On loss and life
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | April 12, 2018|
It’s been one of those weeks. Or, more accurately, it’s been a couple of those weeks.
First, we learned of the passing of Robert and Noreen Bishop, on March 27.
Then, we found out that Earl Cooper had died, on March 31.
Late last week, our hockey family was shocked and saddened by the loss of 16 people after a transport truck and junior hockey bus collided in Saskatchewan.
All three stories figure prominently in this week’s paper.
Emily Stonehouse has written a piece about Mr. Cooper, who was born and died in the same house in West Guilford. She was the obvious candidate to write the piece since she picked up a bagpipe for the first time last summer and learned how to play. She’s spent time with the Coopers. She related to him as a musician. For, Earl
loved to play everything, from the fiddle to mandolin to piano, and of course, his beloved bagpipes.
As Emily writes, everyone born and raised in the county would have memories of Earl piping at graduations, weddings, and other social occasions.
Of course, he and Don Johnston were instrumental in starting the Haliburton Highlanders Pipes and Drums Band. It’s been going strong for 48 years. Earl’s family guesses he would have taught hundreds of people to play.
Mark Arike spent time with Chris Bishop last weekend. Chris was gracious enough to entertain the press at what must be a very difficult time for his family, with the loss of not one, but two parents, at the same time.
What a legacy they have left Haliburton County. Mr. Bishop started R.J. Bishop and Son Real Esate in 1958, and went on to sell hundreds of lots. He also co-created CATV Cable TV in Haliburton and Minden.
He and Noreen bought Sir Sam’s Inn in 1965. They cleared three trails and installed a T-Bar lift for that winter. That ski hill is now arguably the county’s biggest recreational attraction and has been going strong for 52 years.
Meanwhile, I spoke at length with Kenny Trenton earlier this week. The affable Moose FM announcer lived and worked in Alberta and Saskatchewan in the 2000’s. He knew the coach of the Humboldt Broncos very well, and, in fact, was the voice of the team for a few years.
The Haliburton community raised money through a GoFundMe campaign to ensure Kenny got to attend the funeral in Humboldt on Saturday. It was with a heavy heart that he considered himself Haliburton’s
ambassador to the sombre affair.
So, there was a lot of sadness in last week’s Highlander. But, there was hope too.
In the case of the Bishops, their end of life was on their terms. Both very ill, and In consultation with their family, they chose physician-assisted death. Chris thinks they are the first couple in Ontario to do this, and only the second couple in all of Canada. The hope is in leaving this world on one’s own terms, in the same way one lived one’s life.
With Earl, it was nice to read that family and friends gathered in his living-room, with everyone picking up an instrument and celebrating Earl’s life with music - just as he would have liked it.
And, with Kenny, well, he took Haliburton blessings to Humboldt. And, while still new to the county, he is
overwhelmed that it raised more than $1,200 in the blink of an eye for him, to send him back to what he considers to be his second home
Lisa Gervais is the editor for The Highlander.