Francis ‘Gary’ Best


A gentle, caring & loving man passed away suddenly on April 30, 2018 leaving behind to cherish their thirty-one years together; his soulmate, best friend and wife Joan.

Gary is also survived by his brother Ross (Beth) of Black Diamond, AB, nephews Gordon (Suzanne) & Rob (Kim) and their children. His sons: David (Val) of Lacombe, AB, Donald (Deb) of Nanaimo, BC, Robert (Alma) of Kikino, AB; granddaughters Lindsay (Keith) Miller, Nanaimo, BC & Cassandra (Tyler) Barnes, Campbell River, BC; great grandchildren Isabelle & Logan Miller &Julianna Barnes. Step-daughters: Cheryl Talbott, St. Albert, AB, Jannet Talbott, Barrhead, AB, Leslie (Steve) McDougall, Edmonton, AB. Grampy to Katelyn (Joel) Wright, Carter Ganton, Jackson Ganton, Colby, Emma & Kenzie McDougall and Great Grampy to Oliver Wright. Joan’s six brothers and sisters, their spouses & numerous offspring.

Predeceased by his parents Francis & Olive Best, son Daniel & step-son Jason Talbott.

Gary was born in Moose Jaw, SK and moved to Edmonton in 1949 where his father owned & operated Best Photography Studios.

Gary’s amazing 60-year career as an Independent Insurance Adjuster began in 1957 with Henry Runte & Co. Adjusters where he was handed piles of claim files to read, study & discuss and soon after “qualified” as an adjuster. In 1963 he was a partner with Rikstad Graham and Best Adjusters and in 1983 established his own firm of Gary Best & Co. Adjusters. In 2000, he began a six-month contract with Risk Management & Insurance which continued until his retirement January 18, 2018. His integrity, knowledge, fairness and respect to all people he dealt with (clients or employees) during his many years as an insurance adjuster was a special gift he had. He was a 57-year member of Blue Goose International and was honoured to serve as MLG for two terms and as PMLG. He was Co-Chairman of the Blue Goose Edmonton Convention and was a Trustee on the Development Fund Board for over 15 years. He served as President and other positions with the Alberta Association of Insurance Adjusters.

Gary also enjoyed over 40 years of curling with the Blue Goose Curling Club and insurance industry leagues. He was a longtime member of the Highlands Golf & Country Club and he & Joan enjoyed many golf trips across Canada & USA. His favourite ‘go-to-place’ was Las Vegas and he was thrilled to have played in several World Series of Poker Tournaments – always hoping to win “the big one!” In 2004 he got the ‘cruising bug’ and he & Joan enjoyed the sights of many beautiful places around the world. On those trips he was able to achieve many things on his Bucket List including zip-lining, scuba diving, river rafting, a trip to the Vatican & Leaning Tower of Pisa. But he always said his greatest achievement was his 7-month planning/scheming & marriage proposal to Joan on a plane enroute to San Diego where family & friends had secretly gathered to witness their outdoor wedding & then joining them on a Cruise. He had a zest for life, laughter & fun and many family & friends will recall that at weddings or parties, when the music started, he would be the first on the dance floor and the last off. He readily admitted he was NOT a handyman but always volunteered his services as ‘foreman’ on any home project.

For 37 years Gary helped and mentored those who were struggling with their addictions and he will be fondly remembered by many. “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference. Amen”

Gary will be fondly remembered by all who knew him & will remain forever in the hearts of his devoted wife, family & cherished friends.

Honouring Gary’s wishes there will not be a Funeral Service.

In lieu of flowers, you may wish to consider a donation to one of his favourite charities, The Salvation Army, 9115 75 Street NW, Edmonton, AB T6C 4L3; The Alberta Lung Association P.O. Box 4500, Stn. South, Edmonton, AB T6E 6K2 or a charity of your choice.

