December 4, 1926 – October 6, 2020
The family of John Alfred Webster Gorosh sadly announces his peaceful passing Oct 6, 2020, at Nanaimo Seniors Village, at 94 years of age. Predeceased only 3 months earlier by his loving wife and devoted partner in everything, Gladys. Predeceased by father John, mother Dora, brother Fred, sister Audrey (Bodger).
Survived by daughter Carol, sons John and Paul, grandson Steele, grand daughters Brei, Taylor and Eden, great grand daughters; Ella, Chloe, and Farryn, great-grandson Christian.
Dad was born Dec 4, 1926 in East Vancouver. By 1935, his father, looking for better economic prospects, had moved the family to Nanaimo, taking up their first residence in the rear of a second hand furniture store at 426 Fitzwilliam St.
The family business also sold cast iron kitchen stoves, and teenaged Dad had the job of carrying the heavy deliveries. In 1942, after 6 years of cramped living behind the store, Dora laid down the law and the family moved to a much bigger home on Wesley St.
Dad attended John Shaw High School, and joined the Nanaimo Fire Department while still in Grade 11. He slept at the fire hall most nights for several years. Luckily for Dad, he had disposed of his motorcycle before he started courting the lovely blonde from the china department of the Hudson Bay Co., on Commercial St. and on a fittingly snowy day in February 1949, John married Gladys.
Together they formed an enthusiastic and energetic partnership and over their long lives, they did almost everything together: hunting, fishing, snow skiing, waterskiing, travelling, and cruising.
By the late forties, Dad had started a scrap metal yard at Fitzwilliam St. and converted a 1922 Brownhoist front shovel into a crawler crane for loading scrap iron into railcars, first at Selby St., then at Wellington. Since the steel mills did not want scrap autos in those days, John took thousands of them anyway, and stacked them neatly, four high, creating an iconic local landmark.
John’s scrap business, now gone, progressed into the crane rental business that exists today, through the hands of son John and now grandson Steele. The business took John, his crews and his cranes to hundreds of industrial and construction sites on Vancouver Island. He was proud to employ some of the best operators in the business, and relied heavily on their expertise.
Though his work had become very demanding on his time, Dad always maintained a very family oriented life. Having learned to ski at Hollyburn in 1944, while attending Vancouver Technical School, Dad re-introduced Mom to skiing on their first date at Forbidden Plateau.
This was the start of many family ski trips, usually the Bestwick family, over the next 60 years; to Grouse, Mt. Hood, Banff , and Whistler. Dad enjoyed extensive travels, after a reluctant start, with Mom always leading the way, especially to Europe, the Maritimes, and Northern Canada. Together, they made many new friends this way.
Dad was always a genuine gentleman with everyone he met and, being very much a “live and let live” kind of person, was cheerfully adept at avoiding controversy, restricting his opinions to the weather (usually good) and cuisine (always good).
Some of Dad’s favourite pastimes involved gourmet dining, with The Chaine de Rotisseurs, and cruising the “Dixsea I” through the Gulf Islands with the Wardill family.
Dad spent his last years at Nanaimo Seniors Village, and the family is grateful for the compassionate care he received there, with special thanks to Michelle, Silsan, and many others. While we deeply miss Dad, we are so grateful to have had him in our lives; always leading, not by words, but by his actions.
A Celebration of Life for John is planned at a later date.
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