George Baranec

February 26, 1935 – December 10, 2020
On December 10th, 2020 George Ron Baranec passed peacefully, in the presence of his loving wife and two of his three children. He was on that day, and as always, surrounded, embraced and lifted up by the love and admiration that so many of us had for him.
Born February 26, 1935 at a rural homestead in the R.M. of St. Andrew’s, Ontario, he was the “baby” of the family and the last of 6 siblings total. What little is really known about George’s childhood painted a picture of a family struggling with addiction, abuse, and neglect.
At the age of 14, on the heels of his own father’s sudden death, he decided to quit school and to work full time to provide for his mother and the rest of his family – a difficult decision that would forever haunt him.
George lived much of his life misunderstood, by others, as well as himself. Thankfully, in what he would describe as “the best thing to ever happen to him” he met and caught the eye of the woman that would come to be his One Love – Lorna Beechinor, at a dance hall on Whyte Ave in Edmonton, AB.
They happily wed on a snowy September day in 1968 – and thus began the partnership that was founded in unconditional love and understanding. George was privileged to love and to be loved by Lorna. Lorna was his caregiver, the wind in his sails, the navigator of life for him, and most of all – his light.
They shared a tenderness that not everyone may have seen, but for those that did – it was a gift.
George had an immense sense of pride for those that he loved. He would light up at the chance to describe one of his children or grandchildren’s latest successes, or of his wife Lorna’s stunning quilting or crafting masterpieces.
He is survived by his wife Lorna Baranec (Beechinor) of Bentley, AB, his daughters JoAnne Lloyd (Greg Lloyd) of Peachland, BC, and Tanya Gill (Peter Kellett) of Lethbridge Alberta, and his son, Jason Baranec, of Bentley/Lethbridge, AB.
He was gifted 6 grandchildren: Jordan Lloyd (Railey), Alyssa Orchard (David), Alexander Gill, Isaac Gill, Sophie Kellett and Christopher Kellett. He also had the immense pleasure of being a great grandfather to 3 ½ precious ones: Ethan, Addy, Dryden, and a baby to be born of Alyssa and David in the not-too distant future. He is also survived by Cash (aptly named after Johnny Cash) – his walking companion, guard dog, and personal assistant – always wanting to provide unconditional love being handed treats and at the same time being pushed lovingly away.
Although George wouldn’t be described as a “big man”, he was gargantuan in spirit. When presented with an audience and an opportunity to discuss something he was passionate about, he could definitely hold your ear and that blue-green sparkle in his eyes would almost always encourage a soft smile.
You may have found him discussing the classic car he rebuilt with his son, the lifting capacity and rigging for a 35-ton Grove mobile crane, the score of the latest Oilers game or which lure was working best at his cherished Gull Lake – all while effortlessly clearing the pool table ball after ball – much to his opponent’s dismay.
Not only was his spirit gargantuan in size – as were his hands. His hands were made of what could only be described as something out of this world.
They would be bruised, battered, table-sawed and generally beat up his whole life, but somehow could hold a tenderness. A softness that had to have been felt to truly understand. He also had a special place in his heart for children, always. As a man who may have sometimes felt like he wasn’t paid much mind, he had a soft spot for those who hadn’t yet found their voice.
Those of you who knew George knew he loved good old honky tonk music, Johnny Cash, and was always up to get moving on the dance floor or around a campfire! He loved his walks and bike rides to the corner with Cash, and an episode of wrAstling (that’s how he said it) whenever he could catch one.
He loved western movies and stories, and you can almost hear him doing his finger-gun “ka-POW!” as he then throws his hands into the air. He loved ice-fishing, tinkering in the garage, and sitting down to one of Lorna’s wholesome home cooked meals.
Despite being hard of hearing and generally soft-spoken, he was quick to make friends and be just as quick to dole out the wit whenever a chance would arise. George would relish any opportunity to greet a stranger with a smile and a bright “Hello!” He left lasting impressions with the shortest of exchanges. These moments, which were seemingly inconsequential to those around him, were the things that would kindle his spirit and light the fire within him.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for always making time to honour and cherish these small moments with George.
The family is eternally grateful for the care and compassion shown throughout the years by Dr. Keller, as well as recently, by the entire care team at the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre. In lieu of flowers, donations in his honour can be made to the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Because of this tragic pandemic, we can’t grieve in the way we all want to. We can’t come together over a honky-tonk dancing, Johnny Cash impersonating, pool playing, fire pit party – celebration of George’s life, yet. But we will. And it will feel so right. Until then, and forever and always, please crank up that Johnny Cash and remember him with us.
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