The oldest of eleven children, George wore many hats throughout his life. He was a son, husband, father, brother, grandfather, great grandfather, and great-great grandfather, farmer, miner, serviceman, mason, businessman, wood worker and volunteer.
Born on February 10, 1918 in Brottum, Norway, he arrived in Canada by steamship on August 14, 1919 with his parents. The Gudbranson family started farming in Spalding, Saskatchewan, where George also started his music career on a home made fiddle fashioned out of a cigar box by his father. His ability to excel at baseball and hockey helped George secure a mining job in Bourlamac, Quebec in 1938 where he moved to work in the gold mines. In 1939 George married his home town sweet heart, Ruby Selin, and together they raised three sons and a daughter.
George joined the Royal Canadian Airforce in 1943 as a Leading Aircraftman and was first stationed at Sea Island, Vancouver, BC. In 1944 he transferred to Amphitrite Point, Ucluelet BC. Being released from the Airforce in 1946, George became the Commission Agent for the Imperial Oil Bulk Station in Ucluelet, selling fuel to homes, businesses and fishing vessels. In 1956 it was time for a change, so George, along with a partner, built a service station/garage called Pacific Esso Service and later added a machine and auto body shop. George was one of the first Aldermen on Ucluelet’s town council and the first fire chief and ambulance attendant. Many a story could George entertain you with about the life on the West Coast. George and Ruby also formed a music band in Ucluelet and played once a month for the Army/Navy Air Force socials, along with special gatherings at the UAC Hall.
In 1973 George decided to retire. He sold the garage and relocated to Parksville in 1975. Never one to be idol, George took a position with Rathtrevor Provincial Park in the maintenance department. He was also heavily involved in establishing the Parksville Curling Club. Given the honour of throwing the first rock at the opening ceremonies of the club, he made a perfect bull’s eye without a sweeper. Another great passion of George’s was to fashion wood bowls and plates on his lathe that he donated or gifted to many.
Social by nature, George and Ruby joined the Sons of Norway and made many lifelong friends. In 1991 George and Ruby joined Branch 11 of the Coombs Old Time Fiddlers and never looked back. They had a fantastic new family with a beat! Again, his wood working skills came into play by making violins and he completed his last one at the age of 90.
Years of volunteering their music throughout the area at care homes, jamborees, New Year’s gigs, rodeos, and the forever Thursday night dance at the Rotary Hall in Qualicum, allowed both George and Ruby to live long productive lives.
In 1953 George joined the Manoah Lodge #141 in Tofino and concluded his Masonic time with Concord Lodge #79 in Parksville. With sixty five years of service, George was posthumously presented an Honorary Life Membership of the Concord Lodge #79. He was also a member of the Royal Canadian Legion for 47 years.
George was predeceased by his wife of 76 years, Ruby, daughter, Noreen and daughter-in-law, Bette. He is survived by his three sons, Allan (Sharon), Roger (Anne), Harvey (Adeline); seven grandchildren; eleven great grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; sisters, Elsie, Ruby and Linda; plus numerous nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Yates Memorial Services at 1000 Allsbrook Road, Parksville, BC on Saturday, March 31st, 2018. Family service at 1:00 pm. Friends and comrades are most welcomed at 2:00 pm.
Lives Cherished and Celebrated