A wonderful friend and a good man with a life lived well

To the Expositor:

Four weeks ago when I decided to write this story I thought it would be easy; after all it was about someone I had known for 36 years and worked with for over 30 years. Dave Galbraith did not want an obituary in the paper, no funeral, no visitation. Just cremation and the scattering of his ashes via shot guns over his Eden on earth—his beloved hunt camp.

The challenge then became how to write about a beloved friend without becoming maudlin and keeping this as a story about Dave and not a formal obituary. Dave would hate that.

I first met Dave when he was the TD Bank manager in Little Current about 1977. At the time he was a Lion deeply involved in the Little Current Lions Club. Eventually, he and Lion Bob Lucas convinced me to join and so I did in 1980 shortly after taking up full-time residence on Manitoulin and started a 25-year schedule of three days Manitoulin and two days Sudbury. It was a schedule I never could have maintained if it was not for Dave. By this time Ron Roszel and Dave (Ron’s Bookkeeping) and I shared office space and Evelyn Roszel would be there part time. We then bought 16 Manitowaning Road and the three of us shared office space and were all Lions together. Dave was president a couple of years and Haw Chair for many years as well.

After Ron died, Evelyn became full-time with Dave and we not only worked together, but shared many laughs together. They looked after all the rentals and I am sure Dave cursed me a few times with problems with bad tenants. He did it all for 25 years and did it well. I trusted him implicitly and never questioned what he did. He would say, “Frank sign here” and I did. You see Dave was one of the most honest people I have ever known.

He worked hard for his clients and helped many people over the years.

Through Dave I met some of the finest people on Manitoulin Island and am proud to know them.

Dave was given six months to live when he was diagnosed with cancer. He was given six months and two weeks before he died.

Dave moved out to the hunt camp with Janet Moore, his primary caregiver, on June 2, 2013 and passed away October 14, 2013. When he moved out to the hunt camp he shut down his business and put that and his house up for sale.

Dave had a large family—four brothers and four sisters. All his brothers made it up for a visit even Jim in Texas and Donald in Victoria. Dale was there the most and Earl was able to get up a few times as well. His four sisters are Ethel, June, Lois and Heather.

I was able to trek up and stay overnight to visit and upon each visit bags of ice and Canadian in bottles were the price of admission. We both would sit on the porch of his heaven on earth and just talk about our times together and how much we enjoyed what we had done. The camp was his happy place and he wanted to spend his last days there. So we would drink our Canadian and talk. Then we would all have dinner together and then it was early to bed. Dave had to get up in the middle of the night and I would always get up with him and we would talk a bit and then up in the morning and I would leave for home around noon for the 650-kilometre drive home.

Janet puts it best in an email to me: “I’m so happy we were part of his last days.” I was able to get up three times and each time he looked better, Dale and I would joke that the “Beer Regime” was good for him. The last time I was up was just two weeks before he died. There were always people dropping in to say hello and talk.

This would be my last visit as the following week I was leaving for Florida. I was up early and Dave and I talked for five hours before I had to leave. It was a great visit and will help me to always remember this friend and business associate and fellow Lion and one of the finest human beings I have ever known.

Facing death Dave showed so much courage and fortitude. He never complained, his pain was under control and he told me quite factually about his diagnosis and treatment. One funny story was after he left the doctor’s office and he was about to light up a smoke and Janet said, “no Dave, you have to quit” and Dave said, “The doctor said two days” and Janet responded “no Dave—today.”

Dave finally left his beloved Eden for the hospital on October 11 and died three days later. I am told he was still joking and smiling right to the end.

Goodbye, Dave, rest in peace and I sure hope that they have cold Canadian wherever you may be.

Frank Reynolds