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BROWNING, Gerald (Gerry) Robert, BSc., P.Eng.
November 22, 1935 – May 3, 2022
Gerry passed away at the Ottawa Hospital, Civic Campus, 10 days after experiencing a severe stroke. He will live on in the hearts of his loving wife Ruth; his brother Peter (Donna); his four children Tanis (Andy), Marla (DJ), Mark (Cynthia, and former wife Karen), and Jodi (CG); and his 11 grandchildren. He will be fondly remembered by cousins Marian and Bill Patterson (Patti) and several nieces and nephews.
Gerry was a bit of a wunderkind. He began his life in Lavant Station along the K & P Railway, and in Lanark, ON, where he was raised by his mother Florence, a nurse, and his grandparents William and Clara. He entered the civil engineering program at Queens University as a young teen. He graduated with the Science Class of ’56 (age 20) and began a 34-year career with MTO, progressing from chainman to Southwestern Regional Director. Gerry’s work building Ontario’s highways and bridges moved his growing family all over the province.
For more than 63 years, Gerry and Ruth made a terrific team. They were partners in life and at the bridge table. They joined, managed, and owned duplicate bridge clubs in several towns over the years, making amazing friends along the way. Gerry was a Sapphire—nearly Diamond—Life Master who taught and directed the game, but his favourite partner was always Ruth. He was her biggest champion.
Gerry was a gifted young athlete who sprinted, played baseball, and curled. Later in life, he sailed his laser and golfed. He curated a massive stamp collection, followed every sport, puzzled prolifically (especially cryptic crosswords), and read voraciously. He designed and conducted renovations on their many homes, and at their cottage (later, their summer residence) on Robertson Lake. With a little help from his kids and their partners, he took the tiny Browning cabin and turned it into a full-sized home with multiple out buildings where he and Ruth hosted countless family gatherings until eventually moving into Ottawa for condo living. They travelled with family and friends throughout Canada, the US, UK, and Caribbean, and enjoyed a community of bridge friends and neighbours in Vero Beach, Florida where they wintered for nearly 20 years. But there was nothing they loved more than puttering around Robertson Lake on an early summer’s eve in their pontoon boat.
Over the past 22 years, Gerry and Ruth (Papa and Nana) have been active participants in supporting the activities, milestones, and educations of their grandchildren North and Sydney Shelp; Britney, Jaryd, Foster, and Raegan Lund; Gabriela and Nadia Browning; and Hudson, McKenzie, and Grace Stephens. They traveled frequently to attend everything from ballet, piano, and theatre performances to hockey, soccer, and baseball games; swimming, archery, and equestrian events; graduations and more. Gerry’s grandkids were a source of enormous pride for him!
We will all miss seeing the knowing twinkle in his eyes, receiving his wise advice on almost every topic, and sharing family gatherings with him.
A celebration of Gerry’s life will take place at the Central Chapel of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, 315 McLeod Street (at O'Connor), Ottawa, on Sunday, May 29, at 1 p.m. Please click here to view the livestream of the Memorial Service.
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