Henry Alfred (Harry) Baycroft (03/14/1925 - 06/06/2018)

  • "Dear margaret and family.i wish you peace at this time im..."
  • "Thinking of our Canadian families at this time and wishing..."
    - Margaret Bishop
  • "So sad to hear of the passing of your Dad ,Margaret. God is..."
    - Lily Willems
  • "Sorry for your loss thoughts and prayers"
    - Tom Smith
  • "Al, Viv and family So sad to hear of the passing of Harry. ..."
    - Al and Janice

It is with sorrow in our hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He passed away peacefully at the age of 93 in the early morning hours of June 6, 2018 in Dargaville, New Zealand, where he lived since 1988.

Harry was the eldest son of Dalton and Anne Baycroft (nee Neufeld) born in Aberdeen, Saskatchewan on March 14, 1925. Harry took his elementary and high school education in Aberdeen and then went on to train as an apprentice butcher from 1940 to 1943. He enlisted with the Canadian Armed Forces in 1943 and was later stationed in Italy, France, Belgium and Holland. While in Apeldoorn, Holland Harry was wounded on April 11, 1945 after crossing the IJssel River. He was shipped back to Canada in June of 1945 and put on convalescent leave for many months. He was eventually discharged from the military hospital in Regina, Saskatchewan on February 19, 1949.

After returning from the war, Harry worked at the Quaker Oats Company Mill in Saskatoon until 1952. He then moved to Prince Albert where he took up employment with the Prince Albert Gaol for Men. During Harry's time with Corrections Canada, he met and married Alice Burgess who was the warden's secretary at the Gaol. They were married on March 2, 1954 and had two children while they lived in Prince Albert, Allen born in 1955, and Margaret, born in 1956.

Harry worked in various capacities with both the Provincial and Federal governments until 1967 when he and he and his wife Alice became owner-operators of a grocery and meat store with Shell gas service, Baycroft Family Fair, in Martensville, Saskatchewan. While living in Martensville from 1966 to 1978, Harry served as both Mayor (Overseer) and councillor. In 1966 he assisted the hamlet of Martensville to incorporate to Village status. During this time, he was also a member of the school board, served as the President of the Martensville Auditorium Association, ran a small real estate business, and served as a building inspector for the town and rural municipality.

When the family store closed in 1973, Harry went on to work at Empire Meats in Saskatoon, and for a time worked as the Head Shepherd at the University of Saskatchewan in the sheep barns. It was during this period that Harry became interested in the Farmer's Market movement in Saskatchewan. In 1975 he became one of the founding members of the Saskatoon Farmer's Market (originally called the Toad Lane Farmer's Market). From 1978 to 1988 he served in the capacity of Co-ordinator and Manager for the Farmer's Markets Associations of Saskatchewan. During his tenure in that role he set up over 40 new markets province-wide throughout Saskatchewan. At the time of his retirement from the Association, the sales across the province were estimated to be more than $2 million dollars annually.

Following his retirement from the Association, Harry and his wife Alice moved to New Zealand where their daughter and her children had been living for approximately 7 years. They took up residence on the Pouto Peninsula on the west coast of the North Island near Dargaville. They lived in a rural setting on the Peninsula until Alice's passing in 1999, when Harry moved closer to town and eventually into the community of Dargaville.

Throughout his busy life, Harry was actively involved in volunteer work both in Canada and New Zealand. His volunteer contributions included the 4H movement in Saskatchewan, the Prince Albert and Saskatoon Exhibition Boards, the Lions Clubs in Saskatoon, an elder with the United Church of Canada, Scouts Canada, and The Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. In his retirement, his volunteer work continued in New Zealand where he was an active member of the Dargaville Pakeke Lions Club and the Dargaville Returned Services Association. As a Lions member, he spearheaded a "Make Work Project" to assist men who were under court order to perform community service. Harry regularly visited many house-bound and hospitalized sick and elderly in the community of Dargaville and was the chair of the RSA's welfare committee. His most famous volunteer contribution to Dargaville and district was as the community's resident Santa Claus from 1995 until 2016. In his "Santa" persona, Harry attended hundreds of events over the years, and has been the subject of many local and national news articles and media stories in New Zealand.

Harry is survived by his son Allen (Vivian) and their children Harrison (Rachel) and Anne (Chastin), his daughter Margaret (John Bishop) of New Zealand and her children Patrick, Lisa, and Jimmy Forrest (Teeaye), and Margaret's 11 grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister Jean Mervold, sisters-in-law Mary Baycroft, and Fran Burgess, his brothers-in-law Carl Bischoff and Chris Christensen, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his beloved wife Alice, his siblings Ilda Christensen, Dorothy Bischoff, Melville (Mary), and Jack, his brother-in-law Peter Mervold (Jean), and his sister-in-law Lorraine Baycroft (Jack), as well as Alice's siblings Allan, Flora, Ike (Fran), and Alex Burgess.

A private Cremation Service was held for Harry on June 9, 2018. His ashes will be interred next to his wife in the Mount Wesley RSA Cemetery, Dargaville, New Zealand. A special memorial service and celebration of Harry's life will be held at the Methodist Church, Dargaville, New Zealand on October 6, 2018. Memorial donations in Harry's honour can be made to the charity of your choice.

"They needed someone in Heaven to be Santa for all the little children there."
Published in The Saskatoon StarPhoenix from June 13 to June 15, 2018
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