Many local residents came to remember and celebrate the memory of George Hartford at the memorial service held last Saturday (February 5) at Tumbler Ridge Secondary School. The ceremony was officiated by Rev. Charlie Parslow, a former School District 59 superintendent, and included reflections from many about what George meant to them.
Hartford's daughters Crosbie Bourdeaux and Nicola Ramsey began by recounting humorous anecdotes from growing up with George as their father. Parslow recalled George as a passionate member of his congregation, one whose inquiring nature inspired Parslow to create sermons tailored specifically to him.
He embodied George's spirit by quoting Amos 5:24: "Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."
Parslow said George's drive to do great things could be summed up in one phrase: "without vision, the people perish." To that end, Parslow encouraged all at the service to pursue justice and fairness as George always did.
Mayor Larry White recalled George's great work in the community, particularly his initiative in making sure the seniors housing complex wound up located in the right part of town. Charles Helm and Hartford's niece Jansi Jones read passages from the Bible.
Mike Caisley read "High Flight", a poem written by a young Canadian pilot killed in action, which today serves as a tribute to and in memory of pilots. (Hartford flew over Germany in World War Two).
Tyler Shaw played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. The Tumbler Ridge Community Choir sang several hymns during the service, and local groups including the Lions Club and the Royal Canadian Legion paid their last respects.
As a symbolic finale, retired teacher Mac Taylor, a co-worker of George's in the school district, brought forward the original school bell used at Tumbler Ridge's first school, which Hartford was principal of. Taylor rang the bell one last time. George Hartford passed away in Victoria on January 16, 2011.