Howard Russell McBurney 3,35
- Born: 26 Jul 1930, Glenwood Municipality, , Manitoba, Canada 3,35
- Marriage: Gloria Jean Knight on 12 Jul 1966 in Wasagaming, , Manitoba, Canada 3,35
- Died: 4 Aug 2011, Brandon, , Manitoba, Canada at age 81
- Crem.: 9 Aug 2011, Brandon, , Manitoba, Canada
Cause of his death was Intestinal Cancer.
Lived on the McBurney parents farm in Glenwood district, Manitoba. Raises and breeds thoroughbred horses.
Howard was born July 26th 1930. Gloria was born on March 27th 1942. They were married on July 12th 1966. Howard & Gloria ran a thoroughbred farm on 7/7/22 from 1966 until they retired to live in Souris in 1995. Howard and Gloria raised many fine thoroughbred horses that established their farm as one of Manitoba's most successful. Many of their stallions' progeny are still prominent in thoroughbred racing.
Noted events in his life were:
• Occupation: Leather Tooling and Carving since, 1940, Mentieth, Glenwood, Manitoba, Canada. 46 In the 1930's the church ladies of the Forbes District decided to embark on learning the craft of leather work. They ordered supplies and learned about how to create some small projects. Howard, a young boy at the time, was brought along to meetings, and oddly enough, the classes made a lasting impression on him. After his devastating accident involving his leg and its partial amputation, he had about a year at home in recovery. During this time he became interested in the leather work, and showed himself talented making belts, purses, wallets, and the like. Now, in his retirement, he is actively pursuing this once again, and has received many pleasurable hours from it.
• Occupation: Grain and Beef Farmer, 1950-1960, Mentieth, Glenwood, Manitoba, Canada. 46 Home Farm, Fairlane Farms
• Occupation: Thoroughbred Horse Breeder, 1960-1990, Mentieth, Glenwood, Manitoba, Canada. Howard and Gloria built their horse-breeding business from the ground up, and made it one of the most successful operations in Manitoba. They were honored many times with awards for their dedication and excellence in their endeavours.
• Memorial Service: Souris United Church, 9 Aug 2011, Souris, , Manitoba, Canada. A beautiful Eulogy was delivered by Howard's neice, Kim Mills.
A Tribute to Howard McBurney
Howard Russell McBurney was my uncle, my mother's brother. He was born to Russell and May McBurney of Glenwood Municipality, Souris District Manitoba July 26, 1930. Born right at the beginning of the Dirty Thirties, he was introduced to a lifestyle that required hard work and dedication for success. He was a real Prairie Man. He had a brother, Les and a sister, Eileen, and yet to come was his younger brother Keith in 1936. His Buckley grandparents lived down the road, and various McBurney aunts, uncles, and cousins were scattered throughout the district.
His Mom, May McBurney was a skilled farm woman, hard-working, community-minded, and always thinking of the next chore or goal that needed attention. As a little boy he liked to play in the back kitchen no doubt while his mother cooked at the wood stove or did the wash with the big, white ringer washer. He would wait for his big brother and sister to arrive home from Forbes School less than a mile away. They often found him playing with trucks and tractors in the sand that had sifted in during a dry, windy day.
One day the family was off to Buckleys and it was time to get in the buggy. Mom asked Howard, "Where are your shoes?" "I don't know." Off they went. Later Howard confided to my mother: "I know where they are: They're in the pig pen." I don't think those shoes were ever worn again.
One busy day as my grandmother worked at the kitchen sink she glanced up and out at a familiar sight, the red hip-roofed barn. But look again at an unfamiliar addition! There was young and adventurous Howard walking like a circus performer across the top of the barn. I wonder if this problem was resolved by silence or panicked cries from the porch.
Howard was often seen with an animal whether it be cattle, chickens, dogs, pigs or horses, but the horses would become his passion: Horses for tending cattle, for going to school, for learning the lay of the land, and later for riding like an English gentleman, for hunting and jumping, or maybe even racing. He rode nearly every day.
He was great friends with Morlie Laughland, and the two of them would camp overnight at the river pretending they were cowboys. Other friends were the kids of Carl and Dorothy Scharff, neighbors just minutes away.
When I visited the big farmhouse as a little girl, I liked to play with dolls and kittens in the sunny front veranda. This was Howard's bedroom for the summer. The walls would be covered with rows of ribbons, the colors of the rainbow. First Place, Second Place. These were all awards for his horse training and riding abilities at the local fairs. Was he good? He was more than good.
As a young man now he was ready to embark on a life of his own. But life threw him some curves at this point. While watering cows in the northeast pasture one evening, he decided to ride Ginger Sue home instead of walking. But on that day she was having nothing to do with him. Bucked off in the twinkling of an eye he was injured and helpless on the ground, far from the ears of family. His leg had sustained a compound fracture, and sadly, the result was amputation and an artificial limb. What now? Family and friends gave their support. My mother spent a lot of time with him. He learned to cope. Gloria relates that Howard never used his disability as an excuse for not doing things. If fact he could often run faster than she could. I recall the strong muscles he had in his upper body.
