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Celebrating Andy Clark (a Scot, Brit, $5 Cdn., Dad, Grampa & football freak...

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Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary-Branch 120

127 Mill Street

Halton Hills, ON L7G 2C7

Canada

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Great Scot became five dollar Canadian

Fantastic father, loving husband, Volkswagen aficionado, talented handyman and passionate footballer who supported crosstown rivals Celtics and Rangers

Andy Clark, a legendary family man and a die-hard football enthusiast who openly supported crosstown rivals Glasgow Celtics and Glasgow Rangers and, who paid a one-time five dollar citizenship fee to become a Canadian in the mid-1960s, died peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday July 25th in his home in Georgetown, Ontario at the age of 86.

Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late May which was the final stage of a record 17-year campaign with the disease. Although the statistics were never in his favour with each diagnosis, he somehow managed to best four preceding episodes which were credited to the man’s joie de vivre. Typical of his plucky persona, Dad responded to this latest infection stating, “Ach well, I’m going to watch the football and work on my tomato plants.”

Dad was born in the family home at #234 The Stell in Kirkfieldbank, Lanarkshire, Scotland, July 9th, 1931 to his parents Andrew and Agnes (nee Mitchell) and siblings John, Bill, Tommy, Jesse and Susan. When Dad was ten years old, and at the height of the Nazi bombing-raids over Britain which included the city of Glasgow (memories which Dad recounted later in life), the Clarks moved south to the village of Castle Douglas in Dumfries where Dad spent the remainder of his time in Scotland.

Apprenticing as a tractor mechanic and following national service as a soldier with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, Andy followed his brothers Bill and John to Canada by steamship in 1957, landing in Quebec City and taking the train to Toronto where his new life unfolded.

Dad and Mom (Miss June Kirk) married October 10, 1959, quickly buying a cottage in Haliburton (Dad always had his priorities in order), then a home, their first and only one, in Toronto at 41 Eileen Avenue. Dad established a long and impassioned career with the Toronto Board of Education as a janitor/stationary engineer, a time that he spoke about often and with complete pleasure. Dressed in his tidy blue cleaner’s uniform, Andy’s friendly demeanour meant that he connected easily with the students and was regularly spotted sporting a smile while kicking a soccer-ball around the yard with the kids. Moving up the ranks, Dad finished his time at Toronto Board Headquarters as a Zone Supervisor in the Plant Operations Department, retiring in 1994.

Mom and Dad’s world revolved around their three boys and their involvement in music. Intensive music lessons at Moss Park Armoury with legendary Scots piper John Wilson at Queen and Jarvis streets segued into membership in the 48th Highlanders of Canada. Although Dad was not a musician, his passion for instrumental music came to him through his mother, Agnes, a professional piano player for silent films and who was also called to play for the leading stage performer of the day, Sir Harry Lauder.

The Clark family’s involvement in the 48th spanned 21 years from 1975 to 1996. For Mom and Dad, Toronto’s Highland regiment - and the numerous ex-pat Scots characters in the ranks – held a few surprises along the way. Weekly practises, regimental dinners, street parades, public park concerts, military tattoos, war-time reunions, highland games, performances for the Toronto Maple Leafs and numerous trips to the States coloured the daily canvass of the Clark household. It also led Mom and Dad on an unanticipated overseas trip to The Netherlands to accompany their boys as they piped for the veterans of World War Two during the “We Do Remember” Liberation Commemoration tour in 1985.

What Dad and Mom taught us was to work hard and work smart, to give our best and be our best selves, how to win, how to lose, to be tolerant and compassionate, to push ourselves and to push our own boundaries. What was important to our parents was for us to do better and to be better people. They also showed us what love was all about. Dad also knew the importance of social time and being sociable. As kids it was common for Dad and Mom to put on music at home and start dancing in the kitchen; of course this would last only minutes before 3 kids and the dogs would pile on for a tangle. The all-important annual Clark Christmas party was an event that couldn’t be missed. This included great food, a well-stocked liquor supply and bagpipes, bagpipes and more bagpipes. There were a lot of laughs and even more love.

Dad’s warm smile made you feel like you had known him for years. He was so good at this that mom’s sister Katie showed up on Mom and Dad’s second date and hung around for 59 years.

Being a people-person, dad valued time with his dream-team including Erroll, Al, Argi and the support staff that Dad loved working with. We all know they loved working with Dad, we’ve seen the pictures. Dad’s colleagues often referred to Andy as the “Aye-Man” (‘aye’ is a Scots expression for ‘yes’, as in “Oh Aye” or “Aye, sure”); Dad was also known as “Handy Andy” and periodically, “McGyver.” To Dad, mechanical functionality was boring. Life wasn’t worth living unless there was something that needed to be fixed and if this included a VW, Ford or even a Dodge (if he had too), then his day just lit up.

Along came the spring of 2000 when Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon cancer, metastatic to his lymph nodes, liver and lung. This precipitated an eventual move from Toronto to Georgetown enabling more personal time with his granddaughter and allowing the flexibility to deal with his increased medical attention. We’ve all heard the expression that cancer isn't beaten. Anyone that has known Dad understands that Andy Clark is the bellwether example that cancer is taking a beating. Guided by an all-star army of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, researchers and support staff, our Scottish tank ran a 17-year marathon defying all odds and expectations. Special mention goes to Dr. Joseph Kozak, Dad’s family physician and his long-time Toronto Maple Leafs complaint mechanism, who was ever-present through this. Thank you Dr Kozak for your dedication to Dad, for the calls, for the guidance and for the love of doing what you do so well. Dad’s quality of life was remarkable and enabled him to continue life in a full and robust form.

Because Dad was everybody’s best friend, we’re here today to enjoy your company and reminisce about ‘the old boy’ (as Mom fondly referred to Dad). We’re glad so many of you came in your best ‘tartan’ for a “Celebration of Andy” but he wouldn’t be dressed in a kilt; instead, he’d be wearing ‘trews’ along with a Rangers’ jersey and a Celtics’ chapeau. Please enjoy a great time in the style of Andy.

Our world was made richer with your being there for us Dad and for helping us become the people we are. In each of us is a big part of you. And we miss you greatly.

FAQs

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Parking lot and street parking is availabe.

What can I bring into the event?

Anything Tartan, pipes, tin whistles, trumpets, highland dancing shoes. Of course, a wicked sense of humour.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

cameronclark.business@gmail.com or 1-647-470-0024

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Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary-Branch 120

127 Mill Street

Halton Hills, ON L7G 2C7

Canada

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