Finding a friend of Bertie Gillmor

A year ago, I wrote the blog “Finding Bertie Gillmor” about locating the grave of my Granduncle from Boihy, Co Leitrim. A shot-in-the dark email found an extremely helpful Steve Logan from Oliver’s Funeral Services in Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada. Oliver’s had undertaken Bertie’s funeral and burial in 1960 and within two hours of my email to Steve, he found and visited Bertie’s snowy unmarked grave in Grand Prairie cemetery.

An advert in the Leitrim Observer 20th Feburary 1904

Since then I sent out a few emails searching for anyone who might have known Bertie but until now I have drawn a blank.

Recently, I have been emailing Tina Wolfe, at the same Oliver’s Funeral Services, to arrange a small marker for Bertie’s grave. Tina asked me where he was buried, unable to locate him at the small cemetery near his home outside Goodfare, but this was quickly followed by another email from her, with the line that got my attention.

“I found someone that knew him and he told me where to look”

Later that night I phoned Walter Pfau (pronounced Fow) in Goodfare where he farms with his wife, Thelma, and looks after the small Lutheran cemetery, the connection with Tina. Goodfare is a hamlet of some 8 homes, a community hall, an outdoor ice hockey rink and a mailbox; the nearest large town Grand Prairie is 61km east.

“Oh ya. I knew Bert well. He used to come here regular, to buy cattle, when I was a young fella. Lived about 3 mile away. Nice guy, true farmer. Good fun too. He grew grass, wheat, oats and tall sweet white clover. I heard him say a few times in his funny accent – I love the sound of a field of rippling golden oats in the fall.” Said Walter.

He told me a lot more. I will talk to him again and fill out Bertie’s story. In the 1920s Walter’s father and Bertie were among the first white settlers in that part of Alberta.

Today the small community of Goodfare have messaged on Facebook saying that they have members who knew Bertie and will be in touch.

Goodfare is 8 hours behind our GMT. There is 4 inches of snow on the ground. With daytime temperatures around  -6°C dropping to -16°C at night, Walter’s cattle are housed for the winter. Walter and Thelma don’t travel too far because of Covid-19.

19th November 2020


2 thoughts on “Finding a friend of Bertie Gillmor”

  1. Hello Stan, I am Carol Thomson nee Wardill..Raymond’s older sister. He has been checking my memory about your relative. I checked with the DHT idex and found that there is an obituary for him but haven’t been able to get to library to look at microfilm of it . Covid is limiting library hours. Will try later this week if the newest health regulations haven’t closed the library again. Sincerely Carol Thomson


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