Carving out a retirement hobby

From our January 2014 issue

By Robert “Gordon” Bryce – Winnipeg, Man.

At 88 years, I’m still keeping busy. My post-retirement passion is woodworking and carving. I’m a member of the ADANAC Carvers. I work on bird and bat houses, walking sticks, bark carvings, etc. I has also enjoy teaching carving through Age and Opportunity.

I was born Sept. 22, 1925 in Wapella, Sask. to Robert Parlan Bryce and Mary Francis Girvin. My parents, brother, Girvin (deceased), and sister, Evelyn, moved to Fife Lake in 1927 to run the liquor store, then to Verwood in 1929 to run the poolhall and barbershop before returning to the farm in Wapella in 1931. My parents continued farming until moving into town in 1942.

I moved to Winnipeg in 1943 to join the army. I remained in Germany postwar to guard prisoner of war, Kurt Meyer. When I returned from the war, I worked for the City of Winnipeg, and then for an electrical company in Shilo and Churchill. I then returned to Winnipeg and following in my father’s footsteps, took a barbering course and ran the barbershop at the Fort Garry Hotel until 1969.

Lois Mary Harper from Viceroy, Sask. and I married in 1950 and we raised three children, Debbie, Merle, and Colin.

A few of Robert Gordon Bryce’s carvings.

I bred, raised, and trained black labs and had the first Manitoba Field Trial Champion, Gordon’s Smokey, and later champion, Flea Island’s Kingfish. I was also the first Manitoban to judge the Canadian National Field Trial Championship.

I have a wide range of jobs and interests. After retiring from barbering, I made and sold harness and equipment for harness racing, and with my brother, Girvin, bought the starting gate and worked the rural harness racing circuit in Manitoba as well as Assiniboia Downs, and the tracks in Moose Jaw, Regina, Saskatoon, and Yorkton.

During the winters I kept busy as ice-maker for Norberry Community Club in Winnipeg. For the remainder of my working years, I worked as a judge and steward for both Harness Racing and Thoroughbred Racing in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Lois and I still live in the home we purchased in 1952.