Cover photo for W.  Michael Vardy's Obituary
W.  Michael Vardy Profile Photo

W. Michael Vardy

November 28, 1926 — April 3, 2019

Michael Vardy
Born at Pontefract, Yorkshire, UK
November 28, 1926
Passed away at Bracebridge, Ontario
April 3, 2019

Beloved father of Sharon (Steve) Bacon & Jon (Lois) Vardy. Loving grandfather of Andrew (Karoline), Jessica (Jesse), James (Lorelei), Heatheranne & Joshua. Proud great-grandfather to Grace, Avaleigh and Lillian. Predeceased by his former wife Penelope Vardy (nee Batcheler) and his sisters Pamela and Lynette. Fondly remembered by Elisabeth, his long-time partner and dearest friend, his brother David, several brothers and sisters in law, Jenny, and numerous nieces and nephews.


Michael "Gran'pa" Vardy passed away peacefully on April 3, 2019, at The Pines LTC, Bracebridge, following a stroke on March 29. He was surrounded by several family members and much love.

Born November 28, 1926 in Yorkshire, England, William Michael Shakespeare Vardy was second of four children (Pamela, Michael, David and Lynette), born to William and Lucia. As a boy he attended St. Olive's Boarding School and Ripon Grammar School. During the war, 1944-45 he worked for A. V. Roe & Co., in Yeadon, assembling Lancaster Bombers. 1945-48 he served in the British Army with the Royal Engineers, completing training to become a sapper. That probably explains why his three grandsons have a fascination with fire, guns and explosives. In his spare time he tinkered with cars, and even built one from scrounged parts. It was not any particular model, but it worked. He taught himself to play the piano by ear, and could play a mean streak of Boogie Woogie.

After the war, 1948-51, Michael taught Latin and English at Grosvenor House School in Harrogate. 1951-62 he represented the British motor industry in the Middle East, and East and Central Africa as their overseas representative. During this time he travelled to Italy to study Italian at the University of Peruggia for several months. There he met Penelope Batcheler, also a student of Italian, and in September 1957 they were married and moved to Woking in Surrey, where Sharon and Jonathan were born (1959 and 1960 respectively).

In 1962 the Vardy family followed other family members to Canada, settling in Toronto. After serving as Export Manager for a Canadian manufacturer, he joined The Canadian Manufacturers Association, and over the next 20 years Michael held several management and directorship positions. In this context, he liaised with various levels of Canadian government, manufacturers, and overseas interests, travelling extensively to Europe, and various countries in the Pacific basin.

In 1973 the Vardy's purchased a hobby farm near Peterborough, ON which, despite its "rustic" charm, became a favourite place for extended family gatherings. During the following 12 years, Michael kept bees, rabbits and chickens and became a fixture at the local farmers market. During the economic downturn of the early 1980's, Michael's position was made redundant and in 1982 he retired from CMA. Over the next few years, efforts to make the farm profitable were not successful, and it was sold in 1987, the same year that his marriage dissolved. Michael moved to Peterborough and enrolled at Trent University where he studied History and Political Science. His graduation with a BA in the early 1990's marked the fulfilment of a lifelong dream.

In 1992 Michael moved to Muskoka where his daughter Sharon and her family lived. They purchased a home together, renovated it, and lived under the same roof for eight wonderful years. During these years the Bacon family expanded to five children, who were homeschooled. Gran'pa's teaching skills came in handy during this time, as he tutored the "Bacon Bits" in Latin, Math and English. He also taught the children to ride their bikes, collect stamps, dance the waltz and love nature. They were memorable years.

In 1997 Michael began volunteering at the Muskoka Literacy Council, and this is where he met his dear friend Elisabeth. From 2002 until 2016 they shared a home together, first Elisabeth's home, and then other residences which offered increased levels of support. Elisabeth supported Michael through many health concerns including a stroke in 2004 which impaired his vision. During these years they attended Trinity United Church in Huntsville. In 2016, dementia and other health issues necessitated an increased level of care, but despite having to live in separate homes and communities from 2016 onward, Elisabeth remained his closest friend and support.

In 2017 Michael moved to The Pines long term care home, his last earthly home. He quickly endeared himself to all those who cared for him, with his ready smile and easy-going nature.

Throughout his life, Michael has been known as one of the kindest, gentlest, most loving souls ever to live. He loved to give and receive hugs, and when people were with him, they always felt loved and special. Michael had a cheerful disposition, a great sense of humour, and could do a wonderful Yorkshire recitation of "Albert and the Lion". He loved to walk and ride his bicycle, and that is one of the reasons he got to know so many people in the Muskoka communities in which he lived.

Michael is dearly missed by his family and friends. He was so proud of his five grandchildren, and loved holding his three beautiful great-granddaughters born in 2018. They will come to know their great-grandfather through stories that will be told. Michael leaves behind a legacy of kindness, goodness and gentleness to all people.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Michael's honour can be made to The Pines Long-Term Care Home or The Alzheimer Society.

Service Details.


When: Saturday, April 27th, 2019 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Location: Billingsley Funeral Home
Address: 430 Ravenscliffe Road HUNTSVILLE, ON


When: Saturday, April 27th, 2019 2:00pm
Location: Billingsley Funeral Home
Address: 430 Ravenscliffe Road HUNTSVILLE, ON


Location: Billingsley Funeral Home
Address: 430 Ravenscliffe Road HUNTSVILLE, ON

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