Darold Jack Gudmundson
From 0-90 (1930 to 2021) in what seemed like milliseconds for a long, well-lived, successful, happy life. “Jack” was born December 7, 1930 in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, and went from horsepower (literally with horse & cart) to HORSEPOWER (sporting his Audi A4 cruising all over) until his passing Tuesday, March 23, 2021.
He experienced evolution that none of us will ever go through in our lifetime. He grew up in numerous Canadian Pacific Railway stations that generally had no insulation, running water or indoor bathroom, and a well they had to lower a bucket down 40’ to bring up their water. He went to bed with an oil lantern on his dresser as most stations had no electricity in the 1930’s. Jack thrived as a little boy with his Mom, (Beth); Dad, (Hannes); and older sister, Nell, who was usually the victim of his practical jokes. He grew up with everything he needed – a loving family, excellent morals and ethics, and just doing what boys would do back in the day. Being Icelandic, curiosity always led him to seek an understanding of any subject matter which continued into his adulthood. His school years were spent in railway stations like Osage, Readlyn & Rutledge to name a few. Math was his forte. Who gets 100% in Algebra? Jack did. Next stop – Luther College in Regina then off to the University of Manitoba to take math studies, but the railway was calling him. Growing up beside the tracks, having his Dad a CP Telegrapher, spending a summer working as a section-man, he knew where his career ought to be. This would lead him into the next chapter of his life.
In 1953, Jack met a very cute Teletype stenographer (Marjorie Doreen Dorosh). Ironically, her Father was a “Section Foreman” for Canadian Pacific so she too grew up in many railway section houses right beside the tracks. Love won them over and they were married July 31, 1954. The train whistles were calling and they made five moves between Saskatoon, Regina with baby daughter, Darla, in tote, to be followed by their son, James Scott, and eventually planting their roots in Moose Jaw. Their family unit was now complete and they resided on good old James Street in their bright yellow cedar home for 25 years. Jack was an achiever and advanced from Train Dispatcher to Chief Dispatcher, and then he was summoned to be Saskatchewan’s Rules Instructor. He was up for the challenge of teaching and executed his duties with his usual precision and attention to detail. He enjoyed this new aspect of his career, embracing teaching new and old railroaders the rules of the railway with a strong focus on safety and simplicity. All of his students spoke very highly of his teaching techniques. The pinnacle of Jack’s career was to design and replace paper train orders with computerized train dispatching. He set up a system that is the backbone of today’s modern railways in Canada. His next move was to Winnipeg as Assistant Superintendent of Transportation West, and then to Calgary, where he would end his tenure with the railway and enjoy the “Freedom 55” they always advertised on TV. Fast forward 30+ years, he was extremely happy that he got his money out of the pension plan.
He was always expanding his knowledge and said “it’s not a good day if you don’t learn something.” Who buys the $.99 encyclopedia of the month from Safeway and actually reads each volume from cover to cover? Jack did. Jack was also a Freemason and committed to work his way through the lodge and become a Shriner. He belonged to the Wa-Wa Temple in Moose Jaw and even participated fully in their band. Yikes!
New to Moose Jaw, he helped his friend, Lyle Kaulk, establish AquaSoft, gaining knowledge of the water treatment business. Then when Lyle started Lyle’s Water Treatment, Jack established his family business, Jack’s Water Treatment. In his old Chevy van with a fish logo splashed all over the sides, he loved participating in the local trade shows and spent months designing their display, which was always truly unique and talked about all year. Being an eternal entrepreneur, he also partnered up with Doug Brunsden and traded an old car for a small franchise of bed vibrators which he contracted out to local hotels. Every week he would come home with bags of quarters.
Mom and Dad had 59 years and 364 days together until she passed in 2014. Dad continued on and kept himself busy with house renos, water treatment, family dinners, and many events. We were always happy to hear the family history and stories of his life. One day while getting his coffee at the local Second Cup a group of fancy females took him under their wing and invited him to join their coffee club. This was the social interaction that he needed and 3-5 times a week they would get together and reminisce about the good old days. There was never a dull moment and we thank this group every day for giving him “purpose” which was a requirement for everything Dad did. Then in 2019, he decided that the house which he resided in for the past 35 years with Mom was just a bit too large and too much work. It was time for someone else to make beautiful memories in it. A quick sale allowed him to move into McKenzie Towne Retirement Residence into a beautiful corner suite. He loved it there. It was the same facility that Mom had resided in and a lot of the same staff were still there. We thank them dearly for their compassion and care. He loved it and we were assured that he was safe and very well looked after. He gained 20 pounds in the first 6 months from the fantastic chef preparing different meals every day. Greg always looked forward to the “occasion” buffets they hosted where family could join them in the dining room, which Dad would always sign up for. Then the two of them would drive off in the big diesel Dodge to Dairy Queen for dilly bars. This was a ritual that Dad loved.
Being Icelandic one of Dad’s true passions was fishing. It ran in the family, as he and his sister were always competing with their fishing rods. His fishing stories were epic. All the tricks and pranks that were pulled on his fishing crew were side splitting funny. Watching Jack get off the plane at Kississing, his favourite fly-in fishing camp, was like a true celebrity had arrived. The staff were always excited for weeks in advance anticipating his arrival. He befriended the entire camp and treated them like family. His favourite guide nicknamed him “the bumblebee” due to his yellow rain-suit that was worn like a navigation beacon on the lake.
One of the many highlights of Dad’s life was travelling to Iceland – his homeland – with his son Jim. Finding his roots, seeing where his father was born, and realizing as he put it, “holy this place is full of people that are just like us!” was a dream come true. They did all the tourist and non-tourist things and Dad was so proud of the old country and loved to show off all his photos to the family. It was on his bucket list and Jim was more than happy to make the long trek with him to embrace his heritage.
Every day our conversations would start with a call from Dad saying “well, how’s it going today?” and would end with “well, I’m going to get a cup of coffee to settle my nerves.” We would give anything to hear that again, and one day we will.
Jack was predeceased by his wife, Marge Gudmundson; parents, Hannes & Beth Gudmundson; sister, Nell McGregor; and in-laws, Sophie & Mike Dorosh. He is lovingly remembered by his daughter, Darla (Greg) Palmer; son, Jim (Terry) Gudmundson; granddaughters, Carla Jones (Kevin Brennan), Kristine Jones (Jeff Moskwa), Jamie Palmer (Jacob Scheiris); great-grandson, Jaxton Scheiris; along with the ever so important fur-babies, Deezie, Jack, Mesa, Lola, Nova, Monty, Ava & Jasper.
There will be no Funeral Service at this time. A private ceremony will be held at a later date.
When we moved into the well established street in Hawkwood in 2010, Jack and Marge were one of the first neighbours to welcome us. We feel very fortunate to have known them, felt their kindness, and witnessed their example of what the true meaning of neighbour is. Jack always had a seat in our garage and shared words of wisdom and grand stories over cups of coffee. Sending our deepest condolences to the whole family. Xoxo Teske Family
You were blessed with a loving father and grandfather. May your memories always bring you comfort. Love, Terrie and Kurt