June 5, 2022
In Loving Memory ~
With sadness, disbelief and abundant gratitude for his rich life and never-ending love, we share the news that Granville Airton died in the early hours of June 5th 2022. Within 72 hours of a brain cancer diagnosis, he experienced a catastrophic brain bleed and died six days later. During that time, the Airtons gathered and sat with him, unable through our tears to keep from laughing and smiling from the countless stories we carry about Dear Old Dad. Granville is survived by: Gloria (Soganic), his beloved wife of 56 years; children Michael (Erika Steyn), Megan (Brendan Cindric) and Lee (Tamara de Szegheo Lang); grandchildren Beth, Ben, Lily and Fiona; and step-grandchildren Ruhan and Chantelle.
Those who knew him will appreciate that this short illness and painless death were exactly what Granville would have wanted, even if he had expected to live to well over 100 due to the painstaking care he took with diet and exercise these past 20 years. Chances are if you have ever spoken with him for more than 15 minutes, you have heard all about it.
Granville’s children will forever remember him as a parent who would drop anything for them if they needed help. Beyond our immediate Airton family, Granville was a devoted friend, father- and grandfather-figure to many. He made enduring friendships with people he met through squash, music, environmental activism, fly-fishing, or one of his countless other pursuits. Many friends have come forward to let us know how much they loved him, and this means the world to us. Whenever you cast a line, give someone a treat from your garden, drive a squash ball tightly down the wall, teach someone a chord on the guitar, give a borrowed tool back in better shape than before, or prepare one of his ultra-low-fat vegan recipes, he is living on through you.
Granville was born in Yeadon, Leeds to a family of miners in 1942. His parents Walter and Nelly Flesher died when he was a young child, and he was adopted by his maternal grandparents. His grandfather (Pop) brought Granville to Canada in 1958. He met Gloria in the Comox Valley in 1961 when he was working as a carpenter and they married in 1966. With the encouragement of Gloria and her beloved mother, Dot, Granville enrolled at UBC, graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Sciences (Civil Engineering) in 1970. Pop was endlessly proud that his grandson was the first Airton to complete university.
For much of his career, Granville was a forensic civil engineer who retired as the number one BC Supreme Court expert witness in his area of practice. He was much sought after for his skill, knowledge, and above all, his integrity. Granville was also an active member of the Vancouver Folk Song Society, and co-founded the Georgia Strait Guitar Workshop which ran successfully for decades.
To our enduring great benefit, Granville was open and free with his emotions, and constantly expressed his love for and pride in all of us. There was nothing he could not fix, nor support he would not give. Granville leaves behind a half-acre fruit and vegetable garden with a coming crop of his legendary garlic, tomatoes, strawberries, tayberries and blueberries. We have one last glorious summer to enjoy what he lovingly grew for us all.
We would like to thank the staff at the Comox Valley Hospital – both the ER (Dr. Charles Huisamen and nurse Hailey Christmas) and the care team in the 4A ward (Alisha, Sheila, Kaylee, Monique, Nene and Tanis). Special thanks to GP Dr. Marcus Langhans for his daily visits, honesty and warm bedside manner and family friend Dr. Mandy Ruthnum for her love, friendship and invaluable advice.
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