Norman Goodayle passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 21, 2020 at the age of 94. Born on September 5,1925, Norm was known for his good-natured knack for bringing people together and a quick wit that never failed to elicit a chuckle.
He was the middle child of three sons born to Hilda and Jaybez Goodayle, who immigrated to Canada from England following World War I, during which Norm’s father fought at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Norm grew up in what is now the Toronto neighborhood of Long Branch. By all accounts, he was a good-hearted young lad with a mischievous glint in his eye and his deeds that continued throughout his life.
As a teenager, he joined the Canadian military to defend our country in World War II. As part of his training, he was dispatched to Vernon, B.C. As he boarded the train bound for the western province, his mother gave him stern instructions "not to pick up with any of those Western girls."
Luckily, he didn’t follow his mother’s advice. One day, Norm saw a beautiful young lady, Marion, who was born and raised in Vernon, working behind the counter in a government office. He worked up the nerve to ask her out for a coffee. It was the beginning of a courtship that ended with a proposal by hand-written letter and an engagement ring sent through the mail. Norm and Marion married on September 20, 1947 and settled in Toronto, where they lived for the rest of their 72.5 years together.
Norm can be described as industrious with an uncanny ability and skill to overcome obstacles, find creative solutions to get what he wanted, and adapt to whatever circumstances he found himself in.
When, as newlyweds, Norm and Marion, weren’t able to afford to purchase a house, he found two acres in the country and constructed a home. Together, they planted 2,000 tree seedlings, a flower garden and an expansive vegetable garden with fruit trees.
During his working life, Norm was responsible for the inventory control of gas cylinders across the country with the Canadian Oxygen Company. He worked and travelled across Canada to various communities, mining and logging towns to ensure the security of the company's assets. He was a communicator and negotiator. Correspondingly, he was also active in a number of organizations including the Masons and Toastmasters. By night, he took courses on building furniture and restoring antiques.
But his joy was his family. Norm and Marion had two children, Lynn and Stephen, and loved embarking on wonderful family adventures over the years. Steve tragically passed away in 1978.
One of their most long-lasting adventures was Norm’s fulfillment of his childhood dream to spend time in the Muskokas, where he spent time as a child. He and Marion initially set out to buy an antique wooden boat to drive on weekend trips, but in their quest for a place to store it, they ended up purchasing a cottage with a boathouse on Lake Muskoka.
Renovating the humble cottage in Milford Bay (and refurbishing the boat) was a labour of love. Norm and Marion worked on for years hand-in-hand with a rotating cast of volunteers who were compensated with hearty meals, endless water skiing and happy hours with “special drinks” on the dock. It became the favourite gathering place for family and friends and remains so to this day.
Like Norm, Lynn herself moved to Western Canada for work in her 20s, which is where she met and married Gary Hudson, an Albertan whom Norm fondly dubbed "Sonny." Norm would often joke with his son-in-law that he was rescued from the prairie lands and that he made that “darn strong cowboy coffee”.
Norm and Marion travelled to many countries after they both retired. One of their favourites was Barbados and they traveled to the island annually for a number of years with several of their friends. Even decades later, revellers remember Norm making a wicked rum punch.
Family time was always important and it was enhanced when two special people came into their lives, granddaughters Erin and Elise. Norm loved them with all his heart and, amid their ongoing pranks on him, he imparted his lifelong work ethic to his girls.
Norm's ability to get along with people was evident during his recent residence at West Park Healthcare Center. Norm developed dementia in his final years, but he remained himself — a very social, good-natured person who loved a joke and conversation in "whatever language" they all spoke together. He always wanted to participate in every activity and outing, and Norm’s family wishes to thank the team at West Park for their compassionate care and humour.
Norm lived a wonderful life, filled with the joys and the tears that come with family and friends. He is survived by his loving wife, Marion, daughter Lynn, son-in-law Gary, granddaughters Elise and Erin, and nephew Darren Goodayle and his wife Marilyn, and children Tristan and Morgan. Norm had a conversation with Darren some time ago telling him he was passing the torch to Darren and Tristan to carry on the name. Darren happily accepted!
In her final goodbye, Marion sends a special message to her Norman: one of true love, respect, admiration and appreciation for a lifetime of happiness and dreams come true. Norm is now in God's care.
Due to the current direction to keep everyone safe and healthy, a Committal Service was held on April 23 at Parklawn Cemetery with the Reverend Dr. David Winsor, Marion, Gary, Lynn and joining, using technology provided by Turner and Porter, Erin from New York City, Elise from San Francisco, and Darren and family from Chesley Ontario.
