Wher­ever Brian went, there was fun and laugh­ter

Ottawa Citizen - - OBITUARIES - Shirley Kelford, sis­ter-in-law and friend To make a sub­mis­sion, please go to ot­tawac­i­t­i­zen.com/lifesto­ryfaq


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.

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