C. Robert Gladding

THE DEPARTED: C. Robert Gladding Sr.
(Former Gazette Editor Passes)

It is with great sadness that we must report the passing of the Tavistock Gazette’s tenth editor and publisher, C. Robert Gladding Sr., on March 6, 2012.

Although he wasn't born and raised in Tavistock, Mr. Gladding had those small-town values and a work ethic that made him a great asset to the community for nearly sixty years.

He was a valued member of the Tavistock Men’s Club, serving as president in 1960, and secretary of the club for many years. He also helped coordinate deliveries for the club's annual Sauerkraut Supper until recently. Mr. Gladding was a member of the Tavistock Public School Board prior to amalgamation and chairman in 1966 when the new Tavistock Public School was built. He was also a member of the Oxford County Liaison Committee. He was a member of the Tavistock Citizen's Band and later the New Hamburg Concert Band. He was also committed to energy conservation as an early member of the Perth Energy Society and installed solar panels on his home long before they became popular.

As well as building model airplanes, he loved to build and renovate homes. He helped his sons build four new homes and was knowledgeable in all kinds of construction - framing, electrical, mechanical and plumbing. He always loved driving motorcycles, caring for his yard and his pear and apple trees, cutting grass, and snow blowing for his neighbours.

Mr. Gladding came to Tavistock in 1952 with his wife, Doris, and their young son, Bob Jr., renting accommodation at the former John Lemp House, 218 Woodstock Street North. Second son, Bill, was born in 1953, while the couple lived there. They later built a home at 201 William Street South and sons Edward (Ted) 1961 and Bryn 1966 were born while the family lived there. A new home was built across the road at 210 William Street South in 1969.

That same year, March of 1969, Bob joined the staff of the Tavistock Gazette under Hart Brown. Bob and his wife purchased the business on July 1, 1969. They sold to their son, Bill, and daughter-in-law, Sheri, on March 4, 1988. He continued to serve as the company’s pressman until 1990, retiring for five years, then taking up the position until retiring again in March of 2010. Earlier in his career he was a member of the London Club of Printing House Craftsmen.

In October of 2005, Mr. Gladding was featured in the Canadian Community Newspaper’s "The Publisher" newspaper as Canada’s oldest pressman, then age 81. He was quoted as saying, "The only time my hands are clean is when we take two weeks of holidays in the summer." In the Monday, June 6, 2006 edition of the Toronto Star, Life section, Mr. Gladding was featured in a story entitled, “Ink in their veins” by Bill Taylor. In that story Mr. Gladding was quoted as saying, "I was supposed to retire when I hit 65. But I was busy that day."

Mr. Gladding was born in Stratford on September 25, 1924, a birthdate he shares with his great granddaughter, Clara Gladding of Wellesley. He attended public school in Lakeview, outside of Toronto, when his family moved there, but returned to Stratford some years later where he attended Central Collegiate Institute. Bob was a Stratford Beacon Herald carrier in his youth and bought his first bicycle with the money he earned.

He later worked at the Beacon Herald where he was a printer's apprentice and earned his journeyman’s papers. He worked briefly for Spitzer and Mills advertising agency in Toronto. Other early jobs included working at The Jumbo Ice Cream Parlour, Anderson’s Meat Market, and for "Windy" Wyndham, an electrical contractor from Sebringville. He also drove his beloved motorcycles and spent a summer building homes in Trail, British Columbia. Returning to Stratford in 1949, Bob joined the fine printing division of the Beacon Herald and drove taxi cab for extra cash.

He answered the country's call and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942, training in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Virden, Manitoba. He attained the rank of sergeant and was honourably discharged at the end of the war in 1945. He first joined the Stratford Legion in 1945, then transferred to Tavistock Branch 518 in 1953. He received his 65-year pin in December of 2011, at his home. Although he held no office within the Legion, he was always ready to help, and was instrumental in renovating the Legion clubroom after it was flooded. He also coordinated the placement of the WWI mortar to a place of honour at the Legion Hall from Queen’s Park in 2009.

As a youth, Bob enjoyed flying model airplanes. It gave him a real sense of accomplishment to be able to build something that could fly. He continued with his hobby of radio-controlled model airplanes in later years, joining the Flying Dutchmen Club in Kitchener, and later as a charter member and flying instructor with the New Hamburg and Stratford clubs. "Bob taught me how to fly," said many of the current members of the local clubs.

He married Doris Taylor on October 1, 1949 and moved to Wingham in 1950 where he worked at the Wingham Advance-Times newspaper. In May of 1952, they moved back to Stratford where he became a salesman for Odberts Wholesale and Tobacco Products. In 1954, he joined International Artcrafts, famous for printing wedding invitations, and became their plant manager in the summer of 1966.

Mr. Gladding is survived by his wife, Doris; four sons - Bob Gladding and Muriel Percy of Stratford, Bill and Sheri Gladding of Tavistock, Ed and Debbie Gladding of Newmarket, and Bryn and Terry Gladding of Haysville; six grandchildren - Luke Gladding and his wife, Deanne, of Wellesley; Lesli and husband, Adam Spylo of Kitchener, Codie Gladding of Newmarket, Brittany Douglas and husband, Brandon, of Barrie, Leif and Evyn Gladding of Haysville, and three great grandchildren - Clara Gladding, Jacob Gladding and Landen Douglas. He is also survived by several step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren.

Also surviving are his sister Shirley Uniac of Stratford and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Louisa Evans of Stratford, William and Isabel Taylor of Cambridge, Jack and Marion Taylor of Stratford, Connie Taylor of Guelph, and many nieces and nephews and their families.

Besides his parents, he was predeceased by his brother and sister-in-law Walter and Florence Gladding, sisters and brothers-in-law Cynthia and Bruce Taylor, Dorothy and Jim Heysel, and brothers-in-law Jim Uniac, Jack Evans and Harry Taylor.

Relatives and friends called at the Heinbuck Funeral Home, Stratford on Thursday, March 8, 2012. A memorial service was held Thursday by members of the Tavistock Legion Memorial Branch 518. A private family committal service was held in Avondale Cemetery, Stratford, on Saturday, March 10, 2012.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the New Hamburg Concert Band, Tavistock Legion, or the Stratford Flying Club through the funeral home. www.heinbuck.com

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