Gordon Lawrence Sadler passed away on August 26, 2018 at Riverview Health Centre in Winnipeg, surrounded by his family. He was 95 years old. Gordon will be deeply missed by his loving wife Dorothy, his children Kim (Kim), Dan (Wendy), and John (Lynne), seven grandchildren Katherine, Lauren, Maverick, Coleman, Morgan, Griffin, and Oliver, sister Neta and brother Bob. Gordon is predeceased by his Father John Ross Sadler, Mother Mildred Blanche and Sister Eva Hyde.
Gordon was born on a farm near Elgin, Manitoba on November 9th, 1922. He moved with his parents to Scarth, Manitoba where the family operated a General Store. With the Depression upon them, Gordon’s father moved the family to Birch River, Manitoba in November, 1934 and by the spring of 1935, established the first butcher shop in Birch River. Gordon went to school in Birch River and completed Grade 12 in Bowsman, where he stayed with Mrs. Clapper Monday to Friday.
Upon completion of High School, Gordon joined the RCAF. Gordon desired to be a pilot, but because he had his Grade 12 education, he was sent to McGill University to train in Radar. Gordon was in the Air Force as a Radar Mechanic on a night fighter with #157 Squadron in England and the Middle East.
On return to Birch River in 1945, Gordon purchased land on the veteran’s project (northeast of Birch River). Gordon joined his father Ross in the family’s butcher business and built the Birch River Locker plant in 1951. The Locker plant provided refrigeration for the community prior to widespread availability of power and electric fridges. A slaughterhouse was built on land north of town in 1953 and was operated until Ross’s death in 1964. Gordon and his mother Blanche continued to run the store until they sold it in 1984. The store was a thriving business due to the logging and agricultural industries in the area. Farmers and hunters would bring their meat to be processed and stored in the Locker plant. Meat was also cured at the Locker plant, which was famous for the sausages it made every Thursday.
In 1960 Gordon married the love of his life, Dorothy Corbett. As Dorothy explains it, any time she returned to Birch River, Gordon was knocking at her parent’s door.
Gordon was very proud of Birch River and worked diligently for the community. He took leading roles in every organization including the Legion, Town Council, Chamber of Commerce, and the Community Club. He was heavily involved in all community projects including the building of the Curling Rink, Skating Rink, Pool and Legion, and was always part of organizing Sports Days. He was always lending a hand in any volunteer job required in town. Because of the family business as well as Gordon’s community work (always working Thursday night bingo), Gordon was very well known and respected by the community. In 2007 Dad was given provincial recognition by Premier Gary Doer for his volunteer work in the community.
Gordon enjoyed a full life which included travelling, owning an airplane, curling into his late 80’s, reading and taking part in community events. Gordon was also an active member of the Birch River United Church. Gordon believed in, and instilled in his children and grandchildren, the importance of education and made sure that all of his children and grandchildren received a post secondary education.
Gordon will be deeply missed and leaves behind memories that will be forever cherished by his family. The family would like to thank Riverwood Square and Riverview Health Centre in Winnipeg for their compassion and care over the past two years.
Community Foundation of Swan Valley
Box 1509, Swan River MB R0L 1Z0
Royal Candian Legion Br. 48
Box 216, Birch River MB R0L 0E0