There are no formalities here. This is the story of our dad. In a true tribute to his nature, we hope to earn a smile or two from you, the reader.
Dad was born in Preeceville, SK on April 17, 1945 and raised in the community of Hazel Dell. We all have a little “dare devil trouble maker” in us, a gene we obviously did not inherit from our mother, Phyllis. Tales of sucking ringers, burning rubber, under age bar visits, backroads cruising, a few fines, and various other trouble-making adventures were plentiful. He was quite the ladies’ man as well, which led to finally landing an “older woman,” Mom being two years his senior. Phyllis was the love of his life and they had an endearing and loving relationship. Throughout their marriage, they enjoyed camping, travelling, entertaining, and socializing with friends and family.
Dad had to grow up fast. Even though he had to quit school in grade eight to help support his family, he became a Saskatchewan Wheat Pool manager at the age of eighteen and remained in that role until his retirement, thirty-six years later, at age fifty-five. He had the most un-relenting work ethic, still evident up to a week before his passing when he mowed his and the neighbors’ lawns. He could never sit still. We often teased him, when he insisted on raking every campsite he occupied after he set up the camper. He was a perfectionist of sorts, taking comfort in everything being “just right.” He loved to keep his yard pristine and took great pride growing, harvesting, and preserving vegetables from his garden. He also enjoyed time spent as a volunteer firefighter and ambulance driver, helping local farmers with seeding and harvest, and selling hail insurance policies to dedicated farmers that supported him over the years. He took on odd jobs around the community to feed his need to be busy and productive.
Known for his jokester ways, Dad always tried to make someone laugh. He teased our friends relentlessly and took pride in making them second-guess whether he was being serious, or just joking, the latter of which was always the case. We almost felt sorry for some of them who were meeting him for the first time! He also did the same to his friends. It would not have been possible to count the number of times someone voiced, “NESTER!” or the grandchildren yelled, “GRANDPA!” after he pulled one of his jokester tricks on them or teased them.
He most definitely lived life to the fullest over the years. Dad’s love of curling, fast ball, and golf lead to many significant friendships, from many different communities. If truth be told, perhaps participation in sport even led to making the odd “competitive enemy.” He did not like to lose, the evidence of that in the boxes of trophies mom and dad hauled away after moving out of the “Wheat Pool house.” There were many weekends spent travelling to, and socializing at, bonspiels, ball games, and golf tournaments. Dad was a highly competitive athlete for many years, and that certainly rubbed off on the next two generations of his immediate family whose love of sport has been evident throughout our lives. As his grandchildren’s love of sport developed over time, grandpa became their greatest sporting fan. He often travelled great distances just to cheer on his grandchildren and their teammates.
Perhaps the greatest gift Dad passed on to us was our love for camping and fishing which we have also shared with our children. Many weekends were spent travelling to Greenwater, Townsend, McBride, and Asessippi where laughter never seemed to end when visiting with family and friends. Often, both our paternal and maternal grandparents joined the camping adventures and dad was always excited to take Grandpa Bill and Grandpa Mike “Jack fishing” in the reeds where, perhaps, a bottle of homebrew kept the afternoon running smoothly and resulted in early bedtimes. Many games of crib were played while dad teased as many people as he possibly could. A lot of laughter echoed through the trees on these family and friend weekends. We learned how to camp, fish, water ski, and golf on these adventures. Grandpa shared these interests with his grandchildren as well. To this day, all of them absolutely love heading to the lake when given the opportunity.
As dad and mom’s parents began to decline, as did dad’s health, camping experiences became fewer and far between and the last few years were spent attending many gambling adventures to various places in the US but none more so than “Sky Dancer.” Over the past year, these trips brought something into dad’s life that he could look forward to and helped to ease the bad days. Dad also lived the last few years by setting special event goals that he wanted to experience. Special anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, and Ashley’s wedding fueled his need to live on. How grateful we all have been that he possessed such a deep desire to keep on fighting and was able to attend these milestone moments.
Dad passed away in the early hours of November 1, 2019 after a very short time in palliative care but after a twenty-nine year long battle with a horrible disease. He will always remain a shining example of the word “fighter” and his determination, stubbornness, and zest for life will live on in all of us.
To send flowers to Nester's family, please visit our floral section.
Jim Pattison Children's Hospital Foundation
345 3 Ave. S. #1, Saskatoon SK S7K 1M6