Gerald Allen Checkel was born December 5, 1953 at Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital in Castor, Alberta. He grew up on the family farm south of Fleet and took his schooling at Gus Wetter School in Castor.
During his youth he enjoyed gopher and goose hunting and cruising on his motor bike. Later he took up snowmobiling and joined the Castor Snowmobile Club, travelling with club members to many places in Alberta for provincial Jamborees, which he really enjoyed. He was well known for tearing up the streets and racing the old half-mile with his muscle cars.
After graduation he went to work in an apprenticeship program for Ray Marquart at Castor Autobody. After he got his license he continued to work with Ray and hone his craft. When Ray sold the business, Gerry managed it for the new owner for a number of years.
In 1977, tired of all the bondo and paint dust, Gerry put down his tools and paint gun and went trucking with his brother Don, hauling gravel and asphalt. They worked from Milk River in the south to Athabasca in the north and many places in between.
When his nomad life got tiring, Gerry went back to his roots, farming with his parents and eventually taking over the farm. He enjoyed the farm life and working with the cattle and the companionship of his dog.
In 1987 Gerry became a founding member of the Castor Trap Club and was a builder and supporter of the club throughout the years. He quickly became very proficient at the sport and began registering targets in 1988. He had 32,400 registered targets when illness forced him to quit. During this time he had many wins in western Canada, Montana and Washington.
His proudest moment was when he made the Alberta All Star Team. He never gave up his dream of being able to shoot again, attending Castor competitions to visit and always inquiring how did so and so do this weekend.
After a major stroke in 2006, he had to sell the farm and moved into Castor. In 2009 complete kidney failure changed his life again; after five and a half months in Red Deer Hospital he moved to Stettler to be near the dialysis unit. During this time he continued to live independently, drive himself to dialysis and became a very good cook, following a very strict diet. He passed away suddenly at his home in Stettler on March 16, 2014.
Funeral services will be held at the Castor Municipal Cemetery at 2 pm on Saturday, May 3, 2014, with a luncheon at J.C. Grill following the interment.
Memorial donations may be made to the Stettler Health Services Foundation, Dialysis Unit. Sympathies may be forwarded to the family by signing the guestbook at www.parkviewfuneralchapels.com
Parkview Funeral Chapels and Crematorium, 403-882-3141, entrusted with the care and funeral arrangements.