still congregates there and the traditions continue!
Dad and Mom loved to travel to Mexico, Europe, across Canada and the US, and finally found their paradise in Hawaii. They loved their daily routine on the beach and cherished the many new friendships they made. They welcomed each grandchild to the island and introduced them to the ”Aloha Spirit."
Roy was predeceased by his beloved wife June on March 18, 2020 and leaves surviving his daughter Jane Massey (Bob), sons Wes (Leanne) and Geoff (Cheryl); seven grandchildren, Andrea (Phil), Jamie (Ashley), Kurtis (Ashley), David (Cindy), Kayla (Adam), Deanna (Ray), Graham (Alisha); and eight great-grandchildren, Vivienne and Elysia; Skylar, Locklyn and Berklee; and Grayson, Everleigh and Vayda. Roy will also be missed by his brother Don (Del), in-laws Glen (Alice), Norm (Pat), and Dale (Carol) and many nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends. He was predeceased by his brothers Eric and Mel.
A celebration of Life was held at the St. Clements Cemetery with Rev. Cole Grambo officiating. The service can be viewed via: https://youtu.be/qMCc97FPgNY
In lieu of flowers, donations in Roy’s memory can be made to the Selkirk and District Foundation or the Selkirk United Church.
Roy’s memorable storytelling, his generous spirit, big laugh and great sense of humour will be missed by his family and friends. Rest in peace Dad and Poppy!
Gilbart Funeral Home, Selkirk, in care of arrangements.
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