by Dale and Brenda Brigley
Orville James Brigley was born Feb. 28, 1931 near Lake Thelma, south of town and lived in the Coronation area his whole life. He loved Coronation and the people that lived there.
Orville took his schooling in Coronation and from there he started work with Sun Oil. In the years following he ran the lumber yard, spent time as a surveyor, and partnered in R.E. Brigley & Sons, with his dad Russel and brother Mervin.
Orville found his way back into the oilfield and worked several years with Paul Lemay. After he retired, he spent many days helping Richard Thornton or Aldis Chinnery, and he was Kathy’s right hand man at the café for 10 years.
Orville was extremely handy. In his grade 12 yearbook, Orville said that his ambition was to be a ‘Jack of All Trades’. He accomplished this. He was always helping family or friends.
Sometimes he would show up before we even knew we needed him, somehow-he knew. He enjoyed driving around and checking in on the different jobs going on around town, he was always willing to offer some advice.
Orville could fix just about anything, a washer, dryer, furnace, vehicle, plumbing, electrical; and he was especially good at carpentry.
When Brenda and I built our house, Orville, Morris Lamontagne and George Copan were our construction advisors. Every day they volunteered their expertise and know-how.
All three of them were celebrating their 70th birthday that year and Brenda and I were happy to say that we had 210 years of experience working on our house.
Orville never stopped building, just last summer, he built a small lean-to addition behind his house for his tools.
Orville volunteered many years with the Coronation Elks club and was honoured with the post of the exalted ruler.
His main interests were hockey, horse racing, rodeos and bull riding. Though you would also find him following other sports, like golf, curling, baseball, dancing, and anything else that his family or friends were involved in.
In the early 1960s he was the assistant captain of the Coronation Royals, before he moved into a management role on the team. He was Barry’s number one fan and couldn’t have been prouder when Barry was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Orville enjoyed the horse races and owned several horses over the years, with Arnold, Mervin, Paul, Austin Ward, and myself.
Orville followed the races across the province each year. He even ventured down to Phoenix, where his horse (Kathy’s Miss) won both her races, another proud Orville moment.
He and Mervin also had an interest in driving pony chariots. When in his 60s Orville raced one last time at the Coronation Rodeo, he placed second.
Orville and Barry travelled to many rodeo and bull riding events. They visited the Ponoka Stampede, Calgary Stampede, and Canadian Finals Rodeo numerous times.
One of Orville’s favourite trips was to Nampa, Idaho to the Built Ford Tough PBR event. It was Duane and Darin’s first trip to the PBR, state-side, where their bull Unabomber made his American debut.
Orville, Barry, Duane, Darin and I had a lot of laughs on that trip. And I mean A LOT of laughs, but as always, Orville was quite happy to return home.
There was something about that water tower.
Orville was quite a writer. He was always writing his name on things that were his. Or family member’s names on their belongings. He constantly carried a felt pen and would write things like ‘Keep Out’ or ‘Beware Of Dog’. He even labelled his moccasins ‘left’ and ‘right’.
Another tool he always had in his pocket was a small screwdriver, just in case he needed to fix or adjust something. And a jack knife, which he kept very sharp.
In fact, I forgot to mention that Orville was a rather good barber. He used his jack knife to trim the forelock on Darin’s horse. Kind of like the hair cuts he used to give Debbie and Cheryl….nice and short.
Speaking of horses, when Orville was 80, he was out at Darin and Lori’s watching Taylor with her barrel horse. She was cooling down her horse when he decided to hop on and go for a ride. She didn’t even have chance to tell him the saddle was loose before he was on and heading out of the yard. He had a great ride and when he got back he suggested that Taylor might want to tighten the saddle a bit more before she rode.
Orville thought the world of his family and loved them dearly, his kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, nieces and nephews.
He had lots to tell us about Megan and Blaine, Michelle and Alicia, Duane and Danny. And the stories grew as more of you were married and brought even more family into Orville’s life. He was so proud of you all!!
Another love Orville had was for his three dogs, Max, Audrey and Molly. He took them with him everywhere. We often saw Orv taking the dogs for a walk up the road past our house. They walked, he drove.
Orville’s wife, Pat, and his girls, Debbie and Cheryl, were known as the Shell sisters. They ran the café out on the highway for 12 years. He had endless stories he would tell about these ladies.
Orville lost Pat, the love of his life, 19 years ago. His entire family has walked along side him since then, comforting and loving him and keeping him busy. Cheryl moved in with Orville three years ago and he told his coffee buddies that since she moved in, he couldn’t find anything.
Cheryl had either put it away somewhere or threw it out.
When he built a shade structure in the backyard and Cheryl mentioned how she had kind -of-liked sitting in the sun. He pointed to the corner of the yard and said, ‘well then you go sit over there’.
Orville liked to tease his girls, but we all knew how much he really loved them. One of our favourite stories about Orville and Pat, involves a bowl of wooden fruit that sat in their kitchen. Pat would use the banana from the bowl to give Orville a peck on the head to remind him who was the boss.
Speaking of favourites, Orville loved listening to the radio or the record player. His favourite music was country, especially Charlie Pride. Orville’s favourite instruments were his harmonica and his own whistle.
Debbie was with Orville during his last dialysis treatment and he wanted her to sing Johnny Horton’s Battle of New Orleans with him. So, he and Debbie sang the whole song ‘In 1814 we took a little trip’.
Later, when the lab tech asked him his birthday he said it was on February 28, 1914. He still had that song in his head.
Orville’s favourite meal was bacon and eggs, those Shell sisters cooked up all sorts of eggs for him and then Kathy followed suit. And he loved to eat sweets, especially Werthers. His favourite sayings were, ‘Who-do-ya-call-em’ and ‘Take er to Guse’. His favourite stories to tell were about Debbie, Cheryl, Barry or any of the grandkids.
Orville was a favourite of anyone who knew him. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
Orville passed away peacefully in the Coronation Hospital on Feb. 20, 2018 at the age of 86.
He is survived by this three children, Debbie, Cheryl, Barry (Kathy); six grandchildren Duane (Darcey), Danny (Kirstee), Michelle (Dustin), Alicia (Raymond), Blaine (Kristy), Megan (Colten); and 14 great grandchildren.
He is also survived by one brother Mervin (Helen), one brother-in-law Larry, two sisters-in-law Sharon (Richard) and Dodie, many nieces and nephews and two very special fur friends, Max and Audrey.
He was predeceased by his wife Pat in 1999, his parents Russell and Edna, his brother Arnold and sister Aileen.
I’d like to end by reading a good-bye letter that was written for Orville.
Thank-you dad for all you did for us, for the love you showed us, for being there every time we needed you. For being so good to mom when she was sick. For the love you showed your grandkids, nieces, and nephews. You were the best Dad. We will dearly miss you. With all our love,
Debbie, Cheryl, and Barry
Cards of Thanks
The family of Orville Brigley would like to thank our family and friends for the kind expression of sympathy during our time of sorrow. Your thoughtfulness will always be gratefully remembered and deeply appreciated.
We would like to thank Dr. Noelle and staff of the Coronation Hospital for the great care and kindess you gave to our Dad. Also thanks to the Coronation Funeral Home for their service.
Debbie & Family
Cheryl & Family
Barry, Kathy & Family