Ivan Traill, born May 8, 1932 in Sinclair, Manitoba, died Tuesday, June 21 with his sons at his side singing low and slow like a cowboy cresting a hill with a heart full of sky. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Patricia Traill (nee Sly), his sons Robyn, Sean and Patrick, and his grandchildren Camille, Rosalie, Kenzie, Lynley, Jorie and Gemma.
Ivan became a teacher early on in his life, teaching at Elm Valley, Saskatchewan when he was 16 years old. He met Patricia while in Normal School where they both were in teacher training. Immediately after that, the two of them accepted an adventure in the form of teaching positions in Churchill, Manitoba, much to the chagrin of their parents, who wanted their children closer to home!
Ivan’s children remember their lives with Ivan as full of adventure. He was endlessly curious about the natural world, history, anthropology, archaeology, mathematics and anything that came into his attention. It was a regular occurrence for the family to go on Sunday drives in the country side, where Ivan would suddenly drive off the road into a pasture or summer fallow field and make his way to a crest of a hill where he would proclaim that it was a perfect spot for an ancient campsite. And sure enough the family would inevitably find arrow heads, hammer heads and various artifacts from people thousands of years before.
Ivan headed up NACTV, where he was passionate about creating original programs about local events and personalities. He loved the innovation and craft of the pioneers and didn’t want their wisdom to be lost, so he made programs about everything from bee keepers and fish farmers, to threshing gangs and woodworkers. He produced endless sports events and faith services for locals who couldn’t get out of the house to be there in person. He created a huge archive of video footage, including original footage of bears, moose, foxes, cranes, beaver, elk, and bison that his sons have catalogued.
Ivan was an avid member of the Rotary Club. He loved the principles and values of the group, and consistently found Rotary meetings to attend no matter where he was in the world. So much of his activity was connected to his work as a Rotarian.
The list of events and projects that Ivan and Pat led is hard to complete. As friend and collegue Dave Bennet remembers, Ivan’s north star was that, “If it is educationally desirable, it administratively feasible.” So administer they did: Margaret Lawrence House, the Railway Museum, 1976 Manitoba Summer Games (which created the track field and tennis courts still in use today), Lily Festival, and Elder Hostel tours for seniors, to name a few. Ivan especially liked creating the Longest Curling Rock Throw, for the Guinness Book of World Records (1989), which was held multiple years on Park Lake.
Ivan loved any large community event involving food and it was a common site to see him sweating over a spit with a whole pig, turning huge rack of chicken sides, or pouring pancakes for hundreds of people.
Ivan loved to travel. Family trips in the summer invariably involved studying the geology, history and culture of the parts of North America they would explore. In 1982, his son Robyn substituted for his classes in Ste. Rose so that he could spend a month in India as part of a Rural Development Conference. He loved getting up in the morning and wandering into the rural villages and drinking chai tea with the locals whose culture was so different from his own. He loved accompanying Patricia to Turkey and India as part of the International Inner Wheel leadership. As a couple, they travelled the Brazilian Amazon, did immunization work in the jungles of Belize, and took their mobile home all over North America.
The scale of Ivan’s influence is inspiring. But his real impact on his community could also be measured by the small interactions he had with individuals where his decisions, advice, and influence made a life-changing impact. Ivan was kind, insightful, never stuck for ideas, always said yes, never left anyone behind, got joy from serving others, and enriched everyone he had contact with.
May the hole he left in our lives remind us that we are a whole as a community, and that is how we will flourish together.
Watch Ivan's Funeral Service Here ~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuhkWYHW9cU
Neepawa District Palliative Care Service
Box 1240, Neepawa MB R0J 1H0