338 - 4th Avenue North | Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 2L7
Obituary of Desmond O'Brien Gore-Hickman
Desmond O’Brien Gore-Hickman
August 27, 1929 to January 19, 2023
The world lost one of its characters with the passing of Desmond O’Brien Gore-Hickman on Jan. 19, 2023 at Royal University Hospital. Born on Aug. 27, 1929, Des was 93 at the time of his passing.
Des was the loving husband of Eunice, a proud father of three, a grandfather of nine and a great grandfather of seven.
His grandchildren, all boys, worshipped their Grampy. One of their great joys was the annual football game on his birthday. He caught a couple of passes on his 93rd birthday to keep the tradition alive.
He told the boys all kinds of stories, some making their parents wince, and some seemingly true. The boys, now well into their adult years, have long quoted Grampy’s sayings.
One of the favourites was what he said about his dislike of moustaches. “Why cultivate on your face, what grows wild on you’re a--,” he would say. Looking through a book of photos, the family found a picture of Des with a moustache. Gotcha.
Memorable moments were brunches and barbecues in his backyard. He could flip burgers and get bacon sizzling like nobody’s business. He had a knack of terminating wasps, although it often took a few swats and people ducking out of the way. No one got stung under his watch.
Eunice was the love of his life. They were seldom, if ever, apart. They met in the Ottawa, where Des was posted as an RCMP officer. They married on Oct. 16, 1954, and had three children soon after. Rick was born in 1956, Sandy was close behind in 1957, and Karen was born in 1959.
All three children were born in Victoria. Camping trips were a big part of family life. A trip to Expo 67 in Montreal was the highlight.
With Des being in the RCMP, the family seemed to live out of suitcases for the next 15 years, with Des stationed in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Ottawa and Regina.
He joined the RCMP in January 1947 as a free-spirited 17-year-old. His older brother Gord often said he was a bit more than a free spirit. Des was posted in small centres in Western Canada before getting his first posting in Ottawa.
He was a member of the RCMP Musical Ride as well as Governor General’s residence and Parliament Hill guards while in Ottawa the first time.
Des retired from the RCMP in 1973, reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant.
After retirement, the family put down roots in Saskatoon, where he became a compliance investigator for what was then known as the Unemployment Insurance Commission.
He loved sports, whether playing them or watching them. Playing sports took a toll on his body, with sore shoulders and knees slowing him down in his later years. He played high school football with CFL legend Normie Kwong and won a Canadian police curling championship.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders seldom had a quarterback that met with his approval.
Des was social, which is a bit of an understatement. He enjoyed visiting with his neighbours on his patio. They had a wonderful bond.
He was a proud member of the Shrine Club, serving as the president in 1989.
As a member of the Shrine Club, he and Eunice made life-long friends. He believed strongly in the club’s mission to support children’s hospitals for burn victims.
One of his worst moments as a Shriner — if there was such a thing — was on his 60th birthday. While sitting in the backyard celebrating with friends and family, suddenly the sound of a band could be heard. Going out to the front yard, the Shrine Drum and Bugles Corps was marching toward his home.
“There goes my booze,” he said. “Those guys will clean me out.”
His grandsons were proud when they would go to the Shrine Circus and see him mingling with performers. He was social, always with a smile and a new joke to tell. Sometimes the new joke was an old joke, but so be it.
In recent years, he enjoyed having coffee with other Shriners most mornings. He did so until a week before his passing.
There was an emptiness when many family members gathered in the days after his passing. One day, the grandsons who were able to be there, each poured a glass of Lemon Hart rum, with Coke and water, and toasted Grampy. It was his drink of choice.
He will be deeply missed by family and friends.
Des is survived by Eunice, his wife of 69 years, their children Rick (Wendy), Sandy (Cam) and Karen, grandchildren Brett (Leah), Kurt (Robyn), Michael (Amanda) and Sean Gore-Hickman (Sarah Hyland) , Josh and Noah Diamond, and Ryan, Brandon (Stephanie) and Jay Hutchinson (Mikhea May), and his great grandchildren Adelyn, Mia, Parker, Zoey, Brooks, Hailey, and Finley, as well as numerous nephews, a niece and many friends.
He was predeceased by his parents, May and Thomas Gore-Hickman, and siblings Meghan Cumming, Gord Gore-Hickman and Moira Baize, as well as son-in-law Mel Diamond, and many friends from the Shrine Club, the neighbourhood and from his professional careers.
In keeping with Des’s wishes, there will be no funeral service, but a celebration of his life will be held this spring
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to his favourite charity, which goes to the cost of sending sick children out of province for specialized care:
Wa-Wa Shriners (2065 - Hamilton St., Regina, SK., S4P 2E1, Patient Travel Fund "In memory of Des Gore-Hickman")
Dependable. Committed. Compassionate.
338 - 4th Avenue North
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 2L7
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