We wish to thank Rev. Dr. David Winsor for his ongoing support of and visits with Norm and Marion over the years, and the many laughs they shared while enjoying multiple cups of coffee with Marion’s muffins. Marion, Lynn, Gary, Erin and Elise wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to David for his steady guidance, encouragement and creative approach to ensuring Norm was honoured as he set about his journey in a faith-filled optimistic manner. We appreciate David’s love and support extended to us all.
For anyone wishing to honour Norman’s life with a gift, please make a donation to a charitable organization of your choice.
So others may share in the celebration of Norm’s life, albeit in a different way, the following are reflections written and read at the Committal Service by Erin and Elise:
Erin’s Reflections of Grandpa
Grandpa, thank you for everything you did for us.
From tending to a meticulous garden at the cottage to ensuring that Lynmar was in gleaming condition ahead of a boat ride, you went out of your way to make our surroundings more beautiful and enjoyable.
Before that, you built the house that Granny and you had been working toward for so many years. Later, you transformed the cottage into the cozy escape I know it to be today. Of course, you had some help in us, your family, who often found ourselves roped into these projects, sometimes more willingly than others. But the bigger picture was always clear: these were the places that would be the backdrop of some of our best times with friends and family, and because of that they were worth the effort.
You taught me that hard work will be rewarded, advised me to always tackle the hardest tasks first, and showed me that love is often communicated in words of concern. You built a legacy that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. Now, you can finally sleep in peace. I love you Grandpa and will miss you.
Remembering Grandpa by Elise
Grandpa, I'm so sorry we couldn't be there with you today, but I promise when this is all over we will come see you, we will mix a rum punch in an unlabelled jug, and have a special drink in your honour.
I know the last couple years have seen a lot of changes for our family - but I take comfort knowing that you're happier now, and you were ready to break free and dance into the next stage of life. I want to take this time to tell you about some of my favourite things about you - funny enough most of these are in hindsight because as a kid I didn't know enough to understand these qualities about you.
You were fiercely protective and unwaveringly devoted to our family - as kids Erin and I tormented you as our "grumpy grandpa" playing tricks with the hose, picking your garden right after you planted it, running through the garden or climbing trees when you told us not to. We would swim far offshore with you waving at us to come in. We would run everywhere, with you constantly asking us to slow down. Whether it was Erin and I, Mom or Granny, or even Dad and the power tools - you were always looking out for any harm that came our way, and you fiercely stood your ground trying to prevent accidents. I imagine some of this may have come from Uncle Stephen's passing and you never wanted us to encounter even a fraction of that hurt again, but I think a lot of it was just who you were - deeply loyal to those you loved, and a fierce defender of our family.
You were a true artist with a meticulous eye to details - from the plants at the cottage, to woodworking, to the mirrors you built for all of us out of the old cottage windows - you poured over the details to make it exactly as you envisioned. I look back and I think this was one of your strongest love languages Gramps. I think back to one of the clearest examples being the grave you made for Kandy when she passed away. The sanded and polished cross with the engraved gold plates, the cemented corner and the carefully chosen rocks around the outline - not many people put that care and dedication into something like that, but you loved her so much, and you expressed your love through these acts of thoughtfulness for us all, in our day-to-day lives - whether or not we realized it at the time.
You have shown me that we can do anything, absolutely anything that we put our minds to - you built Granny a house to raise Mom and Stephen in, you built a cottage to share laughs and escape from reality (and you shared it generously with family and friends), you restored a boat and took upholstery classes to figure out how to do it. You've shown me Grandpa, that you don't need money, and stuff to achieve our dreams - you need to dream big and have the determination and dedication to make it happen.
Grandpa, I know that you are standing with all of us now, and if you could, you would express how proud you are. Proud of Mom as she has led our family through ups and down, proud that she has become a pillar of strength that I think she learned from you. She is always your little girl, your "twitter" or "daughhhhhhhterrr" that you were fiercely protective over.
I know you're proud of how Granny has maintained an unwavering spirit throughout the last few years and I know how you wish you could've been present with her and walking alongside her, something that I know you are doing now.
I know you're proud of Dad and the way he has held it down with the most important women in your life, knowing when to lean in, and more importantly when to lean out. Dad, I know he now would probably feel OKAY about you using the power tools although never thrilled, especially when it comes to HIS cottage.
I know you would be so proud of Erin too, that she's chosen such a great partner to walk through life with, who shows a lot of the same determination that you have always had. And I know you're proud of her relentlessness to pursue her dreams, much like how you did.
Grandpa I think we had a special bond as well, a mischievous comradery, and a glint in our eyes. I can rest easy now knowing You are with your parents and siblings again, you're with Steve, Kandy and Ellie. I imagine you're in one of your favourite hats, a nice plaid button down and your tan coat on. Smiling and doing that wave you do at us. I imagine you're telling us that you'll be waiting for us, but not to hurry up there any time soon. I love you Grandpa and will treasure your memory always as you walk alongside us in spirit.