Part of this rehabilitation time was spent applying himself to a new interest that he was to become a master at. It was the craft of leather working and tooling. Howard created objects that were beyond compare in their workmanship. Many members of the family received beautiful gifts from him as the years went by. In his retirement he developed a mini-business called Candleshoe Leather. Traveling to local farmer's markets, craft fairs and horse shows he sold belts, wallets, purses, and key fobs. He also knew how to repair horse tack such as bridles and reins.
Soon Howard was back to the business of fulfilling his dream of making a career of horses. A beautiful, gentle horse named Brigadoon carried him to new heights. He loved this horse, and the horse loved him back. About this time he met Bert and Eileen Blake. Bert was a true horseman and became a mentor and teacher for Howard. Eileen was a wonderful rider. With Howard's training and dedication, and Eileen's riding abilities, Brigadoon became a champion. A lifelong friendship with the Blakes was forged as well.
Later, in the summer of 1966 when he married Gloria Knight of Erikson, Manitoba he was set to share and establish the dreams and passions of a life working with horses. Together they turned their skills and talents toward breeding, raising, and boarding thoroughbred horses. It was hard work, and there weren't many examples to follow. Stallions such as Northern Hawk, Main Debut, Lend Lease, and The Knack were key in raising the business to another level altogether. Now the world of horse racing, registered blood lines, and making deals with big money came to the fore. Soon they were building paddocks, tailoring the barn stables for horses, putting up hay and straw, and tending mares from conception to the birth of their foals. These lovely animals were like children. They received copious amounts of attention that all became part of the quality package Howard and Gloria offered. Howard was an excellent judge of the quality of a horse, and had no fear when training them. Gloria was adept at formulating deals that clients would accept. They met with clients any time of the week, often on weekends. Horses began to win at the racetrack, horses that they had nurtured. It was very rewarding and satisfying. Due to their consistent efforts, high standards, and blossoming expertise they became one of the best thoroughbred horse breeders in Manitoba, obtaining many accolades and awards.
During these years two other very wonderful things happened. Their two children, Leisa and Sean were born. Both have become talented people of integrity, dedicated to their chosen professions, and committed to right living. And yes, both Sean and Leisa love horses too.
In my summer visits to Manitoba, my uncles Howard and Keith were very special. I eagerly awaited their arrival at meal times, and was always a bit sad when they had to go back out to work. Howard had a series of cars, but my favourite was the 1959 Dodge Royal. When I was a wee girl, I used to suck my thumb, and as added comfort I liked to carry a pair of my silky underwear. I had tucked a pair into the glove compartment in case I needed them. Some time later one of Howard's dates discovered them. Oops! I don't imagine he had too difficult a time explaining them away.
In another life Howard might have been the owner of a gentleman's clothing store. He loved to dress-up, and looked mighty smart and snappy when he did so. You would often find him drinking a cup of coffee, staying up late, refusing pepper, but loving salt, out doing the summer fallowing, slathering butter on sandwiches, relishing Gloria's cooking and baking, playing solitaire or saying, "Well, wouldn't that frost ya?" Good friends over the years were Don and Anne Scarff and Allan and Valerie Matheson. If you were listening to Howard tell a story he was likely to say, "Well anyway…" and at the same time be twirling a napkin, tapping a fork, or tinkering as Sean would say. He often procrastinated about things. Just as someone would be ready to set out on the road he'd be under the vehicle changing the oil. In his later years he loved collecting Noritake china and choice pieces of antique furniture.
The last year or so brought an increasing decline in his health. "Poppa," as his grand daughter Abigail called him, was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. He never gave in to it. Gloria was steadfast in her support and care. There were endless consultations, test, treatments, and time spent waiting for answers. He remained much more upbeat than I imagined my own self being.
This spring when my sister, Heather, and I visited Howard and Gloria, we went to Brandon and ended up at a shopping mall. Malls being malls, Gloria rented a motorized scooter for him. He was like a kid with a new toy. Not too sure what to do at first, but soon in complete control. By the time we all met up for lunch, Howard was scooting this way and that, turning around, coming back and taking off again.
Short days ago he was hoping to gain more time for life by having another surgery. But it was not to be. Essentially a private and rather conservative man, he had a streak of the dare devil about him. Many parts of his life were challenging, but many aspects were also truly good and rewarding. Like all of us, perfection was unattainable, but with help from family, friends, some special animals, and that indescribable mystery of life of deep inner faith his life was shared in significant ways with all of us. May we keep many memories of him that lit his path, and may guide ours too.
Psalm 103: 15-18, 22
Howard married Gloria Jean Knight, daughter of George Knight and Daisy Jacobs.