GORDON KNUTSON April 18, 1929 - May 9, 2023.
Born in the year of the Great Depression in Regina, Gordon's future might at first have seemed uncertain to his Norwegian and Swedish immigrant parents - but what proceeded was a charmed life. He excelled at three professions: hockey player, dentist and plastic surgeon, and was happily married to his high school sweetheart for 70 years, raising four children.
Despite considerable success at everything he turned his hand to, most notable about Gordon was his humility. He never bought a fancy car, indulged in vices, nor was he boastful. Gordon was quiet, loyal, attentive to his family and seemed happiest at home in Toronto, relaxing at the cottage or as a snowbird in Sarasota. Hockey was good to 'the Blond Blizzard.' He won the league scoring title while playing for the Regina Pats. He was the star centre of the Montreal Royals when they became the first team from Quebec to win the Memorial Cup. And at 19, he faced off against Jean Beliveau in the Quebec Senior Men's League All-Star game. Gordie Howe once told a family friend that 'Gordie Knutson was the best prospect ever turned out of Saskatchewan.' He surprised the Montreal Canadiens when he refused their offer of a two-way pro contract. By then, he'd moved on to his next goal: dentistry.
He practiced in Calgary and then moved to England with his bride, Marjorie Brown. There he supported himself by playing in the British Hockey League while studying oral surgery in London. He was the first Canadian to be awarded a Fellowship in Dental Surgery by the Royal College of Surgeons. With a new interest in surgery, Gordon decided to pursue medicine at McGill. He was a resident at the Montreal General Hospital, followed by residency at four Toronto teaching hospitals. Further studies took him to Chicago, training under hand surgery pioneer, Dr. Koch; to Buffalo, for head and neck surgery at Roswell Park; and to the world-renowned Burn Unit in East Grinstead, England.
His wife, Marjorie, was always supportive as Gordon spent a total of 16 years studying dentistry and medicine at eight hospitals before he set up his practice at the Toronto Western Hospital. Gord was happy to have an outgoing wife who arranged their social life and set up three homes for them to enjoy. They travelled the world, skied, sailed, played tennis and golf, entertained a wide array of close friends and family and led a harmonious married life.
Always an avid sports fan, Gordon loved to follow his favourite teams: the Blue Jays, Maple Leafs and Saskatchewan Roughriders. Gordon's adult children remark that they never heard their father say a cross word to his loving wife. He remains a model for all four kids. Gord leaves behind Marjorie; his children, Ingrid (Bruce), Andrea (Erik), Carl (Tina) and Eric (Philip); and five grandchildren, Greta, Holliday, William, Antonia and Gillian.
Special thanks to Kensington Hospice for their superb care in Gordon's final days. In lieu of flowers - we hope you can share a warm thought about Gord.