By Pioneer Staff
A popular local musician is being remembered by friends and family after departing Earth for a larger stage last weekend. Gordon Askey, or as friends in the Columbia Valley knew him, The Great Gordini, passed away in the early hours of Saturday, January 7th at Invermere and District Hospital.
That same evening, his friends, musically inclined or not, gathered at Mr. Askeys home to play and sing farewell to the much-loved entertainer.
You could feel his presence [that night], and it was reflected in the music, said fellow local musician and friend, Bruce Childs. Gordon was always waiting for a great musical moment in time. He was always open to playing with all musicians…because he believed that music brought all communities together.
Mr. Askey became known around the valley through decades of running his business, Gordon Askey Stucco, which he owned and operated until a few years ago. In the late 70s, he opened a business called Musical Friends in Invermere where he sold guitars and other music related items. This helped foster his main love, music, in which he immersed himself ever since arriving in the Columbia Valley with his family from Trail in 1957.
Mr. Askey was, first and foremost an entertainer, who loved to pass along his knowledge of music to others, said his wife Lynn.
He really fostered a love of music in a lot of people, she added. Our granddaughter, Skyla, her whole interest started with grandpa Gord.
Mr. Askey shared his musical talents with others from a young age, as a member of Dave Carlson band, The Rhythm Makers and later as part of The Windy Valley Group with John Cronin and Bruce Everett and The Live Band in the late 1980s. His love of collaboration led him to complete an album entitled Seniors Moment, which was produced with Mr. Cronin and Mac Walter and released in 2007.
Along with his passion for music, Mr. Askey loved the water and spent his time windsurfing and fly fishing and was often seen out on the local lakes in his infamous green canoe. He was also a keen hockey player and was a member of the Fort St. John Flyers, the Invermere Selects, the Old Timers Hockey League and the Silver Tips.
As well as music and sporting achievements, Mr. Askey organized a number of popular valley events during his time here, including a go-kart racing contest and Showtime 87, a musical showcase with long-time friend, Brian Rogers.
Gord Askey was just a whole bunch of fun with a capital F, Mr. Rogers said. His nickname was Cleaner because of his resemblance to the man on the Mr. Clean bottle.
In recent years, Mr. and Mrs. Askey travelled in their fifth wheel trailer to Arizona and back during the winter months. Along the way, they visited various Blue Grass music events, where they made many friends on the circuit.
There are people in this world who instantly [know] how to connect with an audience, Mr. Rogers added. This was Gordo…he loved spectacle and big events…and didnt get bogged down on asking why he couldnt or shouldnt.
Mr. Askey is survived by Lynn, his wife and partner of 43 years, his sister, Karen Mellett, sons Chris and Jean-Paul, grandchildren Skyla and Royce, niece Mimi Northcott, nephews Paul and Colin Askey and Michael Northcott.
What do you say about the passing of our old friend Gordon? said Mike Smith, his friend and musical colleague. Ill miss his sense of humour which was there till the end, his big laugh, his music and just the space he occupied; hes left a large hole and lots of good memories in my life.