With great sadness we announce that Harold Aitken Crittenden, passed away on October 24 th , 2023 at the Grace Hospital at the age of 85 years. Early in October he started with a deep cough which seems to have been pneumonia. Then on Friday October 20th, he was taken to the hospital by ambulance. When they checked him out, he not only had pneumonia but had also contracted covid. Through scans, it showed that his lung capacity was severely reduced. Over the next few days, we saw some peaks of energy, but overall, we could see that he was becoming more and more tired, and he was finding it harder to breathe. He then took his last breath just after 5pm. His daughter, son and three grandchildren all got to come in over that time, and say goodbye.\
What he left behind is a legacy, something that all of us strive to live up to “where there was a need, he was in there doing what he could to help”. No matter where we go now, people come up to us saying how much he will be missed. He grew up in an age where looking things up on the Internet, or watching YouTube videos didn’t exist, and he didn’t have a problem with getting his hands dirty and learning. From carpentry, plumbing, electrical and mechanical work he was comfortable and could come up with a way to do what was needed.
Born November 29th 1937, to Preston G and Marion M (nee Aitken) Crittenden, in West Brome Quebec, Harold grew up knowing hard work. He lived on a dairy farm, which meant he learned to do chores including starting his day by milking the cows before going to school. He was the youngest of the three children, his brother Malcolm (married to Shirley) and his sister Myrna (married to Merton McPherson). His parents and both of his siblings predeceased him, his sister, just April of last year.
When the time came, he moved into Montreal to go to MacDonald Collage to take up Agriculture. That’s where he met the love of his life, Evelyn Irene Herron. They both seemed to have different views on who ‘chased’ whom, but I am pretty confident that the love that they showed each other over the years – it didn’t matter, as they were both head over heels for each other. On June 11, 1960, they celebrated that love by getting married. During early married life, Harold worked for International Harvester, where he travelled significantly and moved around a number of times. The moves that stood out were to Burlington, Ontario, where they had their first child, Laurie, then on to Saint John, New Brunswick, where they had a son, Rob. There were a few years in Regina, Saskatchewan and finally onto Winnipeg. He was offered his next position in Chicago and decided, that was enough, it was time to settle down, and became the service manager at Blight’s Portage, in Portage La Prairie.
With that, dad and mom bought their first home in 1972, for $25,000 under a fixed 3.25% interest rate over a full 40-year mortgage (times have changed), to raise their two children. And, he took on the task of traveling from Winnipeg to Portage every day. However, to make it easier in the summer months, when us kids were out of school, the grabbed a spot in Westwind campground. Each summer, he had a shorter drive, and the family had a pool, friends and the great outdoors. The campground changed hands and names, now known as Miller’s, but he never missed one year of being there, even this year, he just closed the trailer for another season at the end of September.
Other than Miller’s, he loved spending time tinkering in his garage, woodworking, repairing vehicles and had a side hobby of wine making. He enjoyed watching and cheering on the Winnipeg Jets and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. And, of course, one of his interests was taking his wife on tropical getaways.
He had watched his family mature and grow, watching them take on University, jobs and relationships. His son, Rob, got married to Marianne (nee Loewen) and brought in his first grandchildren, Simeon and Adrian. His daughter, Laurie, gave birth to a beautiful daughter, Sarah Farrington.
On December 20, 2017, Harold had a significant loss, Evelyn, his wife of 57 years, passed away. He continued on his own, then made an offer to Laurie and Sarah, who moved in with him. He was still independent as ever, as he would continue going to Miller’s all summer and take the random road trip to see combines in the fields, friends and the occasional trip to South Beach.
He made lifelong friends through MacDonald College, Work, Kinsmen, Miller’s campground and throughout the neighborhood. And to all these friends, raise a glass (and for dad, he would be having a scotch), give a salute and thanks for the life he had and the impact he had on our hearts.
Over the last few days, there were a few extra heart-to-heart talks, and one thing he said is that he loved his kids and grandkids, and that he wanted the best for them.
“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23 (NIV). Well done, dad, well done.
Funeral service will be held on Saturday November 4, 2023, at Prairie Sprit United Church, 207 Thompson Drive Winnipeg, MB at 1:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to The Grace Hospital Foundation, 300 Booth Dr Unit M001, Winnipeg, MB R3J 3M7.
A tree will be planted and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel. www.mckenziesportagefuneralchapel.com 204-857-4021