Gerald Robert Cooley was the third child born to Fred and Laura Cooley of Birtle, on September 27, 1950 in Shoal Lake, Mb. Gerald first attended school at Burdette School and continued on to Birtle Collegiate. Gerald married Gail Pringle on April 26, 1975. They resided in Birtle for many years, before moving to the farm in the early 1990’s, where they raised their family of four. He dedicated his working years to farming the family homelands and hosting myriad animals including pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, cows, and horses. Gerald also travelled extensively for his work as a floor-covering installer, bringing him to make life-long friends and contacts throughout Western Canada. Active in the community in his own quiet way, Gerald served on Birtle’s Volunteer Fire Department for many years was a Director-At-Large at the Birtle Agricultural Society and was an active member of the Snake Creek Wildlife Association.
Gerald’s passion was for hunting and fishing. Much of his time was spent preparing for, or being on, hunting expeditions. He revelled in re-telling stories from deer hunting and moose camp, and rarely was it a story about ‘one that got away.” He passed his love for hunting and the outdoors to all his children and was always so proud of their marksmanship accomplishments. His great love for dogs complimented his joy of hunting, and he had many special companions over the years, notably Puff, Sam, and Shade.
Gerald took great satisfaction in his flower beds and garden. He devoted countless hours to growing endless rows of corn, potatoes, and other vegetables, often exhibiting very successfully at the annual Birtle Agricultural Fair. Gerald planted many fruit trees at home but was constantly on the lookout for a prime wild saskatoon or pincherry bush from which to collect berries. He always dedicated space in the gardens for the gladioli and lilies of which he was so fond.
Gerald was undeniably a ‘jack of all trades.’ If it was broken, he fixed it, if it needed to be built, he built it. He never shied away from manual labour or difficult jobs. There never seemed to be something he couldn’t do or figure out on the spot. He was also a fountain of information and could easily converse with anyone, about anything. Many family get-togethers consisted of very animated debates and discussions, the likes of which will never be the same without Gerald. Gerald had an uncanny sense of direction and an internal GPS that would put modern technology to shame. His memory for almost every place he ever travelled to and every face he ever met was exceptional. His directional maps for hunting season, however, will be remembered as legendary, as they could serve as living documents of the topographical changes in the Birtle area over the past 60 years. Gerald will forever be remembered for his sense of humour, contagious belly-laughs, ‘Gerald-isms,’ bear hugs, greek salads and pancakes.
Ultimately, Gerald was a family man. He was close with his immediate family, always ready for impromptu dinners, wiener-roasts in the bush, Sunday drives, and ‘crop checks.’ Although his siblings and cousins are spread out throughout the country, they were always in regular contact, maintaining close bonds. Gerald was always interested in the lives of all his extended family, proudly sharing their accomplishments and stories with others.
Gerald’s large and close-knit family who will continue to honour his memory include: his wife Gail; children Jessica (Mike), Meaghan (Geert), Connor (Maria), and Caitlin (Jeff); grandchildren Gracie, Hannah, Dylan, William, Logan, Mairyn, and Ben; siblings Wallace (Wynona), Miriam (Alex), Craig (Kim), Ken (Jill), and Blair (Izzy); nieces and nephews Georgina (Doug), Lynda (Riley), Susan (Russ), Michael (Terri Susan), Steven (Marissa) and Fred; and great-nieces and nephews Jamie, Alexa, Becca, Kallen, and Carter. Gerald will also be remembered by many cousins, extended family, and friends.
To send flowers to Gerald's family, please visit our floral store.
Birtle Fire Department
P.O. Box 427, Birtle MB R0M 0C0
Snake Creek Wildlife Association
PO Box 539, Birtle MB R0M 0C0