Born in Toronto, and passing away peacefully in his 96th year, Gavin is lovingly remembered by his adoring wife of 71 years, Shirley (nee Brown), his loving children Sharon Shannon (Michael), Deborah Chant (Murray, deceased), Christie (Pamela) and Kevin (Toni). Affectionately known to his admiring grandchildren as “Skipper”, he is remembered by Stephanie (Sean Finlayson) and Laura Clark, and Jamie, Peter (Janna) and Sarah Clark. Gavin was dear brother to Diana Gillespie, deceased (Alastair, deceased), Ian (Nancy) and Sheila.
Gavin was born and raised in Toronto, attended Upper Canada College, and entered engineering school at the University of Toronto as a proud Alpha Delta Phi in 1940. However, shortly thereafter, with the war in full swing, Gavin attended Royal Roads Naval Officer’s School in Vancouver, and subsequently took command of Q085 (Fairmile), making him one of the youngest “Captains” in the Canadian navy at age 19. He spent the next four years patrolling and escorting supply convoys during the Battle of the Atlantic. Gavin held a true love of the navy and subsequently throughout the rest of his life, attended naval officer conferences across the country, wearing his uniform and medals with pride.
Gavin joined Toronto-based Rolph Clark Stone Ltd., a printing and lithographing company, founded by his grandfather and rose to the position of Executive Vice President. During his time at RCS, Gavin attended Harvard’s School of Business. Later he pursued a career in education, becoming Dean of Arts and later Dean of Business at Seneca College.
With a passion for country life, Gavin and Shirley, early in their marriage moved to King City, north of Toronto where they raised Bull Mastiffs and rode with the Toronto and North York Hunt. Later, after years back in Toronto, they retired to the Pretty River Valley, just southwest of Collingwood, Ontario, where he and Shirley spent many wonderful years continuing their love of horses, hiking and the outdoors. Eventually these days were followed by Thornbury and Collingwood before returning to live in Toronto.
Gavin was always most comfortable on the water and he enjoyed a life-long skilled passion for sailing; spending many wonderful summers on “Whisky Run” at the RCYC, with sailing trips in the Thousand Islands, the North channel, the west coast of Canada and the Hebrides in Scotland. He was proud of his Scottish heritage and was a popular partner at Scottish country dancing events.
We would like to extend our gratitude to the palliative care team at Sunnybrook Hospital, for the wonderful care he received. A private family service will be held. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Veteran’s Comfort Fund, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Room KGW-01, Toronto, Ontario M4N 3M5 or a charity of your choice. Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.