A lifetime resident of the Williamsburg area, Clair Edgar Algire passed away at home by the wood stove, on Sat., Feb. 28, 2009.He was 88.
He was born on the family farm in Williamsburg Township on June17, 1920 to Edgar and Annie Algire (nee Whitteker). He attended local schools and in 1940, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was stationed in Bagotville, Quebec and St. John’s, NL and was about to be deployed to the Pacific front when peace was declared in 1945. He was very proud of his service to his country and participated in many Remembrance Day services over the years. It was a truly special occasion for him when he was presented with a Veteran’s watch in 2006.
He married Ruth Kennedy on July 15, 1944, and together they had two children, Jim and Ann. Clair and Ruth lived on their farm on Tollgate Road in Williamsburg for 64 years.
After selling his Holstein dairy herd in 1979, Clair went to work in the woollen mill at Upper Canada Village. He loved visiting with all the tourists and came home every day with new stories about the people he had met. One of his tales about the “blue sheep” is still told at the woollen mill today.
Without the daily responsibilities of the farm, Clair and Ruth found time to travel and visit every Canadian province as well as the Northwest Territories. They toured in Cuba, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Mexico, and took many trips in the United States.
Clair had a prodigious memory and could recite poetry and prose he had learned as a child from the Ontario Readers. He was a legendary storyteller and had a great sense of humour. He entertained four generations of children with stories “read” from an upside-down phonebook, and many of those stories were invented from his own imagination. He often recited “In Flanders Fields” in the Williamsburg United Church for Remembrance Day services, “Somebody’s Mother” on Mother’s Day, and he had a repertoire of other poems to entertain on different occasions.
One of Clair’s favourite pastimes was to go for a long drive in the countryside. With family or various friends he would travel on the secondary roads, inspecting the farms, fields, deer, wild turkeys, new construction, new cars, wind damage, and whatever else was happening in the life of the community.
Clair’s favourite card game was cribbage and all the grandchildren learned to play at the master’s table.
Clair is survived by his loving wife and his children Dr. J.E. (Jane) Algire of Kanata and Ann (Bob) Chick of Maitland. He was the beloved grandfather of nine and proud great-grandfather of nine. He was predeceased by his brothers, Grant and Ethan, and sisters, Maxine Belland, Ellen Garlough. Clair will also be fondly remembered by many nieces, nephews, and friends throughout the area.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Williamsburg on Tues., March 3. The funeral service was held at Williamsburg United Church on Wed., March 4 at 11 am, with Rev. Elaine Beattie officiating. Interment followed at New Union Cemetery in Williamsburg.
Pallbearers were Allan Bell, Edgar Bell, Martin Algire, David Algire, Hugh Garlough, and Jason Kennedy. Honorary pallbearers were Mrs. Fred Pinkus, Mrs. John MacIntosh, Mrs. Ferneley Johnston, Mrs.Glenn McIntosh, Dr. Bryan Kennedy, Dr. Gabriel Slowey, John Byvelds, and Bert McIntosh.
To celebrate his memory and his love of his community, donations to the New Union Cemetery or a local charity of your choice would be appreciated by the family.