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"SCE" 2003 Obituary


SCEVIOUR o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-08-04 published
By Linda Sceviour BINNS Monday, August 4, 2003 - Page A14
True Newfoundlander, seaman, crossing guard, professional Santa, father. Born February 14, 1926, in Petley, Newfoundland. Died February 24 in Toronto, of Alzheimer's disease, aged 77.
"In the cold Canadian waters, north from the coast of Maine, there's an island called Newfoundland, swept by snow, wind and rain. I wish I had the power to change the course of time, to live again in Newfoundland, the home of childhood time."
The lyrics of this song I know by heart, as they were taught to me by Walter SCEVIOUR. Walter had the softest heart, the bluest eyes, a strong wiry grip, and a quick step. It's appropriate that he was born on Valentine's Day; this was a man who deeply loved people and life.
Forever proud to be a Newfoundlander, Walter had a tough start. His mother died when he was a baby. The youngest of four children, he was sent to live with an aunt in British Harbour, once a thriving fishing island. He never had any formal education and started working at age 13 when his aunt died. He talked very little of those early years, but always wistfully of The Island.
The photo on his Canadian Seaman's card made Walter look like Stanley Kowalski of A Streetcar Named Desire. He rode a motorcycle, smoked Player's Plain, wore Old Spice cologne and drank Red Cap ale. He had a tattoo on his right forearm that said "Death before Dishonour".
His Newfie buddies called him Thumb Tack because he was a rabble-rouser, a practical joker with blazing Paul Newman eyes. Walter worked at the Gander airport, servicing planes until he came to Toronto in 1949 where he met Phyllis JOHNSON at a Newfoundland square dance. Walter and Phyllis celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in December.
Walter was a hard worker. He worked as a pressman until he began his second and happiest career as a school crossing guard for 12 years. The children called him "Wally" and their pictures, thank-you cards, and Valentines tell of how he had brightened their day. He played Santa Claus at the local mall and helped at church. The Red Cross recognized him as a loyal blood donor.
He had a great singing voice. The Green, Green Grass Of Home was his favourite song. And no one could do the Newfie jig to Muscles in the Corner better than Walter. He taught me to sing, dance, enjoy western movies, and play cards. "That's the baby," he'd say when he won (which was often) -- gleefully placing the winning card on the table. Walter was also a practical joker. On Halloween, his neighbours got use to seeing a trick-or-treater taller than the rest.
A true hockey fan with seasons' tickets for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Walter escorted many family and Friends to hockey games. He could get players' autographs like no one else. My autograph book proves it.
Generous and kind-hearted to a fault, he sent an entire cooked roast beef dinner to his daughter's house by cab when she came home with his first grandchild. Walter was a real softie for sure; a man who ended each phone call with two kisses and "I love you." He'd always tell us how proud he was of us. What this humble man likely never realized was how proud we were of him.
Walter is survived by his wife, Phyllis, their two daughters, Linda and Brenda, and grandchildren Danielle, Kyle, Remy, Amy, Haley and Kelly.
At his funeral service, the lyrics of Walter's favourite song were played for him: "Yes, they'll all come to see me in the shade of that old oak tree/ As they lay me 'neath the green, green grass of home."
Linda Sceviour BINNS is Walter's daughter.

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