Obituary of JOHN KILGALLEN
John Kilgallen passed away peacefully with family by his side on January 27th 2024 at Kildonan Personal Care Centre, at the age of 80 years.
He was predeceased by his parents Thomas and Miriam Kilgallen, brothers Joseph, Gordon, Peter, and his sister Miriam. John is lovingly remembered by his son Shane (Colleen) Kilgallen, daughter Nicole Kilgallen, and his grandchildren Aidan, Charlie, and Bronwyn. He also leaves his sister Finola Caffrey and numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family.
John was born in Sligo, Ireland. He emigrated to Winnipeg in 1968. He excelled as a draftsman, cabinet maker, and supervisor with Brown & Rutherford, and later as a supervisor with Builders Furniture. He was an avid sportsman having played handball, racquetball, curling, and golf. His most enjoyable times were playing golf with the Brodick brothers at Selkirk Golf & Country Club.
The first house our parents bought in the 70’s was in the north end. It was a melting pot of sorts with many young European families. Many lasting friendships would be formed on that street, and we would meet up with these families in Saint Malo for memorable summer camping trips through the 80’s. The back of dad’s big GMC pick-up truck would be stacked up high with camping equipment, coolers, and bicycles. Mom and dad would ride in the front and much to our delight us kids got to find a cozy spot somewhere on top of this mound of stuff for the long ride out to Saint Malo, in true 80’s style - seatbelts not required. We’d have smiles on our faces the entire drive out, in anticipation of meeting our friends and all the fun we were going to have.
We remember him as a wiry, tenacious, hard-working man. He valued his autonomy and didn’t really complain much. Many evenings, he’d return home from work, eat supper, and head straight to his workshop in the garage. We’d hear the table saw buzzing all evening as he worked on his latest project. I have vivid memories of opening the garage door, the smell of freshly cut wood in the air, the sound of CJOB radio playing a hockey game in the background, and him standing there in his Levi’s, a sprinkling of sawdust in his hair, and a carpenter’s pencil behind his ear. He designed and built our basement rec room with a pool table as the focal point, and we had lots of fun with him learning to play pool and snooker.
One evening, dad was working in the garage listening to CJOB, and he heard that a family a short drive away was selling a little black puppy. He came into the house and we were all told to get into the car right away because we were going to go see this puppy. Over forty years later, I still remember seeing that puppy for the first time and taking him home. Saying that someone ‘loved dogs’ sounds like a minor commonplace trait, but that dog would play an important role in our family.
We have fond memories of watching James Bond, Rocky, and Clint Eastwood movies with him. Like many households in the 80’s, the show on TV early Saturday morning was always The Bugs Bunny and Tweety show. More entertaining than the show itself, was listening to dad laugh so loud at the characters antagonizing each other with their antics. And every weekend he’d laugh as though it was his first time seeing the show, and us kids would look at each other and giggle.
The family especially thanks the kind staff at the Kildonan Personal Care Centre. A private Celebration of Life will be held by the family at a later date.
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and Wisdom to know the difference.
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