Joan extends a sincere Thank You to his Family & Respiratory Doctors for the dedication and kindness shown, especially during the past 5 years of his health issues. A huge Thank You to our dear friends, neighbours & family for your support & hugs this past week. Rest in Peace my love.

Departed friend, our voices we raise,
In humble tribute, honour, praise.
With one accord our greetings swell;
Hail Fellow Gander … and Farewell.

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Tribute wall - a place to share your memories and condolences

Jannet Talbott

On this Father’s Day, I’m missing my usual phone call to you, to wish you a Happy Father’s day, and tell you how much I love you. You have been such a big part of my life, and someone who I respected and admired. I’ll miss our conversations, your visits out to my farm with Mom and making sure I have enough wood to keep the fireplace stocked for you, shopping for your birthday and farther’s day gifts, and mostly, enjoying a good chuckle together. You were one of the good ones Gary, and I hope you know how loved you were, and always will be. Don’t worry about Mom, we’ll all take good care of your ‘Joanie’ for you…Missing you….Jannet xo

Jack Nickerson

I met Gary 35 years ago. He taught me a lot about business and that the most important thing, was, to treat everyone with respect, dignity and honesty. He also taught me how to play poker, but never enough to beat him at it. LOL. I feel blessed to have been a part of his life. He had one of the kindest and most gentle souls, I’ve met on this journey. Gary, my friend, You will be missed and thanks for being a friend all these years. Joan, please know you and your family, have been in my prayers every night. I hope the Great memories you two shared will help you through these difficult times. Love you always, your New Years Baby.

Don and Sylvia Kerr

So many fond memories of our good friend Gary. From being Father Time at a New Years Eve party, being a Spanish Flamingo Dancer (in socks) and how could we forget Gary being a member of the 12 inch Boys. You had to “be there” to enjoy those visual appearances. Gary you will be missed but never forgotten. Hugs to Joan and Family.

Mary Gregorich

A few of my most memorable cruise stories involved Gary. From rafting to him always hiding the dealer button on me when I was dealing but the best will always be the pelican story. You were a good one my friend and you will be missed dearly. May you Rest In Peace Pelican Gary.

Cheryl Talbott

Gary, I’ll miss your gentle ways, your funny stories of the good old days, and your love of life and family and especially your love for my mom, Joan. You were Grampy to my children and they loved you so very much. You had a special bond with each of them. You can rest now Gar, knowing that we will take care of mom and each other.

Leon Cairns

Gary and I were friends for over seventy-five years. He was loved by many and will be deeply missed.

Carol Voyer

I’ve known Gary for 60+ years. He was one of
the ” Bonnie Doon Boys” on the other side of the river
when I was a teenager. He was a great guy – kind, thoughtful and caring. Lots of great memories. He will be missed.

Gord Best

One of a kind to be sure. I knew him as ‘Unc’ and had the pleasure of his company before sailing to Hawaii with Don. As I recall, Gary was lobbying to make the trip with us the night before we left. That would have been an interesting 3 weeks.
Rest well ‘Unc’

Kelly Ulmer

I always liked Gary. I always remember him enjoying life and dancing up a storm and always being kind to people. He was part of our large family and he will be missed. My sincere condolences to his family and all whom loved him.

Cheryl Aitkens

As can happen in government, I never “met” Gary! He was in Edmonton and I, in Southern Alberta. To each other we were “voices” on the phone as we had many conversations over the years while he was with Risk Management. He was direct and correct! I so appreciated the good advice and direction he provided and was so sad to hear he retired! And even sadder to hear of his passing! Prayers his family and friends find comfort in happy memories. Rest Peacefully Gary, you will be missed!

Shari Prommer

Gary was a real ‘character’, and always shot ‘straight from the hip’, which is the best way to be. A diamond in the rough, that will be missed by many.

Joan and El Ulmer

Always remember when Gary visited our place over night and we had no cream for the coffee. He ran to the store and said I don’t use blue milk in my coffee.

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