J. Jamieson - Acting Leading Seaman d. Jan 15, 2010
Gordon (Jamie) Jamieson was born in Vancouver, January 22, 1921, of Nova
Scotia bluenose stock. He was raised with a knowledge and respect of the
sea by his father, who was an excellent seaman. He and his brothers were
taught, knots and splices, bends and hitches and the compass by his father.
Jamie finished school at Magee High School and he and his brother went
to work with their own boats and salmon fished. When the war came it was
natural for Jamie to go to sea. He joined the Nene in Dartmouth in the
spring of 1944, and left the ship when it was decommissioned in Sheerness.
In 1946 Jamie and Marie Therese Le-Blanc were married. They were married
for forty years when Marie passed away in 1986. Jamie worked for Standard
Oil (Chevron) Marine Division on the B.C. coast until his retirement in
1982. Jamie lives in his own home in North Burnaby and is an avid gardener.
His basement is a veritable museum of his naval experiences and his colourful
JAMIESON, Gordon John "Jamie" Born January 22, 1922 Passed peacefully January 15, 2010 Predeceased by wife Marie Therese, brothers Neil, Charles and Donald. Survived by two sisters Aileen and Mary, many nieces and nephews and relations in Nova Scotia. He served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War, was a member of Royal Canadian Legion No. 148 and Knights of Columbus Council 5423. Retired from Standard Oil of BC (Chevron). Prayers will be offered Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. from the Holy Cross Catholic Church, 1450 Delta Ave, Burnaby, where Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. Interment Garden's of Gethsemani Cemetery, Surrey, BC. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the BC Lung Association.
Don (Gord's nephew) wrote the following in November 2009, a few months before Gord died - to Mike McCardell, of Global BC regarding a possible Remembrance Day story.
As Nov.11 approaches, I thought I’d drop you a line about my uncle, Gord Jamieson, who lives out at the end of Barnet Road in Burnaby.
For the last 23 years since his wife died he and I have spent Saturday mornings together. We shop at Rocky’s Meats, Fair Market and the LCB. In return, he buys me breakfast at the IHOP or ABC restaurant, and gasses up my car. This came about when I asked him about his failing eyesight, and he told me that if he kept a hand over one eye while driving down Hastings, he did pretty well in his old truck. As a result, we came to an understanding that if he gave up his license, we’d book shopping for Saturday.
He was with the UBC Lands Department, where he developed a love for gardening before going on to spend 30+ years at the Chevron Refinery in the maintenance department. Upon his retirement, the president of Chevron Canada reminisced about how he and Gord had started out on the barges together, when Chevron’s local headquarters was in the Marine Building downtown. Nowadays, he said, we probably couldn’t get hired at Chevron without an M.B.A. In our day, he claimed, an M.B.A. was a Marine Building Asshole.
Always a character, he’s gotten a lot more interesting the last few years. A long time grower of chrysanthemums, he kept his greenhouse so well heated that it prompted a visit from the authorities over whether he had a grow-op on site. I showed up one day to find him with a wad of paper towel in his ear. He had hooked up his compressor to fill his wheelbarrow tire. Unable to tell if it was filling due to his hearing, he was bent over to listen when the tire exploded. Having ruptured his eardrum, he tore up a hank of paper towel to stem the bleeding. He’s one tough nut.
His telephone number is one digit away from Anton’s Restaurant. Always polite, he’d explain that they had misdialed. Now, I’m convinced, he tells them there’s a lineup a mile long back to Gilmour. When the Kinder-Morgan pipeline incident happened, he turned away those inspectors who, he was convinced, wanted to tear up his garden due to the amount of oil on the plants. I’ve drunk gallons of the stuff over 30 years at the refinery, he told them, and barred them entrance. He then went back to making his lunch, a seafood and everything but the kitchen sink concoction he calls slumgullion.
As to Remembrance Day, he has a certificate on the wall of his basement, down near his old Navy hammock and the White Ensign Flag. He received it one year, signed by a Dutch family, thanking him for his role in liberating their country. Despite the fact that he was at sea on the Scapa Flow to Murmansk run, apparently every year the Dutch people had been combing the rolls of Canadian servicemen and sending some a certificate along with a box of tulip bulbs. As a nation they,too,never forget. To a gardener, especially, the gift was priceless, and every year the bulbs from those bulbs bring gratitude home to him in a very real way.
As winter comes I worry about him more, since his activities are more restricted, but I hope every year that he’ll make it to that point in the spring when this token of Remembrance blooms again.
Every Saturday with Gord is Remembrance Day, and I wanted to let you know that remarkable as he is in that I believe he’s never lost a friend, he constantly remembers those friends he lost.
Don also gave the eulogy at Gord's funeral:
‘There are Hermit Souls that live withdrawn
In the place of their self-content.
There are souls like stars, that dwell apart
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze the paths
Where highways never ran.
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
Hello – my name is Don Jamieson. I’m Gordie’s nephew and number myself among his sidekicks for the last 25 years. I’m sure Gord would be surprised to see me here today. He was constantly upset that I was too quiet, that I never said anything. As I can swear, and possibly Ken Wray and his fellow Knights of Columbus, it stands to reason that if you can’t get a word in edgewise that’s probably how you’d appear to people. Gordie did love to chat.
