GILBERT FRANCIS (GIB) WHITTAMORE

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Service Information
Dixon-Garland Funeral Home
166 Main Street North
Markham, ON
L3P 1Y3
(905)-294-2030
Obituary

WHITTAMORE, GILBERT (GIB) FRANCIS April 1, 1922 - May 19, 2019 Peacefully in Markham, in his 98th year. Predeceased by his wife Evelyn (nee Lapp) of 60 years (deceased April 3, 2017). Gib, an only child, grew up on Bathurst Street in the hamlet of Carrville (Richmond Hill). His father Frank, was a market gardener who peddled his produce in the Lawrence Park neighborhood during the 1920's, 30's and 40's. It was then the seed was planted in Gib. Farming was in his blood. Gib served in the RCAF during WWII. Upon his return, he studied at the Ontario Agricultural College - Guelph, graduating in 1949, with a degree in Horticulture. In 1952, Gilbert and his parents purchased a 50-acre farm at Steeles Avenue and 11th Line in the hamlet of Cedar Grove (Markham). Cedar Grove was a community of dairy farmers whose ancestors first arrived from Pennsylvania in 1804. His wife Evelyn was from one of those families. Upon settling in his new neighborhood, Gib joined the Young Peoples Group at Zion Cedar Grove United Church. It was there that he met his future wife Evelyn Lapp, who at the time was a primary school teacher at St. Clair Public School in High Park in the City of Toronto. They married February 9, 1957. Four children quickly followed, David (Michael) 1957, Kathrine (Bruce) 1959, Michael (Gayle) 1960 and Francis (Suzanne) 1965. While market gardening had many challenges for Gib, in 1956 he took a chance. In a bid to salvage a strawberry crop, he pioneered the concept of having people come to the farm and pick their own strawberries. The response was overwhelming as thousands came from the suburbs to make Whittamore's a destination for over 60 years. Gilbert was pleased when in 1982 David and Michael returned from University to continue the farming tradition. In his later years, Gib and Evelyn enjoyed growing roses and lilies, travelling the world, Royal Alex shows, folk dancing, cross country skiing and skating at Cedarena. Gilbert will be remembered for his love of a good party, his recitations and his willingness to take the time to explain his understanding of horticulture to anyone with a question. He will be truly missed. Cremation has already taken place. Visitation will be held on Friday, June 14, 2019 at Dixon Garland Funeral Home - 166 Main St N. Markham. From 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, June 15th at 11 a.m. at Heritage United Church, 7046 11th Line, Cedar Grove, Markham.
Published in the Toronto Star on June 13, 2019
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