Edmund J. Rea, 63, a resident of Devlin, Ont., passed away at McKellar Hospital in Thunder Bay, Ont. on Monday, Dec. 16, 2002 following a long battle with chronic lung disease.
He was born May 18, 1939 in Port Arthur, Ont. to the late Agnes and Stuart Rea. After being raised and educated in Neebing and Fort William, he was united in marriage on Aug. 31, 1961 to the former Arlene White.
A mechanic by trade, he joined Bell Canada in May, 1962 and was transferred to Fort Frances, Ont. in October of that year. In September, 1968, he moved to his present home in Burriss, Ont.
Ed was active in the Borderland Stock Car Club beginning in the 1960s, building some of the fastest motors and winning a championship with his driver, Mike Andrusco. In the early 1980s, he was instrumental in re-establishing the Borderland Racing Association, acting as president and promoter.
He encouraged his sons to race, continuing to build his super-fast motors for them, and was extremely proud when both boys became track champions.
He was a member of the Borderland Racing Association and Telephone Pioneers of America.
Ed spent the fall of every year hunting, and was one of the first skeet shooting champions at the Fort Frances Sportsmen’s Club. Every summer was spent at the family cabin on Lake Despair while the winters he divided between snowmobiling and hockey.
He retired in 1989 due to poor health but never stopped being a mechanic, encouraging others when he no longer could do it himself. He could fix anything that a wrench would fit and established his business, Rea Engines, as a legacy to his sons.
He was predeceased by his parents; a daughter, Jill, in 1965; and his youngest brother, Robbie, in 1991.
He is survived by his best friend and loving wife of 41 years, Arlene; two sons, Dan and wife, Tracy, and their children, Jessica and Jake, and Mark and wife, Glenna, and their children, Robbie and Shelby.
Also surviving are brothers, Bill (Joan) and Gordon (Marie); mother-in-law, Kaye White; sister-in-law, Lynne Anne McFeetors (Raymond); as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services were held Friday, Dec. 20, 2002 at 1 p.m. at the Devlin Community Hall. Rev. Diane Clifford officiated, with interment in the Burriss Cemetery.
Friends visited prior to the funeral service at the Devlin Community Hall.
Pallbearers were David Allen, Mark Allen, Mark Davis, Terry Smith, Lyle Hayes, and Steve Galusha.
Honourary pallbearers were Fran Speer, Gerald Speer, Bob Speer, David Kemp, Melvin Hyatt, Jack Cooper, Gerald Lambert, and John Ossachuk.
In memoriam donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, 920 Frenette Ave., Fort Frances, Ont., P9A 3N4, the Kenora-Rainy River Lung Association, Box 67, Kenora, Ont., P9N 3X4, or the Riverside Foundation for Health Care, 110 Victoria Ave., Fort Frances, Ont., P9A 2B7.