Let me begin by thanking Father Darek for being with us today. My uncle was extremely appreciative of both your character and your message. To the Knights of Columbus, particularly Ken Wray , Lou Beaubien and Richard Crompton, your attentions both at his bedside and throughout these past years have lightened his load and allowed him that social connection that he found so important.
To the Honour Guard from the Royal Canadian Legion, I can assure you that my uncle would have been speechless at your presence and show of respect. He harboured the greatest admiration for your service, past and present, as today you recognize his.
To the first responders, the EMT’s and firemen, then later the Emergency staff at the Royal Columbian, I recall the words of Matthew: “ For I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you invited me in. “ No one could have cared and tended for Gord so much as these strangers, who showed him both compassion and respect. Subsequent to his passing, Aaron Morrison, Russell and the staff at Bell & Burnaby Funeral Home have made my duties much easier to perform.
I look around today and know how much this Church community has lost in the past few weeks, both in the passing of Gord and his friend Helene Gulka, as well. I know that cold winds will continue to blow through the hole in my heart that was left when he left. At times such as these your congregation has to come together, as today, to acknowledge the influence of the departed. My guess is that for you last Sunday, as for me last Saturday, something precious was missing.
Gord had several of these communities of support, or families, to sustain him. There was his Church family, his Naval fraternity, his friends at Chevron, and those fellow gardeners who nurtured Hope Eternal for the coming season.
Of his Church family Gord was proud and respectful. He felt energized and challenged by his weekly, in fact daily, walk in the Faith. He felt honoured to have prayed among you, for you, and to have been prayed for by you. The only time I’ve known of him to be unsure of himself in a Church setting was when he told me he had been voted the second handsomest man at Holy Cross. The other 150, he told me, had tied for first.
Of his Naval family (the official name is the H.M.C.S. Nene Family ), named after the River Class frigate of the same name. Gordie’s service record as an Acting Leading Seaman offers the description: level-headed, extremely able and worthy of the command of others. In the language of the Navy high praise indeed. His shipmates hailed from Comox to Newfoundland, and when you’ve shared the perils of convoy duty, or chipped ice off the deck from Scapa Flow to Murmansk on the Archangel run, a bond is created that lasts, and did last, a lifetime. A Charter Member of the North Russia Club based in the U.K., his wartime service set him on a course of service and dedication to others. Sadly, with his death, their reunions will continue to grow smaller.
Chevron – Gord was a proud employee of Standard Oil, a proud retiree, and maintained an affection for a company he described as first class all the way. From the barges to the boardroom , so many praised him upon his retirement that he was humble and grateful. It’s one thing to garner respect from the Head Office, but Gord more importantly had the respect of his crew. He travelled the province, and was known from the coastal towns to the Interior. I would like to mention also that for such a special man, Gord had special blood, RH Negative. Many a time, he told me, Standard Oil would fly him down to VGH from the back of beyond to donate to a critically ill patient. His lifetime total was 75 pints, and his sense of brotherhood saved lives.
For all his travels and service Gord felt most at home here in North Burnaby. He’d spend Saturdays with me going from Rocky’s Meats to Little Billy’s, from Sylvia the barber to the Fair Market, from the ABC Restaurant to Produce Land to Cockney King’s Fish and Chips. He knew, loved, and was loved by all he met, and would often serenade Georgina at Shopper’s Drug Mart, Linda at the ABC, and the ladies at Ortona Deli or Scotiabank.
The saying is: Tough times don’t last – tough people do. If you had known him in his day you’d have known how strong he was. Later, despite his frailties, he was vigorous in his faith, unwaveringly loyal to his friends, I’d have to say adamant in his opinions, and grittily determined to keep on keeping on. Soft-hearted at the core, the love he bore for my Aunt Therese was sure and constant, from the day of their marriage, through her stay at Tranquille with TB, up until she went to await him when his time had come.
So many kind neighbours . Dave and Lois Brown, the Trasolinis, Dave and Theresa next door, he could be a real friend, and accept the friendship of others. His garden may have been beautiful, but what he grew best was a relationship with people that drew out the best in them, as he endeavored to be the best that he could be. I don’t believe he need worry as to whether he succeeded.
His wife Therese passed away on his birthday in 1986, and that always saddened me. Tomorrow he would have turned 88, and instead will be celebrating his rebirth on the other side. On the subject of rebirth and renewal, I have to say I smiled when, checking his mail the other day, I found this: his Stokes seed order for the coming growing season. I know it would have thrilled him to see it.
Years ago, on his travels through B.C., he decided to drop in on and surprise my father, a civil engineer and former Ironworker, at the site of the Blueberry/Paulsen Bridge near Salmon Arm. Inquiring of the timekeeper where he might find Don Jamieson, he was told: at the sharp end, of course. Hailing his brother from a distance, he smiled when Dad turned and said “What in the world are you doing here? Last Friday at 3 am, Gordie told him. I know that memory will act on us like that from now on, as a remembered incident or story or mental picture of Gord comes unbidden to our minds.
To Aileen and Mary, his sisters, to his family here and in Cape Breton, to his parish and his friends, please don’t grieve that he passed away, but instead celebrate that he passed our way. I share your sense of loss, but also the big feeling that comes from having known him.
Anchors down, Gord. May your next voyage be all you’ve hoped.