Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad

094TraynorJC b.jpgNinety-two years ago today, a remarkable event occurred in Regina, Saskatchewan. My father, John Clair Traynor was born. While he's not around any longer, rarely does a day go by that I don't think of him.

As I journey along this life trail that continues to spread out in front of me, I can't help noticing how often my own actions seem to mirror those of my Dad. I notice it when I see photos of him at the same age as I am now and I'm struck by how similar we are. And now that I've got children of my own moving into their adult years, I understand a lot more about what my Dad might have been thinking while he watched me struggle through those early transitions.

Dad died a dozen years ago but he's still a big part of my life. And I know he'll stay that way for the rest of my life. As I grow older myself, I'm starting to realize just how profoundly the lives of those who came before me continue to blend with my own and how my experiences will become a part of those that follow me. So on this, my Dad's birthday, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge him and celebrate his birthday - an event that has meant so much to me and my family.

While poking around some dusty documents on my computer, I came across the eulogy I wrote for Dad's memorial service. While a few words hardly do justice to a complex and wonderful life, I'll post it here to give you a flavour of my Dad's life.

The photo at the top of this page is one of Dad when he was president of the Saskatchewan Land Surveyors Association, back in the 1960s. It's posted on their site along with a nice write-up of him. It's the only digital photo I could find, since he died long before I got into digital photography. And since my scanner isn't hooked up, I can't get any of my photos into digital form.

J. C. (Clair) Traynor
January 2, 1916 - June 13, 1995

Clair Traynor was born and raised in Regina, part of the Traynor clan that arrived in this area in the 1880s. His grandfather, Adam Traynor, homesteaded in the Tregarva area in 1882. Clair's mother, Mabel Claire (Henderson) died when Clair was born and his father, James Dodds, followed her less than a year later. Clair and his four brothers were brought up by Miss Florence Dodds (Aunt Flo), who kept the family together.

Clair met Elinore, his wife of 52 years, at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where he graduated as a civil engineer in 1942. Shortly after their wedding in January 1943, Clair left for Europe and WW II with the Canadian Army's Royal Corps of Engineers. When he returned to Saskatchewan, he began his career as a land surveyor. In the next few years, Clair surveyed in virtually every area of the province with Underwood and McLellan. He joined the Government of Saskatchewan in 1949 and was Director of Surveys for the Department of Highways until his retirement in 1980.

Throughout his working life and during his retirement, Clair was an active member of Lakeview United Church and the Lakeview community, where he and Elinore raised five children. In 1957, Clair and Elinore bought their cottage at Buena Vista Beach, a move Clair described as the best thing he ever did. It provided many happy times for family and friends over the years.

Clair's early years were difficult ones, by some standards. But, they instilled a respect for the importance of family and helped him to place family first throughout his life. Clair and Elinore fully supported their children as they made decisions about their education, career and life choices.

Clair was predeceased by his mother and father, and by brothers Charles, Don and Ken. He is survived by his older brother, Alan and Helen of Parksville, B.C. He is fondly remembered and will be missed by Elinore and his children and grandchildren: Beth and Sue Cook of Regina; Byron and Paulette of Saskatoon: Ken, Trish McAdie, and grandson Zola of Toronto; Dave, Heather Wood, and grandchildren Cory, Jaime and Kelly Anne of Regina; and Janice of Hinton, Alta.

Lakeview United Church was an important part of Clair's life. Friends so wishing may make a donation to the Lakeview United Church Building Fund

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