February 24, 1920 – March 11, 2014
Our hero slipped away on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at the Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, shortly after his 94th birthday.
Clem leaves to mourn his loving wife, Hedy, of 67 years. He was a wonderful father of six: Linda (Laurie) Jacques; Erica (Jeff) Baggs; Debby (Bruce) Wheeler; Harriet (Dave) Quigley; Tim Gerwing (predeceased by Denise) and Pat; John Gerwing and Ruth. He was the proud grandfather of 11, and great-grandfather of 7. Also surviving are siblings, cousins, sisters and brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews and of course his beloved Jack Russell, Jake.
Clem was one of thirteen surviving children born to John and Amelia Gerwing. He grew up in rural Saskatchewan, lived in Nebraska from the ages of 8 to 13 and then returned to Lake Lenore where he completed Grade 12 at St. Peter’s College in Muenster, Saskatchewan. In 1941 Clem enlisted in the R.C.A.F. and after first being posted in England was eventually assigned to the No. 17 R.A.F. Squadron in Ceylon in 1943. He started out by flying “Hurricanes” and eventually moved on to the ultimate, the “Spitfire.” He served in the Burmese theatre where he flew protective escort for Lord Louis Mountbatten on many occasions and they remained close friends. In 1945 the Canadians were recalled from the Far East back to Britain and two weeks later Clem boarded the S.S. New Amsterdam and sailed back to Canada.
Our Father is immortalized on the “Wall of Fame” at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, Texas, where his first Spitfire (YBJ) resides. Clem is also archived at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. A number of his personal war effects are on display at the Benson-Hingley Military Museum in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.
Clem ran many successful businesses over the years but is most widely known as the founder and driving force behind the Alberta Boot Company. He started manufacturing high quality western boots at age 58 (when many people are contemplating retirement!). He would like to thank his cherished ‘Work Family’, past and present, for their loyal service. Clem would also like to mention that Stampede is right around the corner – a great time to get a new pair of Calgary-made Alberta Boots!!
Dad loved sharing his extraordinary war stories and history lessons with everyone – especially his grandchildren. He was a history scholar, an avid reader and he was always up to date on current events. Flying his assortment of airplanes was a great joy in his younger years. Later, he loved sailing and fishing on Lake Bonavista; gardening (especially his raspberries) and magnificent flowers; beating the pants off everyone in cribbage; traveling the world; curling; playing bridge; following everything in the worlds of hockey and politics; and a nice glass of Asti Spumanti at the end of a productive day. Clem was a true leader with boundless energy, a fighting spirit and a ‘heart of gold.’
Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers and Tributes at St. Gerard’s Catholic Church (8944 Elbow Drive S.W.) on Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. (with plenty of free parking…to boot).
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Gerard’s Catholic Church (8944 Elbow Drive S.W.) on Monday, March 17, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. with cremation to follow. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. Family members would like to thank the inspired and compassionate staff on Unit 58 of the Rockyview. We appreciate the fond memories shared with Dad and our family during this difficult time. In lieu of flowers, if friends so desire, memorial tributes to the Denise Lindsay Gerwing Memorial Bursary may be made by phone (403-220-5854 or Toll Free 1-800-972-8632) or by cheque payable to the University of Calgary, Denise Lindsay Gerwing Memorial Bursary, c/o U of C Development Office, Olympic Volunteer Centre, 1833 Crowchild Trail NW, Calgary, AB, T2M 4S7.
In living memory of Clement Gerwing, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.Print This Obituary & Condolences