It is with heavy hearts but eternal gratitude for his long life we announce the passing of John Clifford (“Cliff”) Gallant, age 92.   He leaves behind his loving wife, Rita, with whom he enjoyed almost 70 years of marriage, his five children Mike (Gaylene), Glenn (Penny), Karen (George), Lee and Sheri (Larry); eight  grandchildren Amy (Ben), Kevin, Tyler (Raeanne), Travis (Katie), Anthony, Tim (Jenn), Derek and Daniel; as well as seven great-grandchildren Carter, Mercedez (deceased), Asiah, Riley, Ella, Claire and Benny.

In 1931 he was born “Up West” in Piusville, PEI where he lived and worked on a farm, growing up in a bygone era when the railroad still crossed the Island and stopped in town.   Cliff and his sister Marion (deceased) were raised by their father and grandmother after their mother passed away early in their life.   A deep devotion to the Catholic Church, a strong work ethic, and a wonderful sense of humour would be the three key traits that developed as a child.   Finding great joy in the simple things in life, Cliff loved to go fishing in his spare time, kid around and perhaps have a little nip in the parking lot during church dances.

He met the love of his life, Rita Marie Gallant (no direct relation), in the same one-room school house (aka the “University of Piusville”) but it would take a few years before they dated, moved separately to Toronto, then got married in 1953.   They first lived in an apartment near the CNE Dufferin Gates where they welcomed their first two sons, Mike and Glenn.   As the family grew they bought their first house on Castlefield Avenue where Karen and Lee added to the mischief.

Cliff worked hard for years doing piece-work at American Standard alongside many life-long friends who also came up from PEI.   With no sick benefits he recalled many times taking a stiff shot of rye to fend off a cold before heading in to work.

Finally, in 1967, the budding community of Aurora offered permanent roots when they purchased the bungalow they have called home ever since.   Two years later their daughter, Sheri, would round out the clan.

Cliff got a job closer to home where he worked for over 30 years as one of the many unsung night-shift heroes maintaining the North York Board of Education offices until his retirement.   Meanwhile Rita ran a cafeteria in a local factory during the day so that one parent was always home for the kids.   Their weekends together included many parties where friends danced to country music or live guitar and fiddle music.

They always maximized their resources to ensure their children were grounded in their same work ethic.    Summer vacations “back home” allowed the kids to connect to their “red dirt” roots and their extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.   Everyone learned early on that if you dug hard enough into a PEI friend’s family background they might just turn out to be a distant relative.

A long time Leafs and Jays fan, woe to anyone who under estimated his competitive edge.   Skilled at cribbage and any card game, especially euchre and canasta, his smile, mixed with a little ribbing of himself, his partner or competitor, combined with a small head bob to the left or right and the shuffling of his cards all hid the Card Shark!   The stakes could be match sticks or pennies or bragging rights, it didn’t matter; he was always up for a game.   The odd pull of a casino slot machine or playing the lottery wasn’t out of character for, as he said, “you never know.”

Rita and Cliff enjoyed decades of retirement together with winters spent in Myrtle Beach playing golf and walks on the beach, to summers at their cottage on Mill River, PEI.   Always, family was welcome to come down and join them.   Grandkids learned to dig for clams in the sand with a toilet plunger and fish in the brook to stock the freezer.   Many friends and relatives were the recipients of his skilled carpentry building Muskoka chairs, tables and his famous wishing wells and lighthouses.

The entire family is especially thankful to Rita’s sister Dianne and her husband Gerry who accompanied Cliff and Rita on their many overseas trips in the later years, including the Vatican, a riverboat cruise along the Rhine River, Portugal and a visit to the Great Wall of China.

Eventually age caught up and the trips had to stop.  But that didn’t stop Cliff’s sense of humour and humanity.   On his 90th birthday his family stacked the front yard with birthday wishes and fake fishes.  Many neighbours passed by that warm day wishing Cliff a happy birthday.  Cliff returned every one with a smile, a wave or a handshake.

Rita and Cliff were looking forward to celebrating their 70th anniversary this November.   Never one to complain Cliff took the ups and down of his health in stride.  All he wanted was to be with the love of his life, Rita, and to hold her hand as they smiled lovingly at each other.

