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"TIP" 2003 Obituary


TIPPING o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-09-22 published
By Gayle M. LARMOND Monday, September 22, 2003 - Page A18
Able seaman, pioneer of head Lake shore land, builder. Born January 19, 1923, in Toronto. Died July 10, in Kingston, Ontario, of cancer, aged 80.
George HOLLINS was born to George Sr. and Alice, from Staffordshire, England, who had settled in the Oakridge area of Scarborough, Ontario Like many of this generation, he was raised in the Anglican Church. George was active in Cubs, Scouts, choir, Sunday School, Bible class, and the Anglican young people's association. As a young father, he devoted 12 years to church leadership as Sunday School superintendent.
George attended Oakridge Public School and Scarborough Collegiate. Between church and school, lifelong Friendships were forged. He recorded, "in 1932, a sister, Margaret Rose, was born." He developed a fascination and, more significantly, a love for his childhood sweetheart, one Isa TIPPING who later became his wife and mother of their three children.
Butting in on everyone's career, marriage and family plans, came the Second World War. George applied to the Royal Canadian Navy recruiting office at the Argonaut Rowing Club on Lake Ontario and was told they were not taking any inexperienced volunteers for "seaman" ratings. He was ultimately accepted as an "Engine Room Artificer -- Apprentice in Training." In his Life Story, George wrote: "There was no swearing-in ceremony, no documents to sign and no uniform was issued. Just simple instructions and a rail ticket to Galt, Ontario, in April 1941." George served in the Atlantic campaigns and moved in rank to chief petty officer. His ship's name was H.M.C.S. Midland.
Like many who came of age in the war, this was the formative experience. Life's other milestones were captured in terms of "before the war," "during wartime," "after the war was over." George was honourably discharged and returned to his Toronto east-end home a sick man only to find his mother deathly ill with stomach cancer. Married in 1946, first child in 1947, second in 1949 and a third in 1955, George spent his working career with Ontario Hydro, starting as a clerk and finishing as a recruiter of engineers. At age 57, he retired to the family cottage and followed his true calling.
What was his true calling? George loved nature: plants, trees, fish, birds, animals. For several years he hosted a fishing club with his buddies. His place became a virtual bird sanctuary as he distributed bird seed for every species. Dogs were his house companions, all of them rescued. He supported Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind.
At the lake, he will be most remembered for his gardens. On top of sandstone and thin soil, he built raised beds and co-operatively gardened with neighbours. He gave away vegetables and flowers and Friends returned it as winter preserves. To be with him in his beautiful garden was to be near paradise.
For more than 20 years, George lived with his dogs in the family-built home at head Lake. He enjoyed independent living right through his 80th birthday. A persistent sore throat sent him to Kingston General Hospital on April 1. He said a choked good-bye to his dog Bozo and walked through the blizzard to the car where the cancer volunteer driver held a door open for him. In hospital, he fought valiantly for his health and his life. Never short on charm, he captured the hearts of many nurses -- "This one's a heart-breaker," they cried. He didn't want to die. He wanted to return to the garden. He remained positive and hopeful to the end even though he described this fight as being "like going to sea in a sieve." When he died, this larger-than-life lover-of-life left large footprints on many hearts.
Gayle is George's eldest daughter.

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