Peter Gordon McBride (Gordie, to his dear wife; Dad; Grandpa; Gramps; Great-Grandpa; Buzzie, to some; and Gord, to most everyone else), aged 91, passed into the waiting arms of his dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ late in the morning on Sunday, September 11, 2022, at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Thunder Bay, Ontario, surrounded by family, and with many prayers and songs of praise. His appetite for earthly food was no more, but he pictured (and described) a staircase before him, leading to a great banquet, as described in Revelation 19 (“Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.”).
Gord was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on January 25, 1931, the third of six children born to Peter and Sarah (née McPhee), immigrants from Scotland. He graduated from Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg. After high school, motivated by a love for sports, he enrolled in evening broadcasting classes that marked the start of a successful career in radio. During this time, Nettie McKinley, who would become the love of his life and wife of 69 years, caught his attention.
Gord’s first and only radio job brought him to Fort Frances, Ontario, in 1952, where he would reside for the next seventy years. In 1953, after a successful letter writing campaign, Gord and Nettie were married in Winnipeg. Dad always said without hesitation that marrying Mom was the best decision of his life. God blessed them with three children, eleven grandchildren, and sixteen great-grandchildren (and counting).
Dad was a very kind, patient, generous, and loving man. He invested his time and attention in his family members. He encouraged them, guided them, and always made them laugh. He loved using the sense of humor that God gave him to bring joy to others, and he was very, very good at it (even at the very end). He had a great zest for life and an optimistic spirit. Dad had a great appreciation for music, especially hymns and brass arrangements (his instrument was the euphonium, but in his prime, he could play two trumpets at once and harmonize). He loved the outdoors, and catching fish in particular, a passion that lives on in his family. Road trips to Florida were a highlight of the early years, and the various pets that arrived at home (including a baby skunk, a fox, and a chicken) kept life interesting. In the later years, Dad especially loved visiting Nettie’s Island (which he bought as a gift for Mom in 1976) on Footprint Lake and spending quiet mornings sipping freshly perked coffee while watching the sun rise over the water.
Gord retired as Vice President of Fawcett Broadcasting after serving as CFOB station manager for twenty-five years. During his forty-one years on air (including calling hockey games play-by-play, which he loved), Gord became well known in the area for his made-for-radio voice, charming personality, and quick wit.
Gord did not seek or desire attention, but his love for being where the action was (and his “fake it ’till you make it” attitude) led him into the limelight. He was elected to the Rainy River District School Board for thirty years and served as its chairman for roughly half of that time. He was president of the Fort Frances and International Falls, Minnesota Chambers of Commerce, filling both roles simultaneously for a period. During the 1950s and ’60s, he organized talent shows across the Rainy River District, including at the Emo Fair. In the ’60s, he was the track announcer at the Emo Speedway. When out on Rainy Lake during the summer, prior to the opening of the Noden Causeway, he would ride the freight train into Fort Frances and back (at night) so that he could drive to Emo for the races.
Gord was an active member and past president of the Lions Clubs in Fort Frances and International Falls, an eighteen-year member of the Fort Frances Recreation Commission, director of the Fort Frances Business Improvement Area, and chairman of the Waterfront Development Committee. He coached minor hockey, built outdoor rinks for neighborhood kids, and directed a church youth choir. He served on the public library board into his nineties. And he was involved in many other volunteer activities too numerous to mention. He always felt that the community and its people were very good to him and his family, and so he tried to “give back” wherever he could. And he did not seek recognition. A box at home contains many plaques given to him by various organizations he served.
Gord would quickly admit that he would not have been able to do all of this without Nettie by his side. He often said that if a man has a good wife and a job that he enjoys going to every day, then he is one of the luckiest men alive. He spoke from experience.
Gord was brought up in the Salvation Army and later in life attended Evangelical Covenant Church in International Falls (and visited various churches around Fort Frances). He loved the Lord and trusted in Christ for his salvation, and he professed on his deathbed that he was ready to meet Jesus and looked forward to being in heaven.
Gord was predeceased by his parents; his siblings Elsie, Isabel, and Jim (and their spouses); and a miscarried baby. He is survived by his loving wife Nettie; his sons Doug (wife Solly; children Trish (Chris), Zack, and Kaili (Irvin)) and Don (wife Joan; children Rachel (Andrew), Dan, Dave (Molly), Ben (Rebecca), and John); his daughter Debbie Sklazeski (husband Jim; children Josh (Emmy), Justin (Jessica), Jenny (Evan)); his brother Jack (Marylin) and sister Irene Anderson (Charlie); his great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, and friends, including his coffee group of 70 years (well, at least one of them).
Gord had many friends and acquaintances. The family would be blessed to hear their stories, whether of interactions with Gord or of impressions that he left (stories of his many jokes and pranks would be much appreciated). To share a story, visit https://forms.gle/LWfjCrmwEycZc8g1A or email email@example.com.
A private service for family will be held in Thunder Bay. A memorial service may be held in Fort Frances at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Fort Frances Salvation Army, P.O. Box 101, Fort Frances, Ont., P9A 3M5.
“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” John 11:25.