Many years ago Rita and Cliff picked out a plot in the St. Anthony’s Church cemetery near O’leary so that when the time came they could return to their red clay beginnings and be together, amongst the family that passed before them.   Cliff will be buried there this fall where his spirit can wade into the brook, cast a line in search of another trout, and enjoy a warm sunny day.

In lieu of flowers the family asks for donations to either St. Anthony’s (PEI) Cemetery Fund or the Cancer Society in his memory.


27 Condolences
  • Macarena and Sean
    Posted on: Tuesday, September 5, 2023 Reply

    Our condolences to the family. Cliff will be greatly missed here in the neighborhood. Sending everyone our love.

  • George and Karen
    Posted on: Tuesday, September 5, 2023 Reply

    He was the greatest husband, dad, grandpa and great-grandpa we could have ever asked for. We all loved him so much and will miss him even more. Rest in peace dad!

    PS There’s nothing better than mom’s homemade strawberry jam on a homemade biscuit!!

    • Sheri Gallant
      Posted on: Friday, September 8, 2023 Reply

      Well said sis!!

  • George and Karen
    Posted on: Tuesday, September 5, 2023 Reply

    A fishing buddy!

  • George and Karen
    Posted on: Tuesday, September 5, 2023 Reply

    Always up for clam digging with the grandkids!

  • Blake Walters
    Posted on: Tuesday, September 5, 2023 Reply

    We knew Cliff through the stories shared by Sheri & Larry and the tremendous positive influence he had on their lives. We’re so sorry for your loss! Blake & Jill

  • Kim O'Connell
    Posted on: Wednesday, September 6, 2023 Reply

    What a beautiful tribute to Uncle Cliff. I always enjoyed spending time up at the cottage in Cascumpec. Mom and Dad would take the trailer up and we would set up outside the cottage. The weekend would be spent digging for clams and I can remember the experience of going out in the boat to catch eels. I was definitely not a fan once the eel was caught. Cliff was always great to us and you can tell him and Rita loved having family around. Gonna miss you! My thoughts are with Rita, Mike, Karen, Lee, Glenn and Sherri and family on your loss.

  • Anne Marie Murphy
    Posted on: Wednesday, September 6, 2023 Reply

    Rita, Mike and Gaylene
    You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Anne Marie and Mitch Murphy

  • Theresa Aylward
    Posted on: Thursday, September 7, 2023 Reply

    Rita and family
    Cliff was a great friend and we will miss him. We have many wonderful memories of our visits on PEI and in Myrtle Beach which included lots of card games and delicious desserts. Please accept our sincere condolences to you and your family. God Bless you
    Love Theresa and Austin Aylward

  • Barry Martin and Family
    Posted on: Thursday, September 7, 2023 Reply

    Aunt Rita and The Gallant Family, Our Deepest Condolences From Our Family to yours. Uncle Clifford was such a kind and wonderful gentleman. He will be sadly missed by all that knew him. My newly formed memories have him now enjoying a game of cribbage with my father.

  • Wayne Charles Martin
    Posted on: Thursday, September 7, 2023 Reply

    Now that’s funny. University of Piusville! Geez spell check doesn’t even recognize the word Piusville. Someone’s house now lol. I bet there is a good game of Cribbage going on now between these two. Wonder who is winning. Picture Barry had I’m uploading for him. Wayne.

    • Sheri Gallant
      Posted on: Friday, September 8, 2023 Reply

      Dad was always up for a dance…thanks for sharing the pic!!

  • Wayne Charles Martin
    Posted on: Thursday, September 7, 2023 Reply

    Another moment from the past. Barry had picture. Wayne.

  • Tedi & Edy
    Posted on: Thursday, September 7, 2023 Reply

    We loved your dad dearly and our hearts break a little with you at this time. His sense of joy and mischief was infectious and we loved seeing him laugh. What an amazing life he lived and the legacy he left behind is incredible. He’s on the next great adventure but will stay in our hearts and thoughts forever.

  • Sheri Gallant
    Posted on: Friday, September 8, 2023 Reply

    One of dads favourite things to do was to gather with friends and family. Once the guitar came out, with a wee bit of coaxing (the rye helped) dad would sing one of his favourite songs “Happy Birthday to me”. There are so many great memories and this is one of my favorites.

