Probably one of the most positive people I have known passed away recently at the age of 83.
I arrived in Port in 1976 from Southern California and while teaching at ADSS I heard of a maternity leave position at Glenwood Elementary. I had recently received my elementary certification from the University of Oregon while working on my master's degree in learning disabilities.
Gary interviewed me and felt I had what it took to be part of a five staff team in a neighborhood school.
I had the pleasure of working with students, parents and staff at Glenwood until just before it closed. The first parent/teacher night was potluck, a concept of which I was ignorant. I had recently graduated from the U of Washington and was a single, clueless father. I brought 10 pizzas! I can recall Gary's warm and supportive smile from across the gym when Mom's gave me the EYE because the kids ate the pizzas first.
A segment of my master's degree involved motivational techniques for physical education. The first morning 30, grade 4/5 students began dancing to this, Gary ducked his head into the class to see what was shaking the building.
During rainy lunch hours, students hung out lounging on couches, working with Lego, playing board games and listening to a 4th grader play sax standing on a desk. Gary was often seen leaning against the door jam enjoying Kelly Cameron's talent.
Thank you for the great times Gary, many professional lessons taught and learned and your continuous support. You were an exceptional leader and colleague. I will see you on the other side for a few beers just like at the Arlington.
Here is the obituary from the Alberni Valley News
October 5, 1938 – October 6, 2021
Gary Murton was born Oct 5, 1938, in Victoria, BC. The eldest child of Ernest and Violet Murton and older brother to Nancy and Phil (Leslie Jo). He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Heather (nee Unterreiner); his three children, Stacey (Geoff ), Jamie (Catherine) and Dave (Andrea). He is greatly missed by his six grandchildren, Joel, Jeremy, Addie, Esmé, Nicholas, and Samantha.
Gary was always “good with his hands” and spent his early years building go-carts, buying and fixing up old cars, and working for his dad washing windows in Victoria. He worked briefly for BC Tel but then decided to attend UVIC.
Upon graduation he started teaching in Lillooet, BC where he met Heather. The Port Alberni years began in 1966 at Alberni Elementary School. He was later principal of Glenwood Elementary and Beaufort School, Director of Special Education, and Superintendent of Schools.
After retirement he and Heather travelled with friends and Gary became involved in the Industrial Heritage Society. His IHS friends became important to Gary in his later years and he was very impressed with their skill, knowledge, and hard work.
Gary was first and foremost a family man. He was a great father and grandfather. His family and friends knew him as a storyteller who was very funny. He had endless time and energy for children and their needs, something that also characterized him as an educator. His work and social service was marked by a uniquely broad and inclusive understanding of who mattered in society. He is remembered fondly by former students and neighbourhood kids and his nieces and nephew.
Heather and Gary worked tirelessly together, helping each other to create a fun, safe, and memorable life for their children and grandchildren.
Gary was always a strong, steady presence to those around him: a wise man. This is a great, almost unfathomable loss to those who were close to him. We will miss him. He died peacefully with his family at his bedside on Oct 6, 2021