General News · 14th June 2012
My old friend Gordon Vincent Carr passed away the other day.
Here's a photo of the dining room/music room at the house Gordie built on Cortes Island, British Columbia, Canada. Between 1975 and 2010, I had the great pleasure on many occasions to make music with him in that always tidy, always comfortable and welcoming space.
I probably was not the greatest sax player Gord ever played with, and he was not the best piano player I had played with; but his elegant, gently swinging, understated style tickled and soothed, and he said I played pretty, so we got along well.
I met him in 1975 when someone suggested he and I join with accordionist Elmer Ellingsen to play a dance at Manson's Hall. Drummer Peter Gregg of Heriot Bay came over and the Cortes Oldtimers band was born. Eventually we played for many dances at both the Manson's and Gorge Halls on Cortes Island, as well as in Campbell River, Powell River, Heriot Bay and Cape Mudge. Gord had great stories he liked to tell about many of those dances.
He also had great stories about 25 years in the Royal Canadian Navy, and life in the prairies in the 1930's, and many other interesting topics. Those of us privileged enough to have been on the receiving end of some of these stories will remember those we heard, but the experience of hearing them in great cheer from Gord himself will never ever happen again.
Many of Gordie's years were spent in the company of his delightful wife Val. Gord had to watch her die a terrible lingering death, then learn how to carry on alone. Many people checked in on Gord regularly during the latter period of his life. The local deer established a multi-generational hangout in Gord's front yard. For decades he provided the Gorge Hall, and everyone who subsequently tapped into that line, with free water from the spring on his property.
Gordie Carr was a gentleman and a gentle man. I knew him for 36 years and never heard him raise his voice, except in song. He taught me a greater appreciation for some of the beauties of the golden age of songwriting, which he carried around in his head for decades, ready to share on a moment's notice. For this, and for the many hours of music-making I was privileged enough to enjoy with him, I will remember and be thankful all the rest of my days for having known Gordon Vincent Carr.