Long-time resident, Gordon Adair Fleming passed away peacefully in Nelson on August 24, 2018. Gordon was born on December 2, 1927, the 7th child of Nelson pioneers, Ross and Minnie (Robertson) Fleming.
In 1950, Gordon married Lorraine, the love of his life, and they spent many happy years together raising their family and enjoying square dancing, skiing, golfing, trailering, traveling and hosting parties. They raised their family of four in the home which they began building in 1949 and, with the exception of one year in Vancouver, continued to live in until the present day. It’s always been a special place for their family to visit through the years.
As a boy, Gordon followed in the family tradition of delivering the Nelson Daily News and along with his siblings, learned to play two musical instruments, competed in music festivals and was part of the Fleming Family Orchestra. In his last year of High School, Gordon did odd jobs for Mann Drugs and was offered a job to apprentice as a pharmacist but he wasn’t interested in working inside in those days and turned it down. Also when in Grade 12, he bought his first Harley Davidson motorcycle and at the age of 20 he and a friend took the bike on a grand tour to Los Angeles. His first full time job was with Cady Lumber at Six Mile Lakes where he was a swamper for 56¢ per hour. Eventually Gordon apprenticed as a machinist at Mackenzie, White & Dunsmuir, finishing up as Shop Foreman at Acklands in 1967. After 21 years as a machinist, Gordon and Lorraine moved their family to Vancouver so Gordon could takean accelerated Industrial Arts teacher course at UBC. The family returned to Nelson and Gordon retired after 19 years of teaching at LVR. Gordon also devoted many years to the Boy Scout movement, as a youth participant and as a leader and District Commissioner, taking his Scouts on overnight hikes in Kokanee Glacier Park and to other camps and jamborees. One of Gordon’s former Boy Scouts said, “The next time I go to Nelson, I am going to visit Gordon and shake the hand of the man who shaped my life.” Gordon had a positive impact on the lives of his friends and many of Nelson’s young people. He was a loving family man, woodworker, home handyman, a patient teacher, active in his community, and a caring and supportive friend, and poet. Gordon was a great story teller and was famous for his annual Christmas poems; he enjoyed a good joke and said that strangers were just friends he hadn’t yet met.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Gladys and brothers Robert, Donald, Arthur, Wallace, and Clive. He is survived by and greatly missed by his wife Lorraine and their children Brian, Janet (Greg) Ritchey, Dale (Mark) Fromberg, and John (Barb). Their grandchildren Gordon and David (Christina) Ritchey, Stephanie and Mitchell Fromberg, and Laura (Daniel) Williamson and Lindsay Fleming cherish their memories of wonderful times with their Grandpa, including going on night walks, being gifted with wooden toys and furniture from his workshop, camping and learning by his example of gracious and generous living. Gordon is also survived by and sadly missed by his great grandchildren, Niamh, Max, and India Ritchey; his sister, Rosemary Reilly; his nieces and nephews, cousins, and many friends.
A Celebration of Life will be held from 1:30 – 4:00 on September 15 in the Hume Room at the Hume Hotel in Nelson. A short program will begin at 2:00.
In lieu of flowers, if desired, donations could be made to the Parkinson’s Society in Gordon’s name www.parkinsons.org. You are invited to leave a personal message of condolence by visiting the family’s online register at www.thompsonfs.ca.