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George Buhler

February 2, 1935 - July 5, 2021

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On Monday, July 5th, George Buhler went into the presence of his Lord. George was the sixth child of Jacob and Helena Buhler, immigrants from Russia, in a region that is now The Ukraine. He was born in a log house on the family farm his parents pioneered, located near Winnipegosis, a small town in the northern forests of Manitoba. He was raised in a loving, Christian family, and at the age of 18 accepted Jesus as his personal Saviour. He learned at an early age the value of hard work and honest living.

At the age of 20, George attended Winkler Bible Institute, where he met Linda Neufeld, the love of his life. They were married on June 29, 1957, after graduating from WBI with a certificate in Christian Education. They immediately moved west to Edmonton, finding work and establishing a home. In their first four years of marriage George and Linda moved back and forth between Edmonton and Winnipeg two times, seeking work and wanting to be close to family. Three sons – Delmar Clair, Dwayne Kurt, and Bevan George – were added to the family during their early years of marriage.

George was an avid outdoorsman, demonstrating a spirit of adventure. Once, on their honeymoon in Jasper, he was chased back into the safety of his VW Bug as he was trying to get a picture of a large Black Bear. He enjoyed hunting with his church friends, playing hockey in a recreational church league, and taking the family out into the wilderness for picnics, hikes, and camping. Linda was not fond of tenting, so in 1968 he purchased his first holiday trailer, and built another in 1969. This might explain his fascination with RVs and later travels to southern destinations in George and Linda’s retirement years.

In 1965 George began his career as a driver with the Edmonton Transit System. He worked in Edmonton for 14 years, receiving multiple safe driver awards. He was one of the original drivers trained as an operator for the Light Rail Transit system, built for the 1978 Commonwealth Games. It was George’s LRT training that contributed to the family’s move to BC in 1979.

What does a bus driver do when he takes his family on a vacation? Pack up the car and drive hundreds of miles to destinations like Colorado, Arizona, or California. As a family we saw the majority of the western United States, as well as contributed to a well-worn path to visit relatives in Manitoba.

The 1970s and 1980s were years of significant spiritual growth and service, serving in various capacities. At Buelah Alliance Church he served as a Sunday School bus driver, a boy’s club leader, usher, and on the deacon’s board. In Richmond Alliance Church George was involved as an usher, facilities coordinator, and served on the elder’s board.

George was a skilled craftsman and artist. His driftwood tables and clocks were sold at many stores in the Lower Mainland. He enjoyed photography and decorated the house with photos of the many places he and Linda visited. His pencil sketches, especially of prairie scenes, were displayed throughout their home.

The 1980s were years of significant growth. George and Linda’s home was often the location for College and Career Bible study, as Delmar and Dwayne were involved in the group from Richmond Alliance Church. Participation in this active and growing fellowship filled their lives with joy.  Linda finally “got her girls” in 1986 when Dwayne married Rhonda Hamm, and Bevan and Cheryl Peeler were married.

The 1980s were also years of personal loss and pain. George’s father, Jacob Buhler, passed away in 1981, and Linda’s parents both went to be with the Lord in 1986. In October of 1989 George suffered a work-related accident left him experiencing severe pain for many years. After several attempts of rehabilitation, he was placed on long-term disability from his work at BC Transit. This was also the year that George and Linda moved to South Surrey and began attending Peace Portal Alliance Church.

The transition from work-life to early retirement was greatly aided by the help of many strong friendships that were forged in the SWAT Fellowship Group at Peace Portal. George and Linda joined a group of SWATers, purchasing their first Motor Home in 1994.  Making the first of many treks to Arizona and California together. George and Linda served on the Care Committee of the SWAT group, giving practical help to those who needed a hand, a ride, or some form of practical support.

The 1990s were years of increase, as George and Linda’s four grandchildren were born. Sarah Nicole (1991) and Natasha Helena (1993) were born to Bevan and Cheryl, who were living in North Delta. Kayla Joy (1991) and Brett Daniel (1993) were born to Dwayne and Rhonda, who were serving as missionaries in Brazil. Trips to visit their family, whether to Brazil in 1992, or to Kentucky after Bevan and Cheryl moved in 1996, were always highlights for George and Linda.

The year 2000 came and went with little fanfare. Grandpa and Brett were unable to stay up and fell asleep on the couch, despite the rousing game of Mexican Train that was raging in the Dining Room. George’s mother, Helena Buhler, passed away at the age of 97, just a few days before the turn of the new century.

In 2005, Delmar, George and Linda’s son, went to be with the Lord following years of struggle with diabetes and kidney disease. He lived with Mom and Dad and was part of many of their travels.

George and Linda’s 50th wedding anniversary was celebrated in 2007, with the entire family gathered at Bevan & Cheryl’s Kentucky home. Another family gathering took place in 2017, celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary in South Surrey.

After 20 years of traveling in their motor homes, George hung up his keys in 2012. He and Linda “downsized” by moving into their condominium on King George Boulevard. They enjoyed their neighbourhood and proximity to the church. George especially enjoyed his Wednesday morning coffee group and lunch with his friends.

In 2015 George and Linda became Great Grandparents to Stephan Robert Good the third, affectionately known as Trip.  In 2018 Sarah and her husband Stephen welcomed their second child, Hazel Letty Good.  Also in 2015 George and Linda took one last trip, traveling with Dwayne, Rhonda, Kayla and Brett, on a seven-day Caribbean Cruise. During that trip we noticed that he was shuffling as he walked, slouched as he stood, and that his speech was often slurred. Upon returning his doctor gave the first diagnosis of a condition that would affect him until his last days: Lewy-Body Dementia, a form of Parkinson’s Disease. It was difficult, when at age 82, following his first heart attack, George turned the driving responsibilities over to Linda.

Lewy-Body Dementia is a progressive disease, and George’s condition led to his and Linda’s entry into Evergreen Heights in December 2019, an assisted living facility. Thankfully, this took place three months before the provincial health orders for Covid-19, and they were in a safe place, receiving increased health care and attention. However, in March 2021 he suffered a severe stroke and was moved to the extended care facility at Evergreen Terraces. He received excellent care in these two facilities, was improving gradually, but struggled with the forced separation that he experienced with Linda.  Linda visited George every day, at times twice a day. George knew his health was deteriorating and often ended their visit with the words of When the Roll is Called up Yonder: “When all of life is over, and all our work on earth is done, when the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.” He would say, “My work is done.” The Lord answered George’s prayer, when on Monday morning, July 5th, he suffered a “silent heart attack” and passed into God’s presence as he slept, passing the veil and going safely into the arms of Jesus.

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