Obituary of Gerald Garth Solway
SOLWAY, Gerald “Garth”
October 8, 1966 – Drumheller, Alberta
March 3, 2023 - Calgary, Alberta
Gerald “Garth” Solway was called home to the Creator on Friday, March 3, 2023 in Calgary, AB.
Garth was born on a beautiful fall day in October of 1966 in Drumheller, AB. Garth was a blessing bestowed upon his mother Geraldine who showered her baby boy with love from that day forward. Garth adored his mom, they shared unconditional love and an unbreakable bond throughout life. Garth was born into a long line of leaders as he was the first grandchild of Chief Adam & Rosie Solway where he became a Kipi’taipoka (grandparents child). He was the big brother and protector to all his younger siblings, including his Solway/Breaker first cousins, who he took as his brothers and sisters as well. He also embraced being the baby boy of his older siblings (Aunts/Uncles). In his younger years, Garth grew up on the Solway family ranch farming, raising cattle and horses. Garth looked forward to the annual round-up, family branding, haying and mending fences. His (dad) Grandpa Adam instilled hard work and a great work ethic in all his children which resulted in the family carrying on the ranching tradition to the present day. He also practiced the traditional ceremonies with his grandparents and was very knowledgeable in land-based resources from Mother Earth. Garth respected Universal law as he grew up connected to the land. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and snacking on choke cherries down by Crowfoot Creek.
Garth was a humble, outgoing person known for his sense of humor, mischievous smile, and practical jokes. He loved all genres of music, especially heavy metal (Iron Maiden). He was raised in Siksika & in Kainai (Bullhorn), and he loved hanging out with his many friends and family. Garth attended Bassano, Cardston Elementary and Drumheller High School. He was a natural athlete who competed in softball, rodeo, football, skiing, basketball, paintball & played rec hockey with the Siksika Gators. In his teen years, during the summer he enjoyed riding his bike to the nearby community of Washington and Bullhorn to play ground hockey, football and end the day rafting. In the Winter, he could be found playing pond hockey for hours on end. He also participated in the Native Winter Games near Pincher Creek, AB with the Siksika ski team. Garth excelled in all sports while attending Drumheller High School where he was most notably an outstanding player for the basketball team.
He also competed in the Indian Rodeo Cowboys Association as a steer rider with his dad Wilfred proudly assisting him in the chute. He enjoyed traveling around Western Canada and Montana to rodeos with his mom, dad, and sisters. Rodeo was a family affair, his mom Geraldine sewed the family’s rodeo shirts and Garth, his dad, and his sisters competed. Recently, he was especially proud of his sisters, nieces and nephews who competed at the INFR in Las Vegas, NV. He was their biggest supporter. He had dreams of providing them with roan horses and would also provide support each year they qualified. His great nephews/nieces were his grandchildren, they loved him very much and he also loved all of them.
Garth had worked on the pipeline for years, and also as an IT assistant with Siksika Nation. He met his best friend & the love of his life Karen while attending Drumheller High School. Thereafter, they welcomed a beautiful baby boy named Jarrett then celebrated their marriage a few years later. Garth loved watching Jarrett play hockey and working with the horses on the Chuckwagon trail while teaching his son everything he knew about horsemanship. Garth and Jarrett spent their time watching the NHL on TV and Jarrett loved playing video games for hours with his dad. Garth was asked one day “what is your greatest achievement” and he proudly replied “my son Jarrett.”
Garth’s Uncle Andrew (Curly) Solway had a dream to race in the World Professional Chuckwagon Association and the dream soon became a reality. The entire Solway family headed down the Chuckwagon racing trail where you could find Garth working around the camp from sun up to sun down ensuring the horses were well taken care of and ready to compete. He was responsible for hitching up the team of horses and guiding them to and from the track. He loved the “Chucks” life and looked forward to the fast-paced racing environment. He would proudly take the reins, tip his hat and wave to the crowd at the end of the race. Curly had been mentoring Garth to take over the Chuckwagon outfit in the future.
His mother shared short poems with all her children, she shared this one with Garth that he loved and read it this way: “What if I fall” asked the son? (mother) Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” – by Erin Hanson and Winne the Pooh. She explained to him. “We need to spread our wings to fly in life even though we all have fears of falling from time to time. Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone and live life with no regrets, Iiyiikakimaat” and Garth did just that!
Garth leaves behind his pride and joy, his son Jarrett; his dad Wilfred Soop, sisters, Suzanne Soop and Shannon (Joe) YOW; his baby sisters, Kleora ‘Cory’ Soop and Twyla Solway; nephews; Cole (Ella), Adam, Lane, and Joshua; nieces, Cheyenne (Calem), Ashleigh, and Avery; grandchildren, Abel, Romy, Scotland, Ezekiel, Kyle, and Asilas, godfather to Avery Brooke ManyBears; last but not least his dog; Oni Solway.
He is also survived by his siblings (Aunts/Uncles); Margaret Good Eagle, Rosemarie (Darrell), Adrain (Cheryl), Frank (Vivian), Marlene, Alvin, and Steven (Elenor); sisters-in-law, Anabelle Solway and Georgina Solway; great-aunt Veronica Old Woman, traditional siblings, Gordo (Rita) Horn, Ivan (Donna) Many Bears, and Jack (Koby) Royal; traditional adopted mother, Verna Mcdougall. Extended family, Medicine Shields, Hind Bulls, Scotts, Holloways, Salois (Montana, USA), Solway and Swan family from Cold Lake (Kainai); the Fox family, Manyfingers, and Soop family.
He was predeceased by his loving mother Geraldine Soop, parents (grandparents), Adam and Rosie Solway; uncles, Melvin ‘Sonny’ Solway and Andrew ‘Curly’ Solway; aunts, Gloria McMaster, Lily Solway, Ramona Low Horn, and Angelina Running Rabbit; wife Karen Wright Solway, sister Karilynn (Tweety) Soop.
Survived by siblings, Leanna TS, Delford TS (Nikki), Rayvon RC, Ginger M (Ellie R) and Sean C (Lori); nieces; Allyssa, Cara (Cassius), Hennessy, Courtney (DJ), Tamaya, Aryana, Darian (Tyreece), Sophie, Jessica (Kyle), and Antaya; nephews, Adolphus, Stanley (Felica), Elijah, Cree, Nicholas, Chandler, Jeremy, Buddy and Cameron. Survived by his Siksika Nioska’toosi family; the Eagle Rib and Heavy Shield clans (Good Eagle, Black Rider, Bad Boy, Waterchief, Wright and Hairy Bull). He was also predeceased by his father; Henry Three Suns.
Garth will be missed by all who knew him. The family appreciates the prayers/condolences/contributions and would like to extend our thanks to the Peter Lougheed staff in Unit 58 in Calgary, AB.
Wake services will be held at the Gordon Yellowfly Memorial Arbour (Siksika Nation) on Thursday, March 9, 2023, at 6:00 p.m.
Funeral Services will be held at Holy Trinity Catholic Church (Cluny, Alberta) on Friday, March 10, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. Burial service to follow at the Crowfoot Creek Cemetery, Siksika Nation. Feast to follow at the Gordon Yellowfly Memorial Arbour.
In living memory of Gerald Solway, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road SE, Calgary, Ab t2x 3j3, Telephone: 403-256-9575.
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