Grant was the second son of Frank and Helen Kristoff and came into this world on February 6, 1950 in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, just minutes after his older twin brother Gord. Sadly, all three pre-decease him. Along with his twin Gord, he grew up with four other brothers and sisters; Pat, Greg, Terry and Collette.
The Twins exemplified the saying “double trouble” and by all reports were a handful, to say the least. They had their own language (“haw and doe” meant duck and water apparently) and Mom reportedly had to tether them to the table legs just to allow her time to do her chores. One time she forgot that the freshly baked bread was sitting on the counter nearby and returned to find the center of every loaf gone. As they grew they expanded their terror out in the farm. A spilled 45-gallon drum of oil in the wagon box and them sliding about having a blast. Grant thinking, he had killed Gordie when he threw a rock at a sheet hanging on the clothesline, as Gord stuck his head around the edge of the sheet and got it square between the eyes … out cold. Or the time they harnessed the steer to their little brother’s baby carriage and were astonished when the steer bolted and finally stopped in the garden several hundred yards away. Fortunately, all three survived, although the twins ended up the worst for wear in the end.
Grant survived a normal prairie childhood, excelling in sports; baseball in summer (where Grant was an excellent southpaw pitcher), hockey, curling and broomball in the winter. Being twins and opposite hands, Grant and Gord were always on the same line and their close bond made them a formidable duo in any sport. Growing up in the 60’s Grant’s youth can best be described with words such as Brylcream, Elvis haircuts, 57 Ford Mercurys, 53 Chevy trucks, girls, town dances, bush parties, and more double trouble throughout. For example, at a Christmas get together (over drinks) many years later they finally admitted to Dad that they had flipped the family 65 Ford one night. Working all night, they popped out all the dents and no one ever noticed. Thankfully, cars were built pretty solid back then.
Life changed for Grant shortly after finishing high school. On October 25, 1969, he married his sweetheart Beverley and they started their own family, with their first child Tricia being born the next year. In November 1970, they packed up their family into their 65 Valiant and headed off to north western Ontario to work in a newly developing mining venture. This was one of the bravest things Grant and Bev ever did, leaving their home town and families to start a new adventurous life. This was a landmark decision in that the prairie boy fell in love with the northern bush life and ultimately never left.
Bev and Grant spent the first winter and summer in a small one room cabin at Gold Pines just east of Ear Falls, Ontario, on Lac Seul. This worked well for Grant because his first job was a grader man in charge of maintaining the torturously winding 50 miles of newly constructed gravel road into South Bay Mines on Confederation Lake. Here Bev and Grant began to meet some of their new friends. Within the year they were finally able to move out to the new town site at South Bay where they made their home until the mine’s closure in 1981. The town site filled with numerous young families which all became lifelong friends. Once at South Bay, the company recognized that Grant had the ability to fix anything put before him. He soon became a certified heavy duty mechanic and spent his time keeping the large mining scoop trams operational. Grant also was a safety supervisor, bus driver, and ambulance driver for the operations, making frequent trips to Ear Falls and Red Lake.
Living in South Bay was a dream come true for Grant. It was situated on an island and if you wanted to do anything it meant being outdoors. Unbeknown to them at the time, life at South Bay set the tone for their 51 years of marriage. And at South Bay, their son Jamie was born which completed the young family.
Besides fishing, leisure time included weekly fastball games, family events such as picnics, curling as well as gym sports in the recreation centre, and in summer most activities centered around the water.
Grant could MacGyver anything (as his kids fondly reminisce). He got that nickname because no matter what, he would fix things with whatever was nearby. He just made things work again!!! Trish had four lawn mowers that didn’t work and within a few hours they all worked. She also remembers him using a central vac hose to reroute her sump pump when the regular pipe froze. Definitely MacGyver!!
When the mine shut down operations in 1981, Grant and Bev moved their family to the Red Lake Area where Grant worked in the gold mines. It was one of Grant’s lifelong dreams to own a fishing camp, and in the fall of 1993 they bought Poplar Point Resort. Grant was in his element. Things to fix and repair. When summer came dozens of fishermen showed up; new ones every week, with new fish stories to tell. Grant has been known to tell a few of his own and became a master at embellishment of the simplest story. No harm done. We loved him for it.
The camp was Grant’s life and usually you could find him down at the boathouse, tinkering and repairing motors while keeping clients entertained, or playing with Peaches and feeding Pete the pet jackfish. Most clients became returnees and Grant and Bev made many long time American friends.
Poplar Point also became a major family attraction as well. A Kristoff/Burghardt family reunion saw several dozen relatives descend on the camp for a week. Fishing, shore lunches, practical jokes (mostly on Grant and Bev) boating and plenty of fun. Elvis even made an appearance. Grant hired young nephews for several seasons and became a mentor to them. One memorable incident at the resort was when a number of family and friends surprised Grant and Bev on their 25th wedding anniversary. Displays of love and affection are not a strong family trait but completely out of character, Grant got down on one knee and proposed to Bev all over again with a diamond ring in his hand. This showed the depth of his feelings for the love of his life.
Grant retired in 2007 when they sold the camp and moved into Balmertown. In Grant’s case, retirement actually meant taking a more relaxed job. He became the handy man around a group of apartment/ hotel complexes and was in his glory. He could fix, repair, replace and remodel anything that came up and thoroughly enjoyed every day at work.
In his retirement years Grant also enjoyed watching curling. He and Bev travelled across Canada to many Briars and Olympic Trials, often meeting old friends from South Bay. He also loved playing cards and watching Blue Jay games on TV. One of his favorite trips was to Black Bear Casino where he enjoyed the slots.
Grant’s greatest joy in his life was spending time with his children Tricia (Pascal), Jamie (Nicole) and grandchildren Geoffrey, Richard, Michael, Mckenna and Callie. He would always be there for them no matter what. ALWAYS!
In his grandson Geoffrey’s words “he was a good grandfather to me, for he takes me fishing almost every day when I am with him”. Taking his grandchildren fishing was his greatest joy. He loved them dearly. He spoiled them with candy, movies and treats. He just loved to spend time with them.
So, who was Grant Kristoff? He was a kind and gentle man who spent his life working and living for his family and friends. He thought nothing of driving hours to assist a relative in need and did just that on many occasions. He was with both of his parents in their last days, comforting them and helping them on their journey. His little sister, Collette, described him as the brother most like our Dad. In our family, this is the greatest compliment. One Grant earned and would be proud to accept. We hope we captured the life of Grant Kristoff, and hopefully our words are able to trigger some fond memory or event which will bring a smile to your face, a chuckle, a tug on your heart or maybe just a nod of your head and you think, “yes, that was Grant!!”.
Grant, we will miss you but your job here is done…You did well, as evidenced by your loving family and friends. Your only task now is to watch over us all. Something else for you to do!
Make sure the minnow bucket is kept full. When we are all together again we will go fishing.
Donations in his memory may be made to Northern Cancer Fund or R.L.M.C.M. Hospital Foundation through the Red Lake Chapel, P.O. Box 237,Red Lake, ON P0V 2M0.
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February 06 1950 December 16 2020
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de Grant David Kristoff February 06 1950 December 16 2020..
Décès pour la Ville: Red Lake, Province: Ontario