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A Life Lived to the Fullest

Date of Birth March 27, 1928

Obituary Image

Date of Passing April 18, 2019

Murray James Gavel

from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Murray James Gavel, P.Eng - husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, friend, engineer, golfer, marathon runner, skier, gin and tonic lover - was born on March 27, 1928 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and died April 18 in Vancouver at age 91. He was raised in Outlook, Saskatchewan, moving to Saskatoon to attend university where he earned a degree in civil engineering. Later he completed a graduate degree in the same area of study at Utah State University.  He was a partner at Keith Consulting Engineers and spent most of his career in Regina and Lethbridge.  

In 1951 he married Midge Mills. They had three daughters - Perry, Leslie, and Wendy.     

Later in his career he worked for the college in Kelowna where met Mary Lou Hawkes. After retirement they built a life together in Vancouver.

Details like this summarize a life but certainly don’t tell the whole story. His grandkids would tell you what a fun and generous grandpa he was. How many grandpas initiate the annual polar plunge tradition every New Year’s day? He always made lots of time for his grandkids at every stage of their lives. More recently it was arguing politics or climate change over a glass of wine.

His daughters can speak to what a great dad Murray was. He wasn’t a typical father of the times. Always driving us, whether it be to ballet, the mountains of  Montana for endless ski adventures or our epic summer road trips. He tried to show us how to throw a ball and to explain algebra homework. He had his work cut out for him. He always had time and was kind and patient.

Mary Lou’s three daughters - Kim, Dawn, and Charmagne enjoyed a close relationship with Murray, thinking of him as their honourary dad.

Murray taught through example. He was always engaged in the political process. He would deny it but years ago in Saskatchewan he was a liberal. He kept migrating to the right as he got older which was the source of many arguments but he was open to other opinions and listened respectfully. 

Mary Lou made Murray promise he would live until May 24, 2020 which would have been their 25th wedding anniversary but it was not to be. Murray and Mary Lou made a great couple and it was obvious how much they loved and enjoyed each other.  They have many good friends in their condo building and entertained often at 1010 Chilco.  

His absence will be felt deeply by his three daughters and sons-in-law, Mary Lou’s three daughters and families, fourteen grandchildren, four great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Heartfelt thanks to the staff on the Palliative Care Unit, St. Paul’s Hospital and Vancouver Hospice Society. 

If you wish please send a memorial contribution to the Portland Hotel Society or Vancouver Hospice Society.   

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, June 15 from 1:30 to 4:30 at the Sylvia Hotel on English Bay, 1154 Gilford St, Vancouver. Please let us know if you are able to join us. pjongsma@cogeco.ca



  • admin
    Reply Terry and Charles Lambert and Roe / Jun 02, 2019

    Terry and Charles Lambert and Roe sends their condolences.

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    Reply Bart Slobodzian / May 27, 2019

    Bart Slobodzian sends their condolences.

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    Reply Larry Rowe / Apr 30, 2019

    Larry Rowe sends their condolences.

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    Reply Greg Matthews / Apr 30, 2019

    Murray was the nicest guy I knew. He got along with everyone even when politics was involved. He was central in bringing family and friends together. Although that infamous "Karaoki" night might have been a bit much? He is missed. The memories will persist and I aspire to be more like him as I move forward through this life.

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    Reply Laurie Mitchell / Apr 26, 2019

    Laurie Mitchell sends their condolences.

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    Reply Connie Minogue / Apr 23, 2019

    Your tribute to Murray hit all the right notes. He was an extraordinary and extraordinarily blessed man. His eyes twinkled and he was always upbeat and fun (and funny). Photo is from Murray's 90th birthday party, last year. It was epic - so many people, so much hospitality, so much fun. Frank and I will miss him and our Chilco time in Vancouver.

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    Reply Charmagne Daniel / Apr 22, 2019

    It’s hard to summarize a man like Murray Gavel’s contributions as you said... To us, he was the man who treated our Mom/Nana like the Queen she is. He was the man who always supported us regardless of how crazy our aspirations were. He was and always will be proudly referred to as my Dad and my children’s Papa. From funny stories about miniature horses to dragging me to the bank to teach about finances, preparing our future. He truly cared about people and held his family close. We are all better people having Murray in our lives. Love ya Big Mur. xoxo Charmagne, Omar, Shakur, Jahmeah & Jahrin

  • From:
    OBITUARe Family
  • From:
    Jahrin Daniel

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