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Obituary of Donald John Gramlich
Donald John Gramlich was born on June 9, 1930 in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan, to parents Anton and Eleanor Gramlich. Don passed away peacefully on August 11, 2023 in the Long Term Care center of the Consort, AB. Hospital, at the age of 93 years.
In 1956, at age 25, Don married Gwen Hagen, his wife of 65 years. After a short stay in Saskatchewan, they relocated to Altario, AB. – where they settled permanently and raised their family. Don and Gwen retired to the Consort Seniors Lodge in 2017. After Gwen’s passing in 2021, Don continued to live at the Lodge right up until he was relocated to the Consort Long Term Care facility.
Don spent the vast majority of his life in Altario, AB. Over those years he was a husband, a father, a Grandfather - and most recently, a three time Great Grandfather. And over that same time he was also a friend to many, as well as an active community member. Don was born into a farming family, and after a short stint of the same livelihood, he switched gears and began a lengthy career in automotive mechanics. Don began apprenticing in automotive garages in Altario and Compeer, AB., and after several years (of apprenticing and attending SAIT in Calgary, while at the same time supporting a family) Don became a licensed automotive mechanic. Don eventually purchased the garage in Altario, and formed his own business which he very proudly named East Country Motors. Don was mechanically industrious and creative, and with the aid of a few very basic shop tools, he mastered all projects from the small to the large (including complete engine rebuilds to building his own snowplow to building his own tow truck). Aside from routine in-house automotives, he also spent years making trips to the fields to repair and revive broken down agricultural equipment, winch vehicles out of ditches and snowbanks, or tow those vehicles back to his garage. Don also upgraded his driver’s license and for twenty years he drove school bus for the Altario School (and over those years also made many trips taking school kids on field trips and to sport competitions). Don was also Altario’s first volunteer firefighter & fire chief, a capacity he served in for decades - and he even renovated his automotive garage to provide a dedicated storage area for the first few firetrucks provided by Special Areas to the Kirriemuir, Altario and Compeer (KAC) region. Don even had a stint at bartending when he and Gwen ran the Altario Hotel for a few years. Don was also an active community member, involved with little league baseball coaching and driving kids to games, community hall operations – and was instrumental in getting the residences of the town of Altario connected to the municipal wastewater lagoon. He enjoyed the game of disking and literally for decades would concoct a team and travel to bonspiels in the area. Deer hunting season was always something he enjoyed. In his younger years he often went with Gwen’s family (the inlaws) or longtime friends from Altario, and in later years with his own family and their friends. For Don, these trips afield were as much about getting out and observing the countryside as they were about hunting deer. In fact, up until the last couple of years, Don would just get in his vehicle and embark on leisurely drives simply to check out the countryside. And while describing Don’s life, It would be remiss not to mention his favorite pastime – which was always a good card game. And now that Queen of Spades has called upon Don.
Don leaves to mourn his passing, Son, Rod (Ann) Gramlich (Edmonton); Son, Doug (Bonnie) Gramlich (Kimberley, BC); Daughter, Anita Ference (Dave Jakubec) (Camrose); Granddaughters, Melanie Gramlich (Edmonton); Janelle (Jorge) Campo (Calgary) and Great Grandchildren, Kalila Campo and Alarik Campo; Grandson, Matthew (Nicole) Ference (Consort); Granddaughter, Chantel Ference (Breylan Videsjorden) (Edmonton) and Great Grandson, Jace Videsjorden; Grandson, Dakkota Gramlich (Altario); Brother, Joe Gramlich (Saskatoon); Sister, Jovita Schiebelbein (Kindersley); Sister-in-laws, Ann Hagen (Provost), Gertie Gramlich (Saskatoon) and Jackie Gramlich (Red Deer); as well as scores upon scores of nieces, nephews and lifelong friends.
Don was predeceased by his Wife, Gwen Gramlich (2021); Daughter, Marcella Gramlich (2011); Son-in-law, Ervin Ference; Parents, Anton and Eleanor Gramlich; Sisters, Mary Schiebelbein, Minnie Farr and Irene Rieger; Brothers, Anton, Wendlin, John, Willie and Les Gramlich.
Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Saturday, August 26, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. at the Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church in Consort, Alberta with Father Christopher Selvaraj Rayappan SAC officiating. Words of Remembrance will be delivered at 12:50 p.m. Private Family Graveside will take place at the Altario Cemetery.
Don's Service will be livestreamed for those who are unable to attend in person. The livestream will be accessible through the GFH website under Don's obituary at the time of the service.
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