Gary Charles PAYETTE
Gary Charles Payette, husband, father, grandfather, friend and professional joke teller passed away peacefully in his sleep while in hospice care on Friday March 17, 2023 at the age of 78.
Gary was the youngest of 7 children born to Robert and Helen Payette on January 14, 1945 in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. Like many of his generation Gary left school early to help on the family farm.
He began his career working for the Railway in Northern BC in the early ‘60’s and after a few years returned to Alberta. In 1970 he returned to BC with his family and began working as a mechanic, later to attend school in Nanaimo, BC to become a certified heavy duty mechanic. He spent the majority of his career working for companies such as Toran Equipment, Tompkins Trucking, Diamond C Oilfield, LAND Transport and Fountain Tire and Quadra P, the oilfield company Gary started which offered repair work on pump jacks and compressors. Upon retirement, Gary managed the mobile home park where he lived with his wife Marion and he also began a lawn maintenance company to which he gave the very original name of Gary’s Grass Cutting.
Gary was known far and wide for his quick wit, fierce determination, generous spirit and love of storytelling. He would frequently evoke the phrases; “I remember when…” and “oh, this one time…” and would follow that up with a great and always humorous story then it would be up to you to figure out how much was true and how much was Gary pulling your leg as he loved to do.
Gary loved old country music, playing cribbage, coffee with friends (but not that fancy stuff from Starbucks), exploring junk stores aka antique stores and the smell of fresh cut grass while mowing yards in the community with the tractor mower. He had a lifelong love of woodworking and was a very talented craftsman. He was also an avid collector of belt buckles and die cast John Deere tractors and loved to collect bear statues and paintings.
Family, friends and neighbours alike remember Gary as the type of man who was always available to lend a helping hand, to lend an ear and to offer you a word of advice with a side of humour. His twin sons Greg and Grant remember their dad as a man who worked hard to always make sure they had everything they needed. As kids they thought their dad was the coolest guy ever because he could fix engines and build amazing things with his hands. They remember him as always being in a good mood and if he wasn’t, it didn’t take much to get him there. He was firm but fair in his discipline but would never be upset for long before reverting back to the happy go lucky ‘King of Dad Jokes’ that he was.
Gary and wife Marion lived in the mobile home park in Calmar for most of their marriage where they developed lifelong friendships and adopted family. Gary and Marion’s road to marriage was quick. They met in August of 1995 and married in December of 1995. Marion said they were very happy together they never fought or bickered. Sometimes she wished Gary wasn’t so social and stayed home a little more often. They enjoyed taking trips together. They traveled to Whitehorse in their fifth wheel and had many adventures and stops along the way. They enjoyed playing golf, going out to dinner at Red Lobster and going to the movies. They also enjoyed quiet time at home while Gary watched his favourite shows and Marion did her knitting and crocheting.
For many years Gary and Marion managed the mobile home park in which they lived. They were always quick to help out anyone who lived there and in doing so developed many friendships. Gary loved cheating, I mean playing crib, while they chatted with friends Stu and Chuck. He loved his many coffee dates and visits with Nita and his many other friends.
Gary also came to adopt a very special family along the way. Neighbours in the park, Amanda, Gavin, Logan and Peyton had developed a friendship with Gary and Marion that one day deepened into family when Amanda and the kids went to visit Gary in the hospital to sneak him in some goodies while he was recovering from pneumonia. During their visit Amanda and Gary were discussing how they both did not have relationships with their fathers to which he responded, in true Gary style, “Well that’s not right, kids need a grandpa! I will be their grandpa if they will have me.”
Gary has been the best grandpa ever since and has also come to adopt their 3 foster children as grandkids as well.
Gary is survived by his beloved wife of 27 years, Marion Alice Yvonne Payette; Their children, Greg Payette (Dania), Grant Payette (Candace), Steven Norregaard Kristensen, Janis Norregaard Kristensen and Amanda Cassell (Gavin) as well as their 16 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. Gary is also survived by his sister, Peggy as well as many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life will be held on a date yet to be determined.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the Alberta Cancer Foundation.