Gordon Lewyllen McConnell
March 28, 1938 – June 1, 2019
Gordon passed away in West Coast General Hospital on Saturday, June 1, 2019 surrounded by loving family members. Predeceased by brothers Wayne, Douglas, Garry and his sister Betty. Survived by his wife Myrna and his children Gwen Smith, Kathy Fyfe, Renai Thingelstad (mother Marge) and Dennis Robert, Veronica (Chris) Phillips (late mother Loretta). Also survived by his brother Colin (Connie) and his grandchildren Michele, Melissa, Daniel, Jonas, Lauren, Tanner, Amelia, Arion, Chenoa, Nicole, Gabby and Tony; five great grandchildren; stepchildren Lori and Jason and numerous nieces and nephews.
Gordon was born at home, on a farm near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. He moved to Port Alberni in the early 60’s from Medicine Hat, Alberta and worked construction jobs but eventually got a job at the Somass Mill.
Gordon was a musician, singer, songwriter and storyteller. He particularly loved old country music, rock & roll from the 50’s and he loved to yodel. He formed a bluegrass band called “Better Times” in the early 80’s and played at music festivals in Coombs, Chetwynd and Burns Lake, BC as well as Blairmore, AB. He was also one of the founding members of the Port Alberni Old Time Fiddlers. He loved to play for dances and at the care homes. Gordon wanted to see everyone happy and enjoying music, and he encouraged anyone who picked up an instrument to ‘play and have fun.’ Gordon was also one of the founding members of the weekly jam sessions at Hansen Hall. It was his passion to play music and see people dance whether it be a waltz, a two-step, polka, the butterfly, a schottische or the chicken dance. Gord also had a country band for the last seven years and played at the Blue Marlin every week.
He also grew and exhibited dahlias and irises at the Fall Fair for the past ten years and won many awards for his lovely flowers. His presence as a musician and a gardener will be missed in Port Alberni.
We would like to thank Dr. VanderMerwe, Dr. Lambiotte, Dr. Fey and Dr. O’Dwyer. Thank you also to the dancers, the kitchen boys at Hansen Hall, the Blue Marlin Inn, and all the friends and family members who supported and enjoyed the music Gord played. He was always happy to hear people say that he sounded ‘just like the record’. Port Alberni is truly a special place to live and enjoy life. ‘Sitting At Home On Vancouver Island’ was his favorite place to be, with all of his family and friends, fellow band members and musicians.
There will be a Celebration of Life at Hansen Hall on June 29, 2019 from 1:00 PM until 5:00 PM. Friends and family are invited to share experiences and stories and encouraged to wear purple or orange – Gord’s favourite colours.