Born October 26, 1932 in Saskatoon, Sask., Bert passed away at his home in Nelson, B.C., on February 11, 2017. Proud father of Simmone (Randy), Wayne (Angela), Neil, Stan (Kathleen), Lloyd (Tracy) and Maxine (Bill). Predeceased by his sister Patsy, survived by his siblings Jeanette, Ted, Betty and Ruth. Grandfather and great-grandfather. Friend, comedian, singer and dancer, professional boxer, construction leader, businessman, voracious reader and avid runner and exercise enthusiast.
Bert was a passionate, independent and strong willed man; a man of great character and a successful man who loved his family dearly. Full of life, Bert enjoyed staying current on world events, business news and sports. Bert had a passion for knowledge and loved to watch his kids excel particularly in sports.
Bert grew up in Saskatoon before his family moved to a farm near Allen. Always a hard worker and animal lover, Bert often shared stories about how the farm life impacted his later years. Leaving the farm at 15, Bert often worked with his father Joe, a gentle man and an accomplished carpenter and poker player, while testing the world and committing to being self sufficient. Bert obtained his chauffeurs licence, worked with a travelling circus and in his early 20’s began a career as a professional boxer. For most of the 1950’s, Bert fought as a featherweight and was befriended by and trained with the likes of George Dunn (former top 10 world lightweight), Al Marotti and the great Archie Moore. Bert was promoted as “Frenchy Germaine” by the legendary boxing promoter Jack Berry.
Bert married and then began his family in 1959 while developing his career as a heavy construction superintendent. In 1969, Bert purchased his first of two five pin bowling alleys and moved to Grand Forks B.C. to raise his family. Bert started the little league baseball and, ultimately, Bert was very proud of all his children’s involvement in bowling and baseball many of whom won individual and team championships. Bert purchased his second bowling alley in Nelson, B.C, in 1976 and Nelson became home for the rest of his life.
In his late 50’s, Bert embarked on what was to become a decorated running career. Running more than 60 races from 10k’s to marathons, Bert won his division on many occasions and often placed in the top 10 in his division. These adventures provided Bert a tremendous amount of social time with people from around the world and those of his kids who were also runners. Bert’s favorite race was the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon in San Diego – finishing it in each of 2001 through 2004. Calling Bert on the phone you very well might interrupt him while he was weightlifting, an activity of his into his 80’s.
As his father was, a skilled poker player in the 1940’s and 1950’s, Bert played his poker hand in life to the best of his ability. All the while, he maintained his ability to tell gut wrenching jokes. Bert would often visit his kids when unexpected but most needed. He backed his kids during tough times and taught his kids that sticking together was the one thing they should always remember. Bert would sometimes say “ensure your kids know you love them and that you are always a safe zone for them”.
A fierce defender of his independence, Bert lived on his own with his best friend – most recently his golden retriever Charlie. Bert was known throughout town and loved and respected by many.
A burial will occur at 11am on April 29th at the Nelson Cemetery. All of Bert’s friends and family are welcome to attend. The family will hold a reception at which friends and family can listen to his favourite musician (Johnny Cash) and share fond stories of and celebrate Bert’s life and his contribution to the lives of many. We are proud of you Dad and miss you everyday. Enjoy your new journey.