After recently being admitted to Royal Jubilee Hospital and then Hospice in Victoria, BC, Gerald Osmond Burton (age 89) gently passed into eternity on October 7, 2017, with wife Erica at his side.

Born in Iroquois Fall, Ontario, on August 8, 1928, to Dudley ‘Jack’ and Mildred (nee Nicol) Burton, Gerry left home in his late teens and headed out to western Canada for work. When in Vancouver, he met and later married Shirley Mae (nee Spencer) Burton.

After settling in Marathon, Ontario, in 1954, Gerry worked in the pulp industry as a Stationary Engineer (he told us ‘didn’t move around much’ in that job) for 35 years, while raising his family with Shirley.  He enjoyed the amazing outdoors which were so accessible to this Northwestern Ontario town, and he was often seen walking, running, skiing and swimming in the area. Gerry was also known for his utilization of gargantuan words, great singing voice, whistling (bird imitations and songs in two-part harmony), and playing the harmonica (which was an especially nice gift for family members’ Birthdays).

Once he retired (and joined what he called the ‘Sittin, Rockin n Starin Club’), Gerry and Shirley spent a winter in Victoria, BC, then relocated to Thunder Bay in 1989 and Elliot Lake, Ontario in 1991. Following Shirley’s cancer journey and passing in 1995, Gerry decided to return to Thunder Bay to be nearer to his children.  In 2003, he married his second wife, Erica, a lovely ‘little Dutch lady’ that Gerry originally met in Elliot Lake, when each of their spouses were alive. They shared almost 15 years of life in Victoria, enjoying year-round walking, a few cruise adventures, as well as actively living out their Christian faith through daily Bible study together, thinking of their children/grandchildren through prayer, and being helpful neighbours to widowed seniors in their building.

Gerry was predeceased by: his parents; sisters Joyce (at age 2) and Iris (Alvin) Brown; and brother, William (Henriette, Violet). Dad also said ‘goodbye’ to his wife of over forty years and mother of their four children, Shirley, as well her parents, Fred and Pauline (nee Bobert) Spencer, and brother Melvin Spencer. More recently, Gerry experienced the loss of Erica’s youngest daughter, Pamela.

He is survived by: his loving wife Erica; his son Rick, Thunder Bay, ON; daughter Barbara (Ed) Peters, Winnipeg, MB; daughter Beverlee, Marathon, ON; and daughter Bonnie, Cobden, IL USA; grandchildren Jillian (Shawn) and Ashlee Burton (their mother Donna); Emily, Erin and Elise Peters; Dudley and Madeline Coulter (their father Andrew); Spencer, Meryl and Max Jose (their father Mario); great-grandchildren Madison Gault and Ethan Salo. Many nephews and nieces also remain:  Ricci, Michael, Crystal Burton, Terrance Sawchuk; Jim Brown; Greg, Lynda Spencer; Monique Spencer; and their families; and brother-in-law Keith (Claudette) Spencer in BC. Gerry also leaves behind Erica’s children: Marjanke, Rudolf, Harald, Ingemar, Dwayne, and their extended families.

The Burton family is grateful to Dr. Roy Smardon (Family Practitioner) and the many Specialists who treated Gerry over his years in Victoria, as well as more recently the caring staff of the VIHA. Special thanks to Royal Jubilee Hospital/Hospice professionals and volunteers, who have so capably and kindly supported our family through Gerry’s last days.

As he requested, Gerry has been cremated in Victoria and will be remembered in a private family burial service at Thunder Bay, Ontario next year.

Condolences may be offered to the family at  Donations in Gerry’s memory are welcome at the Salvation Army online at: .

Final arrangements have been handled by McCall Gardens, Victoria, BC.









  • Kristine Chepelsky
    November 18, 2017

    To Rick and family: Your parents were great friends to my parents, Michael and Alice Chepelsky of Terrace Bay. Those visits (with all the kids in tow), bring back a lot of wonderful memories of special times. Your parents were filled with joy and I remember a lot of laughter among the adults. It is difficult to lose a parent but the memories of their love and support stay with us. My heartfelt condolences to you, your step Mom and sisters on your loss.

  • Bruce Peden
    November 14, 2017


    We were sorry to read of Gerry’s passing, our thoughts are with you and the family at this time.

    We still look for you two out the Breakwater, and have good memories of you as our neighbours.

    Warm hugs.

    Bruce and Garry

  • Helena Birt
    November 10, 2017

    To Rick and the “3 B” girls: my heartfelt condolences. I remember coming over to the house on Stevens to play with Beverlee and being amazed when your Dad would start to whistle and tease us. You Re in my thoughts.

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