The Lougheed family is mourning the loss of its patriarch.
Gerry Lougheed Sr. died Dec. 16 at his home with his family at his side. He was 83.
He was born June 17, 1929 in Staples, Ont., outside of Windsor. He married his childhood sweetheart Marguerite (nee McIntosh) in 1950.
They came to Sudbury in 1952 to establish Lougheed's Funeral Home and Flower Shop. They didn’t have a lot of money, but they received a lot of help from the people in the area, he told Northern Life in 2007 when he was presented with a Paul Harris Fellowship Award from the Rotary Club of Sudbury, the highest honour a Rotarian can receive.
That assistance from the community is something the family has been reciprocating ever since, Lougheed Sr. said.
“The people were really, really good to us,” he said at the time. “Now, 55 years later, and through those other years, we tried to do things to help other people. Believe me, we’re just paying back for all the good things that happened to us.”
Lougheed Sr. also established the local ambulance service, and was the first operator in Ontario to carry oxygen in the vehicles and required attendants to have accredited first aid courses.
He was later knighted by the Governor General of Canada for these pioneering efforts.
Lougheed Sr. served on and helped many charitable causes in Sudbury, including the Manitoulin/Sudbury Children's Foundation, where he was instrumental in developing the Send a Kid to Camp program.
Almost as soon as he arrived in the city, he became a member of the Rotary Club, the cornerstone of his community commitment, according to the Lougheed family. He served on many Rotary committees and in executive positions, including as president and district governor.
His two sons, Gerry Jr. and Geoffrey, were born within the couple's first decade in Sudbury. His obituary describes him as a devoted father, best friend and wise mentor to his boys during their entire lives.
As a member of the Rotary Club of Sudbury, he was a founder of the Children's Rehabilitation Clinics to help disabled youngsters and globally he was instrumental in building a school and literacy programs in India.
Beyond the company and the community, Lougheed Sr.'s priority was his family — whether attending a speech by one of his sons, or travelling with his wife on a Rotary mission to South Africa, he was happiest in their company.
When his son Geoffrey was also knighted under the auspices of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem making Gerry Sr. and Geoffrey the only father/son Knights in Canada, a Lougheed crest was commissioned to commemorate that historic event.
Its motto: Servire est vivere means “To Serve is to Live”.
Visitation is on Dec. 18 from 4-8 p.m. at the Marguerite Lougheed Community Centre. Funeral service takes place Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. at the Marguerite Lougheed Community Centre. Msgr. John Caswell is officiating.
Donations to the Lougheed Foundation are being accepted.