    I can see him with Aunt Marion, Uncle Jim and all the others that passed before him, having a get together with guitars, fiddles and even the spoons right now.

    Love ya dad!!

    • Karen Tsafaridis
      Posted on: Tuesday, September 12, 2023 Reply

      Dad’s rendition of Blue Eyes Crying I The Rain is my favourite memory!!

  • Mr and Mrs elmer pineau and family
    Posted on: Friday, September 8, 2023 Reply

    “Our family is keeping your family in our thoughts and prayers.” My heart goes out to each of you. The lessons your dad taught you, the love he gave, the way he cared for people…all those good things live on in all of you.

  • WILLIAM CAMPBELL and Gertrude Campbell Campbell
    Posted on: Friday, September 8, 2023 Reply

    We are so sorry for your loss. We will see you when you come home.
    Clifford always seemed so happy. He was quite a tease. Mel and I had some good card games with Rita and Clifford. I know he will be missed. Our Love and condolences go out to you Rita and your family.
    With Love Gertie and Bill Campbell

  • Joanne and Vivian gallant
    Posted on: Sunday, September 10, 2023 Reply

    So very sorry to hear of uncle Clifford’s passing ❤️

  • Wendy galla
    Posted on: Monday, September 11, 2023 Reply

    Dear Aunt Rita and family. So very sorry to hear of the passing of Uncle Clifford. As has been said many times over, he was an amazing man: gentle, kind and funny. Dad absolutely loved him like a brother. They were two peas in a pod together. Aunt Rita was mom’s closest friend and uncle Clifford was dad’s. It meant so much to them and to us that the two of you were with each of them before they passed. I know dad will be giddy to see him again. My thoughts and love go out to you all.

  • Glenna L Gallant
    Posted on: Monday, September 11, 2023 Reply

    I always went to the St. Anthony’s picnic every summer. Clifford and Rita were the first ones I’d look for. Deepest condolences to all of Cliff’s family and especially, to my dear aunt Rita.

  • Tim Tsafaridis
    Posted on: Monday, September 11, 2023 Reply

    Grandpa was such a special person. He helped me develop my love of seafood, especially clams and mussels! I will always cherish the times we spent together, especially in PEI where he taught me to fish for clams with a plunger and a bucket. Those memories are something I will always hold dear. Love you Grandpa

  • Linda (Gallant) Potts
    Posted on: Monday, September 11, 2023 Reply

    The world has lost a very special man. I literally have no words to properly describe Uncle Clifford except to say that he was our father’s very best friend, the epitome of good humour, gentleness, goodness and grace. I don’t ever recall seeing him with anything but a smile on his face. Together with his lovely wife Aunt Rita, who was our mother’s best friend, they were a bright light in our family, there at the happiest and sometimes the saddest of times. I will forever be grateful for the comfort they provided to our family during our parents’ last days. Such kindness is rare.

    My deepest condolences go out to our Aunt Rita, who has matched Uncle Clifford’s zest for life every step of the way, and to his many children and grandchildren. They were blessed, as were we.

    This picture, taken at Uncle Clifford and Aunt Rita’s family reunion in 2017, capture their spirits perfectly.
    I regret that we didn’t get to see him often in these later years, but somehow there was always comfort in knowing he was still among us, that there would still be opportunities to see him. He will be missed.

    In sincere sympathy,

    Stephen and Linda (Gallant) Potts

  • Lisa Gold
    Posted on: Thursday, September 14, 2023 Reply

    Our deepest condolences on the passing of Cliff. He was truly one of a kind!!

    I have such fond memories of the Gallant family as my childhood neighbours and especially the summer trips when I accompanied Sherry to the cottage in PEI.


    Lisa and Doug Gold

    • Sheri Gallant
      Posted on: Thursday, September 14, 2023 Reply

      Thanks Lisa, hard to forget that 3 wheeler mishap and then going to a wedding all banged up….I’m a much better driver now 😀

      • Karen Tsafaridis
        Posted on: Saturday, September 16, 2023 Reply

        That’s what she says…..😉

  • Linda Costain , Joey Jimmy s daughter!
    Posted on: Saturday, October 7, 2023 Reply

    We lived next door to his family in Piusville ! Think there was a. family connection,not sure how? My Sympathies to each one of your. Families!

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