On the evening of August 16th 2021, Clifford Thomas Finnimore drew his last breath, surrounded by the love of friends and family at the Carberry Personal Care Home.
Cliff had come to live in Carberry ten months earlier, to be as close to home as possible and right down the hall from his friend Howard. And, while the pandemic created worry and set all of us into a holding pattern, Cliff never felt too lonely. He was convinced that Darrell was nearly always present. During each fancy video call beamed out over Susan’s phone, he would shake his head in awe and gratitude. In his last days, phone calls and letters brought comfort. Each message was received. Acknowledged with a squeeze and wink. Every precious visit with friends and family brought a flood of memories, laughter, and love into the room.
In Neepawa, his door was always open. Coffee, toffee, and jokes always at the ready... When you walked into his home, Cliff met you with a smile and a hug. Stay for any length of time and he’d have you laughing until you cried, crying until you felt better, playing crib until you were tired of losing, and eating until you were stuffed. Then, he’d offer you more coffee. When you left, you returned the hug and a smile he gave you on the way in. You could always come back for more.
A conversation with Cliff could last a long time. He was seldom caught without words. He made a special effort to listen. You got his undivided attention. He cared deeply for people in his life. He was a Westman. Driving around gave him joy and he spread his curiosity about small-town life and news far and wide. He struck up conversations with strangers to learn about their experiences, often asking if they knew a good place for coffee.
Clifford worked hard all of his life. He was born January 7th 1929 to Louise and Albert Finnimore who had emigrated from England. The untimely deaths of his older siblings Kate and Leonard were devastating losses to the whole family. Young Cliff was quick to find ways to contribute to the household and he helped his brothers and sisters celebrate the simple joys in life. He loved working with horses, helping neighbors, and working the land. When he left the farm, he traveled throughout Manitoba honing skills in various trades. By the late 50’s he settled in Transcona with his young bride, Jeannie ready to start a family. In time, they welcomed three boys. Whenever he wasn’t working, Cliff got the kids to hockey, baseball, took them camping, and ran a Scout troop. Life as a single parent didn’t lighten his schedule.
For forty-plus years, Cliff, or CT as he was often called, worked at CN Rail where he made many life-long friends. He loved to explore nature. Often walking around with binoculars strung around his neck ready to catch a glimpse of some creature in flight or furrow. He was most at peace when his feet were on the ground and his hands in the soil. He was in heaven with his foot on the accelerator and his hands on the wheel.
He met “Jay” at a dance. They shared a mutual appreciation for music and loved to go out dancing. Encouraging each other in provincial bowling leagues brought them a lot of joy. They also shared a mutual appreciation for a small black poodle. Missy went everywhere with them. Before and long after retirement, they visited friends and family across Canada and explored new places.
Returning back home to Neepawa was part of their adventure together. Cliff looked forward to camping on the shore of Sandy Lake, fall suppers, time in the woodshop, more nature walks… and coffee visits.
He was predeceased by his wife Jean, brothers Leonard, Harry and Bryan, and sister Kate.
Cliff is survived by his sister Evelyn Harper (Ivan), his sons, Leonard (Brenda), Larry (Dayle), and Darrell (Ashlyn), grandchildren Vanessa, Brynn (Kevin) and Candace (Brian), great-grandchildren; Dylan, Brooklynn, Jaden, Easton, and Keegan, his step-children Dave, Stephen, Lennea and Joanne (Larry) and all of their children; Adam, Erin, Stevie, Jennifer, Season, Adam, Sabrina, Jennifer, Mark, and Theresa.
A private family service will take place with a public graveside service on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. in the Riverside Cemetery, Neepawa, MB.