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Bishop Gary Woolsey Has Gone to be with the Lord

October 19, 2013

Bishop Greg sent out this message earlier today about Bishop Gary Woolsey, whom we have been lifting up in special prayer for many months:

It is with deep sadness that I send this to inform you that our brother in Christ Bishop Gary Woolsey died last evening at 8:00pm.  He was surrounded by his family and passed away peacefully.

Bishop Gary’s funeral will be held this Tuesday, October 22nd, at 1:30pm at St. Peter’s in Calgary (903, 75th Avenue SW).  There will be a reception in St. Peter’s hall following. 

There will also be visitation and viewing times on Monday at the Park Memorial Chapel (5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary) from 2 to 4 pm and 7 to 9 pm.

Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord
And let light perpetual shine upon him.

The Peace of Christ be with you all.

We give thanks for the inspiring example of Bishop Gary’s life, and for Our Lord’s promise that as he was with our brother in his earthly journey, so he has now brought him safely home to the Father’s House, where he will abide, free from suffering and sorrow, for evermore. And we pray for Our Lord’s comfort for Marie and all the family.

Bishop Gary wrote a book entitled A Wing and a Prayer, which has the following description on the Silver Fox Publishing website:

Balancing wisdom from his 46 years of ministry with his obvious passion for motorcycle touring, Bishop Gary Woolsey weaves a common thread between the two. These 30 short meditations are geared to the biking enthusiast. We hope that they will bless and encourage you on your journey.

You can find out how to order the book by clicking here.

Bishop Gary loved riding his motorcycle. He was also an experienced pilot, and loved flying. Embedded below are two videos that pay tribute to these two loves.



[Here is the Obituary for Bishop Gary that is in today’s “Calgary Herald” and posted on the website for McInnis and Holloway:]

WOOLSEY, The Rt. Rev. Gary Frederick

B.A., B.Th., D.D.

March 16, 1942 – Brantford, ON
October 18, 2013 – Calgary, AB

Gary, beloved husband of Marie of Calgary, passed away on October 18, 2013 at the age of 71 years.

Born in Brantford, ON, March 16, 1942, Gary graduated in Theology from Huron College in London, ON, in 1967. As a Priest-pilot, based out of Kenora and Big Trout Lake ON, he ministered to twenty five remote native villages in northern Ontario and Manitoba; as Priest, he served in Norway House and Churchill, MB; and as the Bishop of Athabasca, based in Peace River, he oversaw twenty parishes in northern Alberta. Gary rounded out his 35 years of ministry as rector of St Peter’s Anglican Church in Calgary, AB. After his retirement in 2002, he continued to lead conferences and retreats as well as taking on the role of National Director of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer. For the past 11 years he has been attending St Martin’s Anglican Church in Calgary, as well as helping out wherever needed. During his eight months in Southwood Hospice, Gary completed two writing projects and saw them both published. ‘On a Wing and a Prayer’ is a book of motorcycle meditations, stemming from his great love of motorcycle touring. ‘Meditations From a Hospice Bed’ follows his own journey from brain surgery to disability in hospice care. Both draw on his 35 years of experience in ministry. Gary will be missed by his family and many friends at St Martin’s and St Peter’s Anglican Churches, in the Chinook Wings Motorcycle Club, and by many others whose lives he has touched.

Gary is survived by his wife and soul mate of 46 years, Marie (nee Tooker); children Todd (Terri) of Fairview, TN, Kathleen of Norway House, MB, Drew (Heather) of Calgary, AB, Tina of Kamloops, BC; grandchildren Shane, Leo, Chad, Peter, and Jordan Woolsey, Alyssa Craddock; great grandchildren Derrell, Skyla and Nyla; sister Diane Bray (Ron) of Brantford, ON; sisters-in-law Jane McCurdy of Dundas, ON, Rose Roach (Daryl) of Burlington, ON, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Those wishing to pay their respects may do so at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Park Memorial Chapel (5008 Elbow Drive S.W. Calgary, AB) on Monday, October 21, 2013 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and again in the evening from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

A Celebration of Life will be held at St. Peter’s Anglican Church (903 – 75th Avenue S.W.) on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. Condolences may be forwarded through Our thanks to the staff in the Neurology Units at the Foothills hospital, the Palliative Care Team at the Foothills and the entire staff at the Southwood Hospice, who made Gary’s stay comfortable and even enjoyable. We will be forever grateful.

