Wednesday, October 18th, Antony Rhodes-Marriott (Tony) died peacefully at his home.
Dad was lovingly cherished by his wife of 61 years, Mary, his sister Barbara (Phil), his children Alison (Cam), Joanne (Bob), and Mike (Erin), his grandchildren Cass (Clara), Becky, Brady, Nigel, Tyler, Abigail, Scout, Greer, and Eloise. His nieces and nephews Richard (Gosia), Janette (Matthew), Susan (Hubert), Sue, Stuart, Gareth (Lorraine) and their families. He had many cousins and relatives that he kept in touch with all of their activities and communicated with throughout his life. He made sure to try to connect with many whenever he was back in the UK for a visit. He also adopted all of his children’s friends and was always asking about each of them and kept up with them and often their children too :) He had many lifelong friends that were like family and was always interested in everything and everyone always caring and curious.
Tony was born in Stockport, England, August 16th, 1938. At the time his parents Vera and William Marriott were living with the Rhodes-Marriott family (his grandparents) whilst his dad William was serving in The Royal Air Force in Wick, Northwest Scotland. Vera didn't want Tony growing up not knowing his father, so in 1939 she took baby Tony on trains & ferries to live nearer his father up in Scotland. Tony moved a lot in his first 11 years of life; he and his parents lived on the Isle of Harris, Chiswick in Scotland, on a houseboat on the river Thames in London, close to the moorland outside of Bolton, Edgewood, and the family home “The Hollow” in Hazel Grove before settling in Stockport. In 1947, he gained a sister, Barbara, whom he adored.
Tony had become used to moving homes, living in the wilds, and living in an urban setting. He got used to new and very different schools, made new friends and thus was able to easily forge lifelong friendships all his life. His teenage years were settled in Stockport, and he became an ardent cyclist, telling all & sundry of his mammoth cycle ride from Stockport (N. England) to Torquay (S.W. England). In fact, he cycled to work daily. After he learnt to drive, he set off to the Lake District in a tiny car packed with camping gear and 3 other friends, with 2 canoes lashed onto the roof. He had many camping holidays, often playing card games in the tent if the weather was wet. He was adventurous, winning people round with his easygoing nature. That love of wheels transferred into a lifetime enjoyment of Formula 1 racing and Tour de France, bicycle racing. He was very proud to have taken his bicycle ride for his 82nd birthday!
In 1960, Dad met the love of his life Mary. And on April 24th 1962, on his parents’ silver wedding anniversary, they were married at St. Mary’s Cheadle Parish Church in Stockport, England.
In his work life Dad was fortunate to have a great apprenticeship at Ferranti Limited in Stockport, where he gained a great grounding in electronics and mechanics. Because he was working at a defense contractor, he was deferred from entering the military. He was then conscripted into the Royal Air Force where, interestingly enough, he wound up using some of the equipment he had installed while apprenticed at Ferranti. Dad’s parents added to his tool kit. His father was a professional photographer and occasional writer and his mother a teacher, lecturer, and writer. Dad often worked with them, and their skills rubbed off on him. After his service in the RAF, he found a job working at Massey-Fergusson where he worked until in 1965 at the toss of a coin (over Australia), Dad, Mum, and Baby Alison emigrated to Canada by boat.
The young family first lived in Cabbagetown, Toronto and moved to many small towns in and around Toronto 11 times in the 15 years they lived in Ontario. Around move six in 1969 they welcomed twins Joanne and Michael to their little family. In 1970 with the young family in tow and knowledge gained from library books, Dad cut down trees and built an A frame home in a wooded area in Ontario, where the family lived through one terrible winter without running water or electricity before moving on. In 1980, a job opportunity brought the family to Winnipeg, where they settled in Norwood flats for over 20 years. When Mum and Dad became empty nesters, they were on the lookout for something smaller and fell in love with an acreage in St. Pierre Jolys. They excitedly moved into this bigger home. Dad had the opportunity to work from home but required internet, so one of the very first fiber optic lines was dug to their property. The house in St. Pierre was everything to Mum and Dad and it quickly became their grandchildren’s favorite hangout. Many happy memories of sitting by the fire, viewing slide shows, playing Pictionary, skiing, tobogganing, riding lawn mowers, catching frogs, and birdwatching were made. This time cemented a love of the outdoors in all their grandchildren. In 2008, Dad was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Luekemia (CML). Fortunately for him, a new drug had just become available for treatment. This drug, Gleevac, gave Dad the last 15 years of his life. Now retired and needing to be closer to doctors, Dad & Mum moved to Steinbach.
