Gary Gordon Nelson
November 9, 1951 -
December 15, 2022

With heavy and saddened hearts, Gary’s family announces the sad news of his passing. Gary slipped away peacefully on the evening of December 15, 2022 with family members by his side in the oncology unit of the Thunder Bay Regional Hospital.

Gary is survived by his four brothers and their families:

Bill and Bertha: Heather and Alejandro (Jacob and Joshua), Jennifer and Richard (Liam and Evan).

Bruce and Trish: Graem (Quinn and Lottie), Gavin and Lindsay (Halle, Avery, and Millar) Carleigh and Eric (Carter and Emma), Katelyn and Craig (Remy and Gunnar).

Greg and Cindy: Jordy and Danielle (Nicholas and Rylan), Chelsea and Digger (Blake and Fynn).

Marty and Cathy: Eric.

Gary adored all his nieces and nephews - He was loved by all of them and was affectionately known as “Uncle Buck” for his kind heart and generosity to them all.

Gary was the third of five sons of George and Margaret Nelson. He was born and raised in Kenora and while his work took him all over Canada, Kenora was his home.  After graduating high school, Gary moved to Calgary to attend SAIT college in the engineering faculty.  

After his college years Gary started his career in the pipeline industry, a career which lasted over 40 years.  Gary worked all across Canada from the east coast to the northern-most parts of Alberta and BC. He said sometimes the only difference between prison (he was never in jail, we don’t think!)  and the camp jobs up north was that there were no bars on the doors and windows. While this job was not for everyone, Gary loved seeing the country and meeting people.  Gary was a very modest man about his abilities; however friends have told the family that Gary was very, very good at his job and was respected within the industry for his capabilities.  Gary loved the challenges the job provided, the closure brought by each completed job, and most of all he loved all the friends he made throughout his career.

While working across the country, Gary loved to explore small town Canada and loved to meet people and go treasure hunting to feed his gift-giving habit.  From the 2 feet by 4 feet “fridge magnet” to the 15-pound block of pure Belgian chocolate (“it’s just a chocolate bar”), Gary loved buying thoughtful and often funny gifts for his family. This was his retail therapy for his shopping addiction.

Though he had been to every corner of our country throughout his life, there were two places that Gary cherished most. 

He loved spending time at the cottage in Sioux Narrows, which he shared with Marty, Cathy and Eric. Gary would sit and look out the window at the lake and he would say “every time I sit here, I pinch myself because of the view”.  It was here that Gary created the Nelson Family Fishing Weekend for all the boys in the Nelson clan. These events became the highlight of the summer for us - we fished, ate, drank and told stories, and these weekends have brought our family closer than ever. Gary’s ability to bring the whole family together made these weekends possible, and we will continue to honour his legacy by keeping this family tradition alive. 

Gary’s other special place was his second home on the ocean, in Moore’s Cove, Newfoundland.  Gary loved to go there for May and June and then in the fall to be with the many friends he made there.  Gary loved to introduce his family and friends to the physical beauty of Newfoundland as well as the wonderful people he had met there.  The smile on his face when friends and family were screeched in to become honorary Newfoundlanders was priceless.    As with Sioux Narrows, Gary would sit and look out the window at the ocean and he would say “every time I sit here, I pinch myself because of the view”.  

Gary had so many good friends that there are too many to list.  With his daily texts and his phone calls, Gary kept up with his friends and their lives and truly cared about them, and we know they all cared very much about him.

If there was any hint of fun to be had, Gary was there with bells on.  He was a true friend, and while he liked to have fun, when life required heavy lifting, Gary was there as well.  When his friend Fran was diagnosed with ALS, Gary came home from work to be with her and helped Fran until her passing.   

Gary’s wishes were to have no formal service.  However, much like the time of the unwanted 40th birthday announcement with his picture in the paper and the unwanted political campaign posters on his front lawn, Gary can’t always get what he wants, and we, his family, and friends need to celebrate his life.  An event will be planned for the summer of 2023 when we can get together, reminisce, and give Gary the proper send off he so rightfully deserves.

Gary was a true family man, a true friend and a true gentle man.

We love you, we will miss you, and we will always remember you.

Godspeed Gary, to the next adventure.

Celebration of Life
Gary’s family invites you to join them in a celebration of his life.
Saturday, July 15, 2023
2 to 5 pm
At the Kenora Legion Clubroom
300 McClellan Avenue, Kenora

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Nelson family.