In living memory of Rt. Rev. Gary Woolsey, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.


[This article about Bishop Gary was posted today in the electronic version of the “Anglican Journal”:]

Bishop Gary Woolsey: On a wing and a prayer

By Anglican Journal staff on October, 21 2013

(Gary Woolsey, retired bishop of Athabasca, riding his motorcycle
with his grandson Jordan. Photo: “The Sower”)

Gary Woolsey, retired bishop of the diocese of Athabasca, who took his ministry to remote communities by plane, and later by motorcycle, died on Oct. 18, 2013 at the age of 71 in Calgary.

Born in Brantford, Ont., Woolsey was ordained in 1967 after earning a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario and a bachelor’s degree in theology from Huron College in London, Ont. 

He became a pilot priest in the diocese of Keewatin, serving 25 remote aboriginal villages in northern Ontario and Manitoba. He was also the rector of St. Peter’s at Big Trout Lake, Ont.  In 1972, he and his wife, Marie, and their children moved to St. Mark’s, Norway House, Man.  Two of the four years he served there were as a non-stipendiary priest who taught school, after earning a teacher’s certificate from the University of Manitoba.

In 1976, he accepted a position as the rector of St. Paul’s parish in Churchill, Man. According to an article in the Calgary diocesan paper The Sower, written when Woolsey retired in 2002, “Life in Churchill proved to be a wonderful experience, living on the shore of the Hudson Bay, enjoying the seals, belugas, geese, [and] polar bears—even the one who visited their garage.”

In 1980, the family moved to Kenora, Ont. There, Woolsey was executive archdeacon and program officer for the diocese of Keewatin. He helped organize training schools for native priests, along with training lay ministers, both native and non-native.

He was elected bishop of the diocese of Athabasca in 1983 and moved to Peace River, Alta. Woolsey served on the national church executive (now Council of General Synod) and participated in the 1988 and 1998 Lambeth Conferences, meeting with bishops from around the Anglican Communion. He also attended Partners in Mission consultations in Kenya and the Sudan, according to The Sower.

But in 1991, he told the newspaper, he felt a call to return to parish ministry. He announced his retirement as bishop to serve as rector at St. Peter’s in Calgary until his retirement in 2002. 

In 2007, he was named national director of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer (AFP).

Woolsey had a passion for riding motorcycles, which he shared with Marie, who began riding with him and later got her own bike. Together, they criss-crossed Canada and the U.S. At St. Martin’s parish in Calgary, where Woolsey was a parishioner in recent years, he hosted an annual “Blessing of the Wheels” service. In the summer 2009 issue of the AFP newsletter he said, “It originally started as a Bikers Service, but then the children wanted to bring their bicycles, scooters, and tricycles. We have people with wheelchairs, sports cars, trucks, vans, and any ‘wheeled vehicle’ they want to bring. “ That year, his biking-themed sermon focused on sharing one’s gifts in a team and looking past the “potholes”of life. 

According to information from his family, Woolsey spent eight months in Calgary’s Southwood Hospice, following brain surgery. While there, he wrote On a Wing and a Prayer, a book of motorcycle meditations, and Meditations from a Hospice Bed. Both books draw on his experience of 35 years of ministry.

Gary is survived by his wife, Marie, and children: Todd (Terri) of Fairview, Tenn., Kathleen of Norway House, Man., Drew (Heather) of Calgary, Alta., and Tina of Kamloops, B.C.; as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at St. Peter’s in Calgary (903–75th Ave. S.W.) at 1:30 p.m. Archbishop Michael Peers will be the homilist; Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, will lead prayers; and Bishop Greg Kerr-Wilson of the diocese of Calgary will preside.


You can read a meditation Bishop Gary wrote on May 1 from his hospice bed about his ” time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:2) by clicking here.

From → All Posts, Music

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