FINNERTY, LESLIE GORDON – June 24, 1934 – November 16, 2018
It is with great sadness that the family share his peaceful passing while listening to his favourite Irish music on Friday November 16th at Millcreek Care Centre, Barrie, ON. Predeceased by his beloved wife Isobel (Church). Loving and devoted father of Lorne and John. Adored father in law of Debbie Foll. Cherished and fun-loving Papa of Erin and Jeff. Survived by sisters Juilita, Joanne (passed the next morning) and Noreen. Predeceased by brother Pat. Les will be missed by many nieces, nephews, cousins, his curling and card buddies, McInnis Lake cottagers, family, and friends. The family would like to express their grateful thanks to all the staff of Mill Creek Care Centre who took such wonderful care of Les over the last 5 months.
Les was the beloved first born of Ambrose and Mary Kate Finnerty (Stack) in Kirkland Lake, ON in 1934. He was raised and eventually married in Timmins. After a short stint in mining and other entrepreneurial ventures, he pursued a career with the CNR which entailed many relocations throughout Ontario. During his lengthy CNR career he embraced many challenges, developed lasting relationships and was a mentor and inspiration to many.
He was the responsible eldest of five, who, upon the early death of his father, became a source of guidance and financial support for his mother and younger sisters. A broken nose at the high school football tryouts made him seek more benign leisure pursuits such as dancing, singing, charming women, skiing, golfing, bridge and bargain hunting.
In 1957 he married Isobel Church and together they raised Lorne and John, providing many enjoyable memories, especially summers at McInnis Lake. For sixty years he was a devoted husband, travel companion and champion of her political career, with special pride in her appointment to the Senate. Finally, he was her steadfast reliable caregiver. Together they delighted in their grandchildren Erin and Jeff.
As a longtime member of Burlington Golf and County Club, Les was equally famous for his annual Santa Claus performances as he was for his curling prowess. Friends were reluctant to share a confidence lest it be exposed during his Christmas gig.
Les’s predominant traits were his eternal optimism, and steely resilience. These attributes trace their origin to his Irish ancestors whose courage and perseverance allowed them to survive the famine ship voyage to Canada in search of a better life. At an early age he would accompany his father’s fiddle music on the piano. With very little provocation he would sing his entire Irish repertoire, never repeating the same song twice. He could call and lead a square dance simultaneously. He was a witty storyteller with an endless source of material. He was a genuine extrovert and a great entertainer. He was proud to be known as the family ambassador to some eighty, first cousins, reaching out to maintain family bonds.
In every aspect of his life he nurtured and cherished lasting friendships. If you are one of those fortunate acquaintances either recent or long term, Les invites you to honour his memory with a song called “The Parting Glass” by Liam Clancy and a toast to all his great family and friends!
Cremation has taken place. Internment will be in Timmins in the spring. If so desired, donations may be made to the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.
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Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation
47 Squire Baker’s Lane, Markham, ON L3P 3G8