Mr. Garry Allan Long

December 5, 2018 - 5:32pm
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Red Deer

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mr. Garry Allan Long at the Red Deer Hospice, due to complications of prostate cancer on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at the age of 80 years. Garry was born on April 5, 1938 in Melfort, Saskatchewan, to Ed and Ellen Long. He was the ninth of ten children in a very busy farm family. Garry remained close to all of his siblings, who all enjoyed teasing each other. He never let his sisters forget the time they chased him around the house trying to get him to do the dishes; while he sobbed and climbed out onto the roof to get away. Only after their mother returned home did they realize that Garry had acute appendicitis and needed surgery. Garry did not enjoy school, and left when he was only twelve. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at seventeen and was soon fixing airplanes, at a base in France. Garry had wonderful memories of his time in France; where he and his friends spent their leisure time piling into tiny cars, drinking beer, and romancing the local ladies. After returning to Canada, Garry earned his Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Certification and obtained his Private Pilot’s License. These skills took him to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; where he spent several years working on planes in the harsh climate. He met and married the love of his life, Elaine, in Yellowknife in 1969. The couple soon moved to Grande Prairie, Alberta and welcomed a daughter, Marilyn, in 1972. The yard and house were always full of neighbourhood kids and Garry was often part of the chaos. He would regularly join a herd of kids on the trampoline, but decided he had better stop after being “super bounced” off, scraping his face and breaking his glasses. He started his own Aircraft Maintenance business, where he worked on small private planes. The long hours and cramped quarters in tiny planes took a toll on family life and on his back; so he was eventually forced to sell the business. The year 1986 brought a move to Edmonton, Alberta and extensive travel, as Garry could get cheap air tickets through his job at Time Air. He and daughter, Marilyn were able to go to Hawaii for a long weekend to visit his sister, and the two had a marvelous time. Garry and Elaine bought a motorhome in 1990, and moved it out to Richmond, British Columbia, where Garry continued to work for Time Air. They spent two years working in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Garry worked eight weeks on, four weeks off, so travel opportunities were endless. They backpacked across South East Asia, toured the Middle East, and saw many other parts of the world. They returned to Canada and to full time motorhome living in 1994. Over the next few years, they travelled extensively over most of North America. In 1999, Garry and Elaine gave up their motorhome, camperized a cargo van, and moved to an apartment in Hinton, Alberta, where Marilyn was living with her family. More International travel followed, and then a move to Lacombe, Alberta, near where Marilyn and her family had moved. Marilyn joked that as an only child with the only grandchildren, she couldn’t escape, as Garry and Elaine kept following her. In 2009, Garry and Elaine moved in with Marilyn, Kyle and Jacob, in order to escape their smokey apartment and to be of assistance to Marilyn, when she returned to school. Garry enjoyed puttering around the house, and it gave Kyle and Jacob a chance to get to know their grandparents in a way that would not normally be possible. For several years, Garry, Kyle and Jacob created elaborate Halloween Displays; where the goal was to scare the teenagers and adults into wetting their pants. Garry would stand in the backyard chuckling; as he released the giant bat on a zipline that he had created, while the kids hid in the coffin, or hung from the gallows that they had built. Following Elaine’s passing in 2015, Garry bought an older motorhome and winterized it, so he could travel and live in it. The motorhome met an unfortunate end in 2016; so Garry rented a room in Red Deer with Tom, a man who would become a very close friend. The two of them drove to Newfoundland and up to Yellowknife, some of Garry’s favourite places. Garry also remained acive in family life. He attended birthday celebrations, his grandsons’s school events, and developed a greater appreciation for his nephew’s chuckwagon racing, despite his feeling that horses were “just hayburners”. He was never truly a farm boy at heart. Garry developed prostate cancer in 2013. It was easily managed for several years, until he experienced an increase in back pain and a decrease in mobility, in September of 2018. He was soon hospitalized when a large tumor was discovered on his spine. He underwent radiation therapy, but his condition continued to decline. He entered the Red Deer Hospice in early November, and passed away shortly after. Garry will be lovingly remembered by his daughter, Marilyn Wilson (nee Long); grandsons, Kyle Wilson (Bella) and Jacob Wilson; great granddaughter, Cortana-Dawn Wilson; sisters, Betty Mann, Lois Ables and Patricia Hughes; as well as a large extended family, and countless friends. He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Elaine Long (nee Linton; nee Mullaly); his father, James Edmund Long; his mother, Ellen Long (nee Erickson); his brothers, Ernest Long, Robert Long, James Long and Vernon Long; and his sisters, Eileen Knight and Violet Hanahan. Respecting Garry’s wishes, no Memorial Service will be held. His ashes will be scattered near the mountains at a later time. His family would like to thank all the friends and family who have called, or stopped in to offer support; as well as the wonderful Staff of Unit 32, at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre and the Red Deer Hospice. If desired, Memorial Donations in Garry’s honour may be made directly to the Red Deer Hospice Society at www.reddeerhospice.com.

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