January 6, 1929 - December 17, 2020
Murray Shiell – passed away peacefully at Royal Terrace Long Term Care, Palmerston on Thursday December 17, 2020 at the age of 91.
Our family has been forever changed since losing both Mom and now Dad. The essence of our family however, remains in our attitudes, our actions and the memories of our time growing up together under their guidance.
Born on January 6, 1929, Dad was the fourth of eight children. His older siblings were Alfred, Catherine and Harry. The younger ones were Muriel, Glen, Marie and Verna. They lived on a farm and when he was a young teenager he moved to another nearby farm on his own and batched as he called it. Eventually his younger brother Glen would move in with him as well. He reminisced about practicing on the harmonica for weeks and then one of his sisters would come over and play it 100% better than he did. He was somewhat miffed. His father played the violin and his mother and sisters played the piano.
He married Joyce Felker in1952 and they started their family a year later. They had three children in three years Bob, Dianne and Linda. Fifteen years later Vicki was born and our family was complete.
If Mom was our heart, Dad was our rock. He could always be counted on to be there for support, guidance and help. He was the most reliable person we ever knew. He sometimes spoke with regret that he never owned his own farm. He wasn’t a fan of milking cows but enjoyed custom farming and working in the fields. Dad was smart and hard working so it was only a matter of time before he was running the farms at Campbell Soup. His logic and common sense were legend in our family. Dad was always very complimentary about Mom’s abilities and the respect he showed her was transformative for his daughters. After he retired, we got the opportunity to meet a new easy-going Dad that was finally able to enjoy some leisure time that had eluded him most of his working life. He and Mom also enjoyed helping out at different church functions and at the Salvation Army at Christmas time.
Through the years, we pestered him for pets which he always allowed against his better judgment. We ended up with numerous dogs and many cats. He taught us how to throw balls, frisbees, and ride bikes. He harassed us about our hair, gave us scratchy whisker rubs and took our dinner plates when we goofed around at dinner. Dad didn’t enjoy cards or board games and his daughters shared his dislike. He loved reading his newspaper, watching the Blue Jays, curling bonspiels and shows on history.
Dad was the king of expressions. He often spoke of the old country back in 19 ought 6 although he had never been there. He called us all “Lambie”. He said that people referred to him as “Easy to get along with Murray I’m known as.” He jokingly threatened to take us to the woodshed for discipline (horsewhipping by a sledgehammer was a favourite) and discussed whether or not we would jump off a bridge if our friends did. Dad would always give us a whisker rub at bedtime and tell us he’d see us in the funny papers. If he wanted more tea it was either a splash or a gush and we had to determine just how much that was.
Some of our fondest memories were of Dad coming home to collect whichever child was at home to help him catch the escaped baby chickens and put them back inside their cardboard corrals. Even cleaning out and refilling the water bottles was fun when you’re a kid and the baby chicks were adorable.
I wouldn’t say that Dad was a patient man, but after Bob’s car accident he developed the ability to be understanding, compassionate and patient. For about fifteen years Dad devoted his free time to make life more rewarding for Bob and we couldn’t have been more proud.
Dad loved to dance. He taught us all to dance and he and Mom enjoyed going to dances almost all of their lives together. Sometimes he would waltz Mom around the kitchen as we looked on with joy. Some of us would accompany them to the dances in later years and we always looked on with pride as they glided around the dance floor in perfect step. They were country music buffs and he had some less than complimentary things to say about the Beatles and Elvis although he once mentioned that someday Elvis might even learn to sing. Praise indeed.
He always thought he would like to travel someday but that day never came. Sauble Beach became his passion and he loved being there most of all. Dad was a friendly guy and enjoyed his bike rides and walks. He visited with the other campers and helped out whenever he could even mowing other people’s lawns when they were away.
Most of us remember spending time at Sauble Beach and being treated to campfires and beach days. Vicki’s children had the pleasure of Dad at his most playful during retirement, playing on the floor and in little cubbyholes. He was very versatile and could play a baby or a king. He even developed the knack of putting colicky babies to sleep earning him the title of “Murray Poppins”. A man of many talents.
Losing Mom and Dad within a year of each other is a crushing blow to our family, but in time our memories and the love we were surrounded with will fill the void their passing has made.
Beloved husband of the late Joyce (Felker) Shiell who predeceased him in January 2020. Loving father of Bob Shiell (predeceased 1986), Dianne (Garry) Lucas, Linda (Dave) Moir, Vicki (Charlie) Graci. Special grandpa of Mike (Katie), Pam, Chandelle (Jeremy), Krista, Giovanna, Angelo and great-grandpa of Jamie (Vanessa), Jessica, Henry, Emmett, Tracy and great-great grandpa of Nathaniel. Dear brother of Marie (Ron) Fleet and brother-in-law of Marlene Shiell, Ivan (Carol) Felker and Susie (Bill) Querengesser. Fondly remembered by many nieces and nephews.
Predeceased by his parents Robert and Isabel (Cleland) Shiell, brothers Alfred, Harry and Glen Shiell, and sisters Catherine (James) Adams, Muriel (Dave) Neilson, Verna (Stewart) Wallace.
In keeping with Murray’s wishes, cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Interment of both Murray and Joyce will be in Elma Centre Cemetery, Atwood.
As expressions of sympathy, memorial donations to Royal Terrace Long Term Care or Palmerston and District Hospital Foundation would be appreciated by the family.