1948 ~ 2017
It is with sadness that we announce that Gary Stoffer passed away in Lethbridge on February 21, 2017 at the age of 68 after bravely battling cancer.
He is survived by his loving wife, Gillian Watkinson; daughters Karly (Brant) Bond and Michelle (Bob) MacOdrum; grandchildren Madeleine, Luke, Bridget, and Bram; siblings Henka (Curt) Campbell, Hennie (Terry) Webster, Jane (Wally) McGarty, Marian (John) Voogel, and Hank (Tara) Stoffer; and many nieces and nephews. Gary was predeceased by his father, Harm, in 1978 and his mother, Mary, in 2000.
Gerrit “Gary” Stoffer was born March 23, 1948 in Meppel, Drente, Netherlands, the third child and first son of Harm Jan and Margje “Mary” (Dekker) Stoffer. At age 5, Gary immigrated to Canada with his family, crossing the Atlantic on the S.S. Waterman and landing at Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Stoffer’s traveled first to Birch Hills, Saskatchewan, where the family lived for one year. In 1954 Gary’s dad and uncle bought a truck, put the box that their belongings had been shipped in onto the back of the truck, filled it with the two families’ furniture, cut a window in the side and the family rode all the way to southern Alberta, where they settled near Kipp and later Picture Butte.
The Stoffer family moved to the Lethbridge river bottom area in 1956, and there Gary and his sisters and brother enjoyed skating on the frozen backwash in the winter, and swimming in the river in the summer. On Friday nights, the whole family would go the neighbours’ house to watch Stampede Wrestling.
Gary worked at the river bottom gas station and took the school bus to Coalhurst, where he graduated from high school in 1966. He graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1970. Upon graduating he worked for a time in Calgary, but the draw to family and his father’s milling company, Four Star Millwork, brought him back home to Lethbridge.
Whether it was motorbiking, hill climbing, camping, or racquetball Gary always liked to be active and have fun. He was an avid golfer and member of the Henderson Lakes Golf Course, and enjoyed many golfing trips with friends. Gary had a great sense of humour and quick wit, and always had a groaner of a joke ready to share. He loved to woodwork, read, keep up on current events, make cabbage rolls and croquets with his sister Henka, and barbecue for family and friends. A devoted friend, Gary was always there to help and had many good times with friends old and new.
Gary met his sweetheart Gill early in 1998 and he won her over with his Super Bowl chili. They have spent the last 19 years building a wonderful life together. Gary and Gill loved to take drives, exploring every corner of southern Alberta and particularly enjoying the beauty of the McIntyre Ranch. They enjoyed dinners with friends, camping, barbecuing, trips to Calgary, watching Street Wheelers from Georgio’s restaurant, and traveling to BC, Montana, and Seattle.
Gary enjoyed family traditions with his children and grandchildren like Saturday morning Dutch pancake breakfasts, summer trips to Waterton, Christmas tree hunting, oliebollen at New Year’s, and exchanging a real lump of coal from the river bottom at Christmas. Through these traditions and memories, Gary will live on in the hearts of his family.
The family would like to thank the staff at Coaldale Medical Clinic, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Home Care and the Palliative Care Unit for the wonderful care Gary received.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society.
A gathering to celebrate Gary's life will be held from 2:00-5:00PM on Saturday, February
25, 2017 at the HENDERSON LAKE GOLF COURSE CLUB HOUSE, 2727 South Parkside Drive, Lethbridge, AB.