A real teaser, the great Verdunite Walter Gregory likes to laugh and enjoy himself just like a good Irish man, always looking at life from the bright side. Conferred the title of “Irishman of the year”, Walter Gregory humbly accepted the honour, a tribute to Verdun’s Irish community.
Dedicated and always ready to help his fellow citizens, Walter Gregory is living proof that the Anglophone and Francophone communities in Verdun can understand and help one another. Son of immigrants from Belfast, Walter Gregory was born in St. Agathe des Monts in the Laurentians. He went to live in the Villeray district near Jarry Park until his marriage to Rose Moran, a Verdun resident who asked Walter to move to Verdun. Contrary to the saying that you “marry the girl, you marry the family”, it was the reverse in this case for Walter 55 years ago. The couple have been loyal residents in Verdun since they were wed.
With a good dose of humour, Walter estimates that he spent almost 60 years of his life at Windsor Station. He worked 39 years in the Pensions Department of Canadian Pacific Railways (CPR), and was promoted to manager status. Twenty years ago, he retired and became a member of the Association des Pionniers, a group of former CPR employees. Walter is very much involved in this association, being its secretary-treasurer. He and his wife have made 14 trips with Les Pionniers du CPR – some of these trips included dream cruises to Panama, California and Alaska.
School commissioner for seven years representing the English sector of Verdun’s Catholic School Board, Walter always worked to promote the interests of Verdun families. He ahd his wife Rose produced four children – three boys and a girl – all of whom have graduated. They now have three grandchildren. In 1998, Walter Gregory was conferred the title of Grand Verdunois for his loyalty and commitment to the Verdun community. Perfectly bilingual, the CPR retiree is a considerate parishioner and serves as the link between Verdun’s Francophone and Anglophone communities.
Parishioner of St. Thomas More for the last 55 years, Walter Gregory is truly dedicated to his parish and church. He is the irreplaceable animator for the annual benefit gala for St. Thomas More, and is also treasurer of Fabrique et bedeau. In the mornings during the work week, he serves at mass and is happy that at least 30 to 40 parishioners attend. The only thing that Walter has not done is to say mass...he isn’t a priest!
On Saturday, March 6, more than 800 invitees applauded Walter when he received the Irishman of the Year title during a lunch held in his honour at the Sheraton Hotel. Walter’s children were there and one of his sons paid him homage.