ROBERT FRANCIS GRIDLEY
9 June 1923 - 24 April 2022
Bob was one of six children born to Osborne and Amelia Gridley in Glemsford, Suffolk, England. He enjoyed an idyllic village upbringing, spending countless hours cycling the countryside for pleasure, delivering newspapers and working on a local farm weeding vegetable fields. He took great pride in the results of his labour. Sadly, when Bob was 10 years old, his loving father passed away, a loss he felt deeply throughout his life.
Bob enlisted with the Royal Army Medical Corps, 12 March 1942. He was a member of 224 Para Field Ambulance and was wounded by a mortar at Normandy six days after the initial landing. He served until 14 July 1945.
After the war, Bob emigrated to Canada, arriving in Montreal on 14 October 1947. He travelled west by train, found employment on a mink farm near Edmonton, Alberta, and then more preferable work in the city as a bread wrapper at a bakery. In 1952, he was hired by Imperial Oil as a clerk at the railhead office in Edmonton. After a couple of years he was transferred to the Peace River office. Leaving Imperial Oil after 9 years, he started his own grocery store, and his experiences enabled him to be recruited by Canada Safeway. He moved back to Edmonton and worked as a store manager until his retirement in July 1985. He kept in contact with his Safeway family after retiring and treasured many letters and pictures attesting to their affection for him.
Bob was a Shriner and a founding charter member of Al Shamal Temple, Edmonton. He was a Mason for almost 70 years and was initiated into Peace River Lodge No. 89 in 1953. He affiliated with Lake Saskatoon Lodge No. 106 in Edmonton, May of 1972, and was a Knights Templar member of Edmonton Preceptory No. 46 until his passing.
After retiring, Bob moved to Cobble Hill and later Chemainus on Vancouver Island where he pursued his passion for gardening and hobby farming. His loyal companions were his Alsatian dogs, especially Tinker Bell and King.
He was a deeply religious man all his life. Music was a joy for Bob, especially Gregorian Chants and Bach. He sang in the choir of St Mary the Virgin Church, Glemsford, as a child and young man. In retirement, he joined the Concenti Singers of Duncan and performed in many musical productions with the Chemainus Seniors’ Drop-In Centre.
In 2010, Bob decided he could no longer live by himself and moved into La Rosa Gardens, an assisted living facility close to Chemainus in Ladysmith, BC. Friends Chris and Gillian Baird helped to oversee his care and provide companionship until his death in April, 2022.
Bob is survived by his niece Diana Hardy, nephew Bryan Argent, grandnephew Ben Hardy, grandniece Ria Hardy and great grandniece Beau.
To quote Bob, “I have had a good life and made some wonderful friends. Thanks to all!”
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