October 16, 1930 – July 26, 2023
With heavy hearts, we announce the peaceful passing of our beloved dad, papa and big papa Earl. Survived by his sons Ken (Cindy), Len (Michelle) and his favourite daughter Penny (Frank). Papa to Dawn, Bryan (Emily), Brandon (Carly), Travis (Steph) and extended Papa to Sara, Rachel, James (Angelique), Shelby (William), Taylor and Dalton. Big Papa to Cohen, Grayden, Benjamin, Mason, Everly, Maxwell and baby Liam. He will also be missed by his sisters Dorothy Ann and Frances, sister in-law Marilyn, and all his nieces and nephews. Earl is predeceased by his loving wife of 59 years Dolores (Dolly), his parents Florence and Morden McMillan, and younger brother Ronald. Also predeceased by Dolly’s parents Max and Stella Krayewski and Dolly’s sister Florence and husband Bill Henderson.
Earl was born in Norwood Ontario and raised on a Holstein farm (Kingsway Farms still family owned) just south of Hastings. Being the eldest of four meant an early entry into working the farm. At 17 he left the farm to start a new career with Ontario Hydro Construction. Earl was trained as a Lineman and spent a number of years constructing new lines in Southern Ontario as Hydro was electrifying rural Ontario. He eventually landed in Beamsville and rose through the company to Area Line Supervisor. Later in his career he moved to a Head office position to offer his experience and knowledge to a Lines Operations group as they designed, developed and documented new equipment and work methods to improve the safety and working conditions of the Line Trade. He retired in 1985 after 38 years with the company.
Although he was fiercely proud of his career and accomplishments at Ontario Hydro his passion was his family, and he was extremely proud of his role as a father, grandfather and great grandfather. He and, the love of his life, Dolly married in 1959 and by 1962 they were a family unit of 5. With lots of extended family and friends the family home was a great hub of energy and many a celebration. As the family got older the parties got bigger. Eventually Grandkids started to join the Team and the process of guiding, teaching, and supporting started again.
Earl was always searching out new activities and hobbies to entertain himself and everyone else. He taught himself how to play the organ as well as the banjo and held many a concert in the basement. He was a great mechanic and most weekends started with someone’s vehicle on blocks for tune-ups, brakes, exhausts, motor mounts, and springs to name a few items. No job was too big for the driveway. That mechanical aptitude also spread to bikes, scooters, boats, lawn mowers, and so on. He was always helping others. Build a fence, wire a room, new plumbing, install a pool, cut down an overhanging tree were all part of his repertoire. All handed down to his kids and grandkids.
Earl was a kind and gentle man who had the biggest of hearts. He was tenacious in spirit but always had a smile on his face. Everyone and anyone who crossed paths with him was touched by his love, kindness and helpful nature. Earl and Dolly were avid travelers and campers and as a result saw much of North America and beyond together. As time went on and retirement was in sight, they set up a more permanent park model in Clearwater and spent a number of winters enjoying the warmer winter climate and expanding their network of friends. They are now back on the road again for more fun, new adventures and happy hours.
In keeping with Earl’s wishes, cremation has taken place. Friends, family and guests are welcomed to the George Darte Funeral Home, 585 Carlton St., St. Catharines on Wednesday August 2, 2023 from 12 – 1pm for a public visitation, followed by a Celebration of Life at 1 pm in the funeral home chapel.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate that donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Society.
The Family would like to recognize and extend a sincere thank you to the emergency room staff at SCGH for the truly wonderful care they provided to Earl in his final days. We would also like to express our thanks and appreciation to the many staff at Heatherwood who provided care for Earl for the last 18 month