GABERT – Erdman Henry Gabert (E.H., Buck, Gabbie, Mr. Gabert) of Rosemary, beloved husband of the late Ella Gabert, passed away on September 24, 2017 at the age of 93 years, following 3 medical procedures at the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary.
Erdman, the youngest of 6 children (4 brothers, 1 sister), was born to Elizabeth (Schneider) and Andreas Gabert January 22, 1924 at Bruderheim, Alberta.
He was raised on the family farm near Bruderheim and attended Deep Creek School, then Walker High School.
Erdman was baptized as a baby and at age 15, took Confirmation Classes at the Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church. The teachings were thorough and very meaningful to him and he accepted Jesus as his Saviour and Lord. Over the years, he never wavered in his faith and was always thankful for the blessings of a wonderful wife, children, and home, plus a faith-based, family-oriented community.
After leaving high school, he took teacher’s training at Edmonton Normal School and several years later completed his Bachelor of Education at the University of Alberta.
After a summer at Normal School, Mr. Gabert was assigned to a rural school near Edgerton, AB and taught until he started training in the Royal Canadian Air Force (May 1943).
He took his aircrew training in Western Canada, graduating as a Commissioned Pilot Officer and Bomb Aimer in 1944. Navigation was a favorite of Buck’s, done solely by the stars and a sextant.
Also in 1944, Pilot Officer Gabert met Ella Mustard at a Kresge’s staff party/dance. She became the focal point of his life from that point onward.
January 8, 1945 he was discharged into Active Reserve and took a trucking job and then teaching in Turin, AB but was recalled to the R.C.A.F. April 4, 1945 to train further at Paulson, Manitoba for action in the Pacific.
With his kit bag packed and himself geared to head out, Buck’s posting to the Pacific was cancelled following the bombings in early August 1945. Buck was ultimately discharged from the Air Force on Sept 13, 1945 and returned to teaching, this time in New Dayton until June 1946.
Meanwhile Buck and Ella’s relationship had grown and they were married June 28, 1946 at the Central United Church in Calgary. By September 1946, the couple began their long stay in the Eastern Irrigation District, first in Rainier, then in Rosemary (September 1949). By 1951, Larry, Donna, and Linda had been born into the family.
During his career in the E.I.D. he taught in several grades as well as a variety of high school subjects. After a few years teaching grade 8, Buck moved to grade six when grades 1-6 were together in the old red school. There he also became Vice Principal in charge of the elementary.
When the trend became departmentalization, Mr. Gabert became the English teacher, usually grades 10-12, but also grade 9. For a time, drama became an option for the high school students and he enjoyed working with these young people and together they produced several plays which were then presented to the community. In addition, when a teacher was needed for some reason, Mr. Gabert would take on such diverse subjects as Accounting, Social Studies, Sociology, Typing, Driver Ed and occasionally Math 10, 22, P.E. 10 and others.
From at least 1963 until 1980, Mr. Gabert served as Rosemary School Principal but also continued classroom teaching. Though a seemingly strict fellow, he had a soft heart, and he loved teaching students much more than just administrative duties. In 1980 he retired as both principal and teacher after thirty-six years in the classroom.
A keen hunter and fisherman, the E.I.D. provided him with over 68 years of excellent hunting and fishing. A short drive of a mile or so took him to the open prairie for hiking, skiing and snowshoeing.
After retirement in 1980, Buck and his bike were a usual sight on the roads surrounding Rosemary, often travelling 10-15 miles per day.
Many summers were spent in the mountains with Ella and their 3 children: tent camping, stream fly-fishing, hiking, and exploring the mountains. Again, after Buck’s retirement, the couple continued tent-camping and then trailering throughout Alberta, B.C., Yukon, N.W.T, and Alaska, visiting family and friends and finding all the fishing holes.
Despite losing sight in one eye (2010) and declining vision in the other, Buck continued to be an avid reader. While they were still home together, Buck and Ella read and studied the Bible plus used a variety of devotional books. Most books, newspapers or magazines that came into the home were at least perused, but, if it was well written, Buck would read it from cover to cover.
Buck’s keenness to learn never faded and he liked keeping busy. He’d get a sparkle in his eye when facing a task; in later years, when he struggled because of health issues, he’d persevere, usually finding an alternative way to accomplish the job.
Buck found classical and easy-listening music relaxing. He played the piano well and could add his chords to almost any piece of music. From both activities he gained much pleasure until his hearing loss limited those enjoyments.
During this teaching career he was active in the Alberta Teachers’ Association and the Principals’ Organization. Buck was also a member of the committees which planned the new school, the curling rink, the tennis court, and the community library.
His ongoing project was the beautification of the school grounds. He initiated the first lawn grass on the school yard, and before his retirement, the whole school yard was lawn and a new shelterbelt was planted.
In May 2008, Buck’s duties as caregiver began. After a stroke that severely weakened her left side, Ella tried mobilizing with a walker but finally resorted to using a “transporter” wheelchair around the home. Initially, she managed lifting herself from “A to B” but increasingly required Buck’s assistance. In November 2013, when Ella suddenly developed septic arthritis, she was admitted first to Brooks Health Care Centre, then to Bassano Continuing Care. Those were tough times for the couple but there was no question of Buck’s commitment to love his wife “in sickness and in health…till death do us part.” In 2016 they celebrated 70 years of marriage!
Left to mourn his passing are his three loving children: Larry (Pam), Donna, and Linda Caston; 2 granddaughters: Sarah Considine and Julie (Tyler) Dinsdale and their 3 sons, Logan, Eli, and Garnet; sister-in-law Doris Reilly of Okotoks; plus numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Ella; son-in-law Vern Caston; his sister, Elsie; 4 brothers Leonard, Gus, Ben, Ewald; and his parents, Andreas and Elizabeth Gabert.
A memorial service celebrating Buck’s life will be held at Thom’s Funeral Home in Duchess, AB on Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. with Pastor Frank Krulicki officiating. Luncheon to follow. If friends and family desire, memorial tributes may be made to Salvation Army 1-800-725-2769 (www.salvationarmy.ca/alberta) or a charity of their choice.