September 1, 1962 - March 9, 2019
Garry Stewart Stockfish was born in Georgetown ON on September 1, 1962. He died not far away in Brampton ON on March 9, 2019 from complications of an infection. He was 56. His seemingly ordinary life was extraordinary for the many people he touched and influenced along the way.
Garry grew up in Georgetown, Dorval QC and Sault Ste Marie ON. His parents are Stewart (died 2005) and Barbara of Orangeville ON. He was the youngest of five children: Bruce (Shana) of Ottawa ON, Carol of Victoria BC, Wendy (died 2014) and Glenn (Pauline) of Caledon ON. He was devoted to his live-in partner Lisa whom he met not quite a year ago.
The Sault was where Garry came of age, and he met many people there that became life-long friends from Sir James Dunn High and beyond. He was a golfer, hockey player, outdoorsman and all-round good-time guy.
He was finishing high school and preparing for a career as a pilot when tragedy struck. What shaped Garry’s life – but did not define it – was his diving accident near the Sault in 1981 in his final year of high school. He became a quadriplegic with some upper body function, but that just put him on a new track in life to make new friends and influence new people. He became the first person ever to graduate from high school at Lyndhurst. He generally kept in touch with, sat on boards of directors and worked to support doctors, nurses and others from Lyndhurst Hospital and the Canadian Paraplegic Association (now Spinal Cord Injury Ontario) for the rest of his life.
Aviation generally, and Air Canada specifically, was in his blood – his dad and many of his relatives worked at Air Canada, and he made it his career, too. He began working there before his accident and continued for 36 years until he retired in 2017 as a manager. The “Garry stories” from work are legendary – everyone has something to say about his sense of humour, his leadership, his support, his specialness.
Garry lived life to the fullest. He impressed everyone who met him because he never let his disability become an impediment. He drove a car, bought a house and travelled the world with family and friends. He was married to Alexandra for ten years. He joined us on the golf course, never missed a bbq and often had a drink to toast someone with a funny story. Usually a beer, a cuba libre or a fine scotch. Or Baileys in his coffee – in the morning! Garry was always an upbeat person with a special greeting or nickname for everyone. He was especially happy the last year of his life – he started a new career with Avex Flight Services and met the love of his life Lisa. They moved in together and had so many plans.
Now we have memories. Garry was a wonderful son, brother, partner and friend. He received from us, yes, but he gave back much more. He showed that the human spirit can triumph over adversity. He was truly an inspiration. We are all better persons for having known him. What better legacy is there than that.
Celebrating events with family and friends was what mattered most to Garry. A celebration of his life will take place on Saturday May 4 from 13:00 to 16:00, at Carl’s Catering The Glen, 1857 Queen St W, Brampton ON. Please come and share your memories. Condolences and memories can be shared online if desired at basicfunerals.ca. If you wish to contribute to a cause that Garry would support, please make a donation “In Memory of Garry Stockfish” to either the Dr Tator Spine Lab at Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation tgwhf.ca/tribute, or to Spinal Cord Injury Ontario sciontario.org/get-involved/make-a-donation/ways-to-give.