February 18, 1922 – March 11, 2019
Gerald Clifford Ascroft passed away peacefully at the Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan with family by his side on March 11th, 2019 at the age of 97.
He is survived by his son, Gerald “Gerry” (Vedrana) Ascroft and grandsons Adrian & Adam of Cobble Hill, BC, son Timothy (Claudio Rangel-Garcia) Ascroft of Kelowna, BC, daughters Julie (Kelly Mason) Ascroft of Fort Erie, ON, Amy Ascroft of Smithville, ON and Sherri (Charles Boyd) Ascroft-Boyd and grand- daughter Serena Boyd of Annapolis Valley, NS; daughter-in-law Sharon (late son Ronald) Ascroft of Stoney Creek, ON, grandson Curtis Ascroft and great grandchildren of Hamilton, ON, sister-in-law Shirley Ascroft (late brother Eric) and niece Elinor (Chris) Sobon of Kelowna, BC and niece Janice Ascroft of Sunshine Coast, BC.
Gerald was predeceased by his loving wife of 68 years Margaret Gwendolyn “Gwen” Ascroft (2017), two eldest sons Ronald Ascroft (2013) and Geoffrey “Geoff ” Ascroft (2015) and his only brother Eric Ascroft (2018).
Born in Victoria, BC as the older son of Clifford James and Hazel Belle (nee Toombs of PEI) Ascroft, Gerald grew up on South Vancouver Island between family’s home in Victoria and their summer cottage in Mill Bay. He attended Quadra Public School, Victoria High School and later graduated from UBC in 1946 with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
Employment opportunity with Westinghouse precipitated his move to Hamilton, ON in 1947 where he met his love Gwen (nee Harvey), whom he married in August,1949. The couple moved to Victoria, BC in 1950 where their son “Ronnie” was born as the first of their 7 children, but 19 months later the young family moved back to St. Catharines, ON and Gerald started his new job with Cyanamid of Niagara Falls. They purchased their first home and soon welcomed their second and third child: son Geoffrey and daughter Julie. In 1957, Gerald commenced his 5 year employment as an Electrical Engineer on the Welland Canal with St. Lawrence Seaway, which in 1958 enabled him to purchase a 50 acre farm (their home for 38 years) west of St. Catharines and allowed him to try his hand at farming. The farm was the nurturing place for his family as, in coming months and years, it grew by four more children: Gerald jr. “Gersi”, Amy, Tim and Sherri.
Gerald found his true calling when a part-time Math tutoring from 1962 -1967 ultimately lead to the full time Math & Science Teacher position with South Lincoln High School in Smithville, ON. He retired in 1987 at the age of 65. Although his life was filled with a great many challenges, he met them with courage, honor, respect and acceptance and always managed to maintain his optimism and his sense of humor. Gerald was a quiet, contemplative, caring and generous man who loved his family and cherished his friends.
He loved the Niagara region in Ontario where he was rooted and lived out most of his life, but he remained forever connected by heart strings to his native Vancouver Island, endeavoring to make regular trips back as life allowed. He often considered moving back over the years, but it was not until 2017 that he became a British Columbia resident again as he settled in with his son’s family in Cobble Hill, thus fulfilling his wish to live out his last years on South Vancouver Island, near Victoria, Malahat and Mill Bay – the place of his youth.
He loved reading, photography, music, animals, birds, flowers, and was always in awe of the natural world around us. His ability to find beauty in the simplest of everyday things endeared him to many people in his new community. Whenever asked: “How are you today Mr. Ascroft?” he would always reply: “Every day is beautiful”.
He will be greatly missed by his family and friends from coast to coast and all who got to know him in his final years.
His family extends heartfelt gratitude to everyone who assisted with Gerald’s healthcare, comforts and well-being in the last few years. We are immensely thankful for the professionalism and kindness of all the doctors, nurses and assisting staff at the Cowichan District Hospital for their dedication, respect, compassion and caring in our father’s and grandfather’s last days and for the words of comfort to us all.
Special thank you to H.W. Wallace Funeral Services for their care and assistance through some of the most difficult moments. Gerald’s ashes will be interred at the Royal Oak Burial park in Victoria next to his beloved wife’s.
A “Celebration of Life” in his honor will take place at Shawinigan Lake Community Centre on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 1:00 pm.