LOEWEN

RITSON-BENNETT Gregory Martin Ritson-Bennett was born in Plymouth, England on February 26, 1946. As an infant he and his family moved to Canada settling in Drumheller. When he was five, they moved to Edmonton where he graduated from Bonnydoon High School. Greg loved to learn. He spent 11 years studying at the University of Alberta achieving degrees in biochemistry, genetics, education, and dentistry. It was during this time that Greg became a member of Theta Chi Fraternity, a brotherhood from which he would develop many life long friendships. In 1972 Greg married the love of his life, Virginia Froehler. Upon graduating in 1977 he and his family moved to Innisfail where he set up his dental practice. For 31 years he did what he loved doing, dreading the day that Virginia would make him retire. Greg was very dedicated and proud of his children encouraging excellence in all of their endeavors. He was always very involved with their school and sporting activities. One of his most enjoyable activities involving his children was coaching the Dolphins swim team, always being the noticeable "big guy" on deck congratulating all the swim team as the came out of the water regardless of their placing. His children will always remember Greg as source of inspiration and a man who led by example. He loved to give whisker rubs, bear-hugs and the odd lick on the face. If he teased you, it was a sign of affection. He enjoyed cigars, a nice glass of port and hot tubs after a sail at the lake. He had high expectations for his children but nothing less than what he had for himself. One could not have asked for a better father. Greg was a very involved community man, receiving the Citizen of the Year award in 1991. As a Rotarian one of his most enjoyable activities was being the Rotary student exchange councilor. He and Virginia hosted many young people from many parts of the world. He had a strong bond with his fellow Rotarians, feeling privileged to lead the group in O'Canada at all the meetings. Greg was also a member of the Masonic Lodge and the Innisfail Legion, having spent several years in the Naval Reserve. He will be remembered by dental colleagues for his work in helping to organize and chair the Confidential Assistance Program for the Alberta Dental Association. He was awarded the Alberta Dental Association and College Distinguished Medal of Service in 2005. In March of this year at the Canadian Dental Convention, he was to be inducted into the International College of Dentists, dedicated to the recognition of outstanding professional achievement and meritorious service for the continued progress of the profession of dentistry for the benefit of all humankind. In Greg's mind his most meaningful contribution was the opportunity and privilege on four occasions to serve the poor mountain villagers in Guatemala. Because he felt so blessed in his life he was grateful that he and Virginia were able to give back to society in this way. Greg is survived by his loving wife, Virginia, his children, Noel (Kristen), Rebecca (Mike), Timothy (Emily), and Andrew, his treasured grandchildren, Ronin, William, Quinn, Roxanne, and Gregory, four brothers, Nick, Roland, Willie, and David, two sisters, Suzette and Kathy, and numerous brothers and sisters in-law, nieces, and nephews. Greg was predeceased by his mother and father, William and Marianne. Greg was a man of deep faith of whom many would say "walked the talk." On the morning of the accident as he walked to the boat he was whistling the hymn "Here I Am", the words of which are: Refrain: Here I am, standing right beside you. Here I am; do not be afraid. Here I am, waiting like a lover. I am here; here I am. Verse: Do not fear when the tempter calls you. Do not fear even though you fall. Do not fear, I have conquered evil. Do not fear, never be afraid. Verse: I am here in the face of every child. I am here in every warm embrace. I am here with tenderness and mercy. Here I am, I am here. Verse: I am here in the midst of every trial. I am here in the face of despair. I am here, when pardoning your brother. Here I am, I am here. (Here I Am – text by Tom Booth, music by Tom Booth, arranged by Tom Booth, Ed Bolduc and Karen Bolduc) A prayer service will be held at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Innisfail (4304 49th Ave.,) on Tuesday February 3rd, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. A funeral service will be held at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Red Deer (6 McMillan Avenue) on Wednesday February 4th, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. Interment at the Innisfail Cemetery with a luncheon to follow at the Innisfail Legion. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate Mission in Chicaman, Guatemala. (O.M.I. Chicaman, Guatemala Mission, 601 Taylor St. West Saskatoon, SK. S7M 0C9) Condolences to the family may be forwarded from www.mem.com. Arrangements entrusted to: METCALF FUNERAL CHAPEL, 4200 49th Ave., Innisfail, AB. Phone: 403-227-3123. Proudly serving our community for over 45 years.


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