Peacefully and unexpectedly, Gerald went to be with his saviour Jesus on December 20, 2023.
Gerald was born in Manitou, MB October 18, 1956. He was predeceased by his parents Adeline and Henry Martens, as well as his beloved pets Nicky, Tigger, Willow and Lily.
He leaves behind his wife Shawn and sons Ian (Michelle) and Spencer, dog Ronnie, and cat Pearl. He will be greatly missed by his sisters Sharon, Lorna, Marion, Doris, and their families.
Gerald embodied the Scouting mottos of sharing, do your best, and be prepared for his entire life. His love of the outdoors led him at 17 to Wilderness Corps, where he met 16 year old Shawn. They married in 1978 and for 45 years they experienced gigantic mountains, dark valleys and Manitoba prairies together. Their love for each other deepened over the years and they bonded over their garden, their children, music, a love of motorcycles, and their animals. In September 2023, they realized a lifelong dream of taking our family to The Maritimes. Gerald planned the entire trip and he highlighted “make memories” as the most important goal. This love for family was the foundation of his life and our family is so grateful to have shared this trip with him.
He was a Beaver, Cub, Scout and Venturer leader from 1988-2001. He and Ian went through the program together and Gerald always challenged Ian to go above and beyond, despite Ian being the least athletic participant. As a teen, Ian worked with his dad at John Black United church. During this time, Gerald passed on the importance of a hard work ethic and the commitment to do whatever is necessary for the well-being of one's family. The drive to thrive continued into Ian’s adulthood when Gerald would pick Ian up at 5:30AM for hockey practice. Ian and his dad bonded most on the golf course with their first round at Harbour View at 9 years old and their last at North Rustico Resort in PEI. For a Dad, it was one of the happiest moments of his life to see how far Ian had come.
Gerald also firmly believed in a fair game and showed that belief when he joined his other son, Spencer, on the ball field as an umpire, going beyond the balls and strikes to teach the valuable life lessons of resilience and grit. Gerald and Spencer pushed each other to their limits completing the Luther Village Bikeathon and this continued right up to the end as Gerald supported Spencer on his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey. He was the first in line to try and help Spencer make sense of philosophy, usually accompanied by a craft beer or glass of Drambuie.
Professionally Gerald’s motto was always to get’r done and he had a menagerie of jobs as chicken catcher with his high school friends, straw bale stacker, gas pumper, meat cutter, warehouse manager, clinic assistant and Santa. But it was as a Healthcare Aid he found his calling working the last ten years of his career at Park Manor and River East PCH’s. Gerald’s strong arms and even bigger heart made him a natural caregiver for the elders and earned the name ‘Uncle Gerry’ from his coworkers. Gerald loved working there and was always the first to sign up for Karaoke and enjoy some pancit. Entering retirement Gerald had started to embrace his other calling, that of being Santa Claus. He has appeared with Transcona Scouts, L’Arche homes and Park Manor PCH always bringing great joy to all.
Gerald loved singing. He sang with the Grace Lutheran choir and in the group Harmony: In the Key of “Happy”. He loved to entertain at seniors' homes, Grace dinner theatres and churches with his warm personality. He was an excellent Willie Nelson singing “To All the Girls I've Loved Before”.
He showed us the way to live is to always be the first to offer a smile, a hand, a compliment or a hug. Living itself is a gift and once you meet your basic needs everything else is a bonus. Appreciate the smaller things in life, work hard, fiercely love family, and have a deep faith.
Gerald will be loved and missed always. He was our rock, never wavering, dependable, loving and strong.
Cremation has taken place.
Funeral will be at Grace Lutheran Church, 211 Kimberly Avenue, on Saturday, December 30, 2023 at 11:00AM.
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