Brenda Lee Gilham
March 4, 1949 - November 27, 2020
It is with profound sadness that the family of Brenda Lee Gilham, age 71, announce her unexpected passing on November 27, 2020.
Brenda was born on March 4, 1949 in Thunder Bay, Ontario to parents Harry and Isabelle Gold. Along with her brothers John Gary and Greg, they had a wonderful childhood growing up on Mary St. in Fort William. Brenda attended Francis St. Elementary School, Kingsway, FWCI and Confederation College. Growing up in Fort William, Brenda’s neighbourhood became an extended family over the years and many lifelong friendships were forged during this time, including Brenda meeting her lifelong best friend of 69 years, Joanne Kembel. These two have been nearly inseparable for their entire lives and it is a friendship that has truly lasted a lifetime.
A monumental aspect of Brenda’s life was figure skating. From the early age of 5, she embarked on a successful career that led to competition, coaching, and judging. She also developed close relationships with the skaters, students and parents, which were of utmost importance to Brenda. She received gold medals in figures, free skate and dance with Skate Canada, competing regionally and sectionally. She was also a coach for many years in both Thunder Bay and North Bay, as well as a competition judge throughout the region. Brenda dedicated a major portion of her life to the sport she loved and more importantly cherished the many lifelong relationships that were formed as a result.
In her professional life, Brenda worked at McEachern Marketing, Children’s Aid Society of Thunder Bay, The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra and The Thunder Bay Art Gallery. She volunteered many hours in support of local organizations and was a member of Beta Sigma Phi since 1973. She also recently held a position as a board member for Castlegreen Housing Co-Operative. Her enthusiasm and commitment was evident in any endeavour she embraced.
Brenda married the love of her life, Buddy Gilham, in 1977 and together they raised three wonderful sons: Tom, Jamie and JJ. They loved spending time together as a family and have so many wonderful memories of camping, road trips, sports and family gatherings. This meant the world to Brenda and she worked tirelessly to keep that family connection strong throughout her lifetime. Brenda loved cooking, especially family dinners, and her baking was the highlight of every meal and enjoyed by all. She also took great pride in her garden and always maintained a beautiful yard throughout the seasons.
Of all the titles Brenda held - wife, mother, sister, aunt, cousin, neighbour, friend - the one she held with the most pride was that of “Nana”. She was an incredible Nana to her four darling grandchildren: Isabella, Giuliana, Jack and Lucas. Babysitting and spending time with these four was the highlight of her days and her favourite subject of conversation in recent times. Although her time with her grandchildren was cut short, she provided a lifetime of love and memories that will continue to guide them going forward.
Brenda is survived by her loving husband of 43 years, Gerald “Buddy”, her children Thomas (Stephanie Nigro), Jamie, and Jonathon (Patricia Del Paggio), and her grandchildren Isabella, Giuliana, Jack and Lucas. She is also survived by brother Greg Gold, sister-in-law Maggie Jameus, best friends Joanne Kembel and Rita LeGarde, as well as numerous dear friends, nieces, nephews and cousins. Brenda is predeceased by her parents, Harry and Isabelle, and brother John Gary Gold.
Due to restrictions, a celebration of life will be held at a later date. The family wishes to thank everyone for their ongoing love and support during this difficult time. As Brenda was a lifelong lover of the arts, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. Please visit https://theag.ca/donate/ or contact the gallery at (807)577-6427.