Dads first job in Canada was at Massey-Fergusson again, this time in Toronto. His education in all things electrical and mechanical coupled with RAF military allowed Dad to move easily from one industry to another. During his career he worked in Agriculture, Aerospace, Forestry and Construction, Steel and Electronic Telecommunications industry. He was a Publicator, Technical Writer, Manager, Consultant, Instructor, and Author. Dad was active in promoting the Society for Technical Communications. He was largely responsible for starting the Toronto and Winnipeg chapters. Dad was named an Associate Fellow in 1991 and a Fellow in 1994. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA, 1975), and taught technical writing at Red River Community College. If you asked Dad what he did for a living he would tell you he was a writer. He was a published author of a children’s medical information book called “Sick but not Scared” and was often featured voicing his opinions in letters to the editor in both The Carillon and the Winnipeg Free Press.
As his hearing diminished, Facebook became the way Dad connected with old and new friends. He faithfully played words with friends (scrabble) with people all over the globe, and often remarked he needed to “put Phil to bed”, referring to playing his game with his brother-in-law in England. He was always thoughtful in tagging people he thought of when reading different articles online. Dad loved watching the birds and listening to CJNU, and always carried a book which was flung open at any opportunity.
Dad was well travelled, and we camped all over Canada and the United States. In addition to many trips home to the UK, Mum and Dad did a eurail Europe trip the year Dad turned 70…bringing up the median age at all of hostels they stayed at. Dad had Wanderlust and Mum was happy to follow along for the ride. They also returned for a visit to England with friends and family who got together and gifted them with flights for his 80th birthday just before the Covid adventures began. They were so very glad to have had that time and visit with everyone…not knowing at the time it would be the last visit.
Dad was an avid photographer, a skill that was useful when making publications. On occasion he was put on a small plane and flown over areas to take areal pictures of forestry equipment. Much of our lives have been captured in photos and videos thanks to Dad. In recent years he always brought a camera with him, taking covert pictures of family gatherings and posting them on Facebook. He was always present at as many of his grandchildren’s sports as possible and also thankfully with his video camera in hand. Such lovely memories to have that we would not have had without him.
Dad was kind, caring, and thoughtful. He always put others first and had a love for his family and friends like family that could not be matched. Most of all he cherished our Mum. He taught us what it means to love someone unconditionally. He never wavered; Mum was the love of his life.
Dad spent three months at Bethesda Hospital before coming home for end of life care. We would like to thank all the people on Medicine as well as on rehab for their care, especially Physicians Assistant Lauren who took time to update us and attempt to un-puzzle dad’s multiple medical diagnosis’s . She was the one consistent person we had during most of his care. We would also like to thank Steph, Henry, Cheryl, Amanda, Mandy, Rosemary, Heather, Ursula, Natalia, Lori, Joanna, April, Rose, Jenna Lee, Gail, Kiran, Sharon, Kathleen, Kim and so many more.
It took an army of people to bring Dad home and an army of people to support and care for him here. Special thanks to the Steinbach home-care team, and the Palliative care team. Thank you to Ashley, Ann, Nancy, Laura, Elisa, Olga, Dinah, Jolene, Steph, Sandy, Arthur, Brittany, Dorothy, and so many others. Special thanks to Ella…just for being you, for caring for Dad in a way that made us feel like he was as important to you as he was to us, we never felt like you were in a rush to get in and get done and you always took the time to say hello to Mum, the world needs more people like you. Thank you to, Dr. Moltzan, Dr. Saranchuk, Dr. Toop, Dr. Swartz, Dr. Grey, Dr. Jawanda, Dr. Vendrenti, Dr. Kimmelman, Dr. Tuma, Dr. Khan, Dr. Ahmed, Dr. Mondor and so many more doctors Dad encountered during his stay.
Cremation has taken place, and a celebration of life will happen in the spring.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to CJNU in memory of Tony from Steinbach’s name or dedicate a song for him. He loved big band Jazz, Louis Armstrong, Cleo Lane, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald to name just a few. He really enjoyed calling in and chatting with so many of the amazing announcers on CJNU and talking music and became great friends with a number of them.
Special thanks to Crossings Funeral Care, thank you for making this emotional time seamless and stress free.
As Dad would say, Take Care, Stay Safe, Enjoy Life, and Laugh a Lot. TTFN