Obituary of Gordon Paul Ohlke
Maj (Ret’d) Gordon Paul Ohlke, CD, MA, UEL
Peacefully at home, on Wednesday, February 22nd, in his 70th year. Beloved husband of Lorraine Tank. Loving father of Katie, Charley (Helen), Lindsay and Lisa (Brendon). Predeceased by his parents R. F. ‘Rudy’ Ohlke MD and Bernice ‘Jeanie’ Ohlke RN, sister Bette Flindall and brother-in-law Bob Tank (Karen). Survived by sister Jane (Joe Favot) and brother-in-law Rick Tank (Chris). Lovingly remembered by his favourite aunt, Joanne (the late Earl Hannah), many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Gord left us quietly in his sleep after a full life of family, adventure, dedication, and service.
Joining the Canadian Forces in 1978, Gord, after a stint in the infantry, gravitated to the aerie of military intelligence and ultimately served this country for 35 years in Canada and overseas. His wars, campaigns and operations included the Cold War, where he was involved in assessing Warsaw Pact dispositions opposite NATO in the 1980s; aid to the civil power/assistance to the civil authority operations in western Canada in the 1990s; the Oka insurrection (1990) where he commanded the 1st Canadian Division Intelligence Company; Bosnia (2001-02) where he commanded the National Intelligence Centre in Sarajevo which supported the Canadian contribution to NATO-led SFOR; support to Operation ENDURING FREEDOM during the war against the Al Qaeda organization; and Afghanistan (2009-10) where he commanded ASIC(Forward) at the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar City. He viewed his time in Afghanistan combatting the insurgency there as the pinnacle of his career. Other activities to which he contributed included the formulation of intelligence doctrine during the turbulent 1990s and representing Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces in international venues, including NATO, ABCA, and the Conference of American Armies.
Graduating from Queen's University in 1978, he later earned his Masters in War Studies from the Royal Military College in 2008. An astute and lifelong student of history, diplomacy, politics, genealogy, and the United Empire Loyalists. He was also a member of the Battlefield Tour Guild, where he conducted battlefield tours internationally. Gord spoke to many Remembrance Day ceremonies, classrooms and fundraiser dinners. He contributed his voice to many causes but was especially proud to support the Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.
He served on Vestry Council and as Warden of St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Barriefield, for many years and remained an active member of the congregation. A strong believer in mentorship, Gord also coached the RMC Rifle team.
Never one to slow down, he began his retirement plan of working his ‘Tippeln Farm;’ where he had an Apiary (his “Airforce”), productive vegetable garden and recreational hunting camp. He was elected twice as Councillor in Ward 2 of TLTI and was recently elected Deputy Mayor by his colleagues. Gord continued to serve his community sitting on many Boards; TLTI Library, St John’s Ambulance, UEL, Cataraqui Conservation Authority Board, and was President of the Kingston and the Thousand Islands Federal Conservative Party.
Despite his busy schedule, he always made time for his family and his friends. Fluent in sarcasm, he offered sage advice, and the ‘Dad-est’ of Dad jokes (occasionally simultaneously).
While he left us too soon, we hold our memories together of the man we knew and the man we loved.
Visitations will be held at James Reid Cataraqui Funeral Home, 1900 John Counter Blvd., on 24 March from 6:00-8:00 pm and 25 March from 2:00-5:00 pm. Burial at Cataraqui Cemetery will