Darrell Ewen Playford passed away on July 20th at the age of 64 years.
Darrell was born on May 2, 1957 in Port Colborne, ON to Jim and Edith Playford. He was a rambunctious child with an odd habit of banging his leg like a rabbit that earned him the lifelong nickname, Thumper. When he was 2 the family moved to Cranberry Portage, MB. The change in lifestyle was stark as they went from city-style to roughing it with an outdoor biffy and hauling water but the nature scene they woke up to each day was beautiful and soul filling which set the stage for Darrell’s deep connection with the world around him.
Darrell was the 5th of nine children. When Darrell was 3, he was mauled by a dog that nearly killed him and left a significant scar on his face. At age 8, his world was turned upside down and his family left reeling when his dad died suddenly of a heart attack at work. The Playford family moved to Birch River in 1967 when Edith bought the King George Hotel.
Hard work was a big part of Darrell and he was a master of making it fun. He loved a challenge and it wasn’t uncommon to see Darrell at the bottom of a hole while onlookers watched in disbelief at what he was willing to do to get the job done. He reveled in people doubting his abilities and loved to see people’s mouths hang open while he pulled off a daring maneuver. He could see solutions to things that others couldn’t and always had the courage to try. He started work at the age of 12 digging trenches, shingling roofs, pouring cement and framing houses for Wilbur Bates. This was the foundation of Darrell’s skill set and he continued to develop his creative problem solving. Carpentry went on hold in 1974 when he went to work for Manfor in the Pas running a slasher. The Manfor years were fond memories and many lasting relationships were formed.
House construction took him to Sheridan, MB in 1986 where he and his brother Garnet built homes for the managers of the Puffy Lake mine. Once Darrell was done building houses the mine managers saw what he could do, he went to work for Pioneer Metals as a general carpenter. He built his reputation on his ability to GSD and the relationships he made there took him on adventures to Northern BC and to Nicaragua. He was bitten by the gold bug and he really enjoyed the chemistry and metallurgy involved in refining. He got his blasting license, built a rock crusher and staked and mined several claims in northern Manitoba. He smelted his own ore and his kids watched as he poured small beads of gold mined with his own hands. In addition to mining, Darrell returned to carpentry and logging throughout his life.
The summer of 1972 he started courting the love of his life Cora Corbett and they married in Dec of ‘74 when he was 17 years old. They started their lives together as children by today’s standards but their love and commitment stood the test of time and they raised 3 happy children, Chad (‘75), Troy (‘77) and Jade (‘79) that grew up in home full of unconditional love.
Darrell was never one for half measures and if he was in on something, he was all in. He was a spiritual man and loved God, had a keen knowledge of the scriptures and was a lifelong learner. Anyone who knew Darrell would say that he had a remarkably positive outlook on life, even in his last days.
He is survived by his wife, Cora, his children Chad (Jamie), Troy (Laina), and Jade (Colin), his grandchildren Emma, Kathryn, Jeffrey, Owen, Allison, Fynn and Fletcher, his siblings Garnet (Norma), Linda (Guy), Don, Sandra (Keith), Raymond, Jamie (Arnold), Lisa (Sylvain), and Lorri. As well as many, nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews.
He was pre-deceased by his dad, James Playford, his mom, Edith Playford and his nephews Dennis and Sheldon Playford and great-niece Emily Playford.
Darrell’s family and friends celebrated his life with a graveside service on Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 10:30 am. Darrell’s wish was to be cremated and interred in the Crandell Cemetery in Birch River.
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