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Obituary

ROSS WALLBRIDGE (published on February 14, 2009)



ROSS WALLBRIDGE Ross Frank Wallbridge was born in Brandon, Manitoba on March 4, 1930. His heritage was of United Empire Loyalist stock from the Picton, Ontario region. Ross lived the first years of his life in Kemnay, close to Brandon, where he was raised by his maternal grandmother as his mother had died in childbirth. The family moved into Brandon when he was still a child and he lived there until joining the Canadian military in 1949 at Shilo. He met Stella Marie Flamand in Winnipeg during the big flood of 1950 and they were married later that year on September 5th. Stella is from a large, historic Metis family, the Flamands and throughout their life together the joining of two cultures was always in the background. Together Ross and Stella had five children, Connie Lachnit (John), Harold (Gail), Janet, Garth (Pat Moore) and Susanne Marie Moore. Today there are many grandchildren and great-grandchildren who along with their parents are proud to have called Ross Dad and Granddad. Ross was a proud Canadian and a proud veteran, who although he never served overseas, was pleased when the policy of the Canadian military changed a few years back to recognize that lack of overseas service should not preclude someone who served in uniform from being called a Canadian military veteran . (But he was a little bit disappointed that he could not get a Veteran's license plate for his car because the car was registered in Stella's name!) He served in the Third Royal Canadian Horse Artillery until he took an early retirement in 1971. In over twenty years of military service as a gunner in the artillery he never had to fire a big gun at any enemy other than avalanches in the mountains of western Canada. He was proud of that service, making highways and towns in the mountains safer for the Canadians who lived and travelled there. He had a second career working for Canada Post for twelve years and then with the Canadian Corps of Commissioners for another three. For most of his life he wore one uniform or another of the country he was so proud to be a citizen of. Ross was an active member of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 141 on Selkirk Avenue in the North End for the many years he lived in the area. After retiring from the Army he was involved in the Knights of Columbus. Ross was very handy with his hands. He could fix just about anything and he took great pride in building things such as a house in Brandon when he was first married and then a number of table saws that he built from hardwood and electrical motors and miscellaneous parts, that he would then sell to his fellow soldiers. For many years he ran an upholstery business out of the basement of the various army houses he lived in so he could help his army buddies have a little better furniture at a price they could afford on an army salary. When the family moved to Winnipeg in 1966 Ross negotiated rent on a house in the North End of Winnipeg at the princely sum of $135 per month so long as he made all repairs that were needed to the house. He made all those repairs and the landlord liked the arrangement so much the rent stayed the same for well over a decade. Ross liked to tell the story about how when he was building that house in Brandon he needed some fine sand for grout for the concrete blocks in the basement. He and a buddy drove out to the distant parts of the army base at Shilo, and because it was winter and the ground was frozen they built a small gasoline bomb, used a pick to chop a hole in the side of a sand bank, set the bomb into it, and had success, lots of loose sand. As they were busy shoveling some into the trunk of their car the Military Police showed up in response to a report of an explosion on the base! Ross was able to convince the police that he was just putting the skills of improvisation that the Army had taught him to work. And he got away with it. He really wasn't much of a hell raiser though and no doubt where his soul rests today he is sitting there peacefully offering a helping hand and a bit of advice to all around him. A service will be held at the Meadowood Manor, 575 St. Anne's Road on Wednesday, February 18, at 11:00 a.m. Flowers are gratefully declined. Donations could be made to the Winnipeg Humane Society, 45 Hurst Way, Winnipeg, MB R3T 0R3 or Meadowood Manor, 575 St. Anne's Road, Winnipeg, MB, R2M 5B2, where Ross lived comfortably for the last two years of his life. Neil Bardal Inc. 204-949-2200 nbardal.mb.ca


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