Wherever Brian went, there was fun and laughter
Born: Feb. 6, 1946 in Ompah, Ont.
Died: On May 11, 2011 of leukemia
In May of this year, a much-loved and humble man passed away and left behind what he considered an insignificant life. How wrong he was! He greatly underestimated his own importance.
Brian Kelford was born on Feb. 6, 1946, in the village of Ompah. He was the husband of Betty Ann, father of daughters Wilda and Nicole, and grandfather of two much-loved grandsons. He was the youngest son of Bill and Helen Kelford and a sibling of seven. He knew every name of his many nieces and nephews and those of their children.
He was just an ordinary man: there will be no buildings named after him, no movies made about his life and no inventions accredited to him. What was remarkable about him was his philosophy of life. He had his priorities straight. They were in this order: Family, friends, country music and dancing, fishing and hunting. He believed that he had been put on this Earth to make others happy. Wherever Brian was, there was fun and laughter.
His sense of humour was notorious, his ability to dance legendary. On Sept. 19, 2009, he married Betty Ann at a wedding full of meaning, a fun-filled cowboy theme. Accordingly, all 90 guests arrived in jeans and cowboy hats. He created his bride’s wedding bouquet and all the centrepieces from wildflowers. Two hundred and 50 “cowboys” showed up for the reception. Although not wealthy, his life was perfect.
This happiness was short-lived, however. Ten months later, in July, Brian discovered that he had leukemia — a fast-acting variety that left him, he was told, only four to six weeks to live. His wife and family reacted as expected, with shock, disbelief, sorrow. Brian comforted everyone, and told them not to worry, he would beat this. The first batch of chemotherapy robbed him of his hair but not his sense of humour or his will to live. He prayed to be able to live until his anniversary. Six weeks later, he returned home and to the country dances he and his bride attended several times a week. He was thrilled to be home for his first anniversary.
In October 2010, he faced more chemotherapy without complaint. He called all the nurses “Doll” and reassured them when they knew the needles hurt. His wish was to go to the family Christmas party, where he could thank everyone. He got his wish and everyone thought perhaps he had done as he had promised — beaten the cancer. Just in case, he quietly organized his own funeral. It was to be simple and welcoming. How proud he would have been if he had known that 450 people would attend his wake and funeral.
Much to everyone’s dismay, in January of this year he returned to hospital for his third and final round of chemotherapy. This time, he was certain he could not keep his promise. He returned home once more but in April was admitted for his last stay. As his many friends and family stayed round the clock at the hospital, he welcomed and comforted each one.
Unbeknownst to Brian, he lived a life that should be an example to all. While many were rushing about getting “things,” Brian was calmly getting “things right.” He died in May. He will attend this year’s Christmas party in memory and he will be greatly missed. He was a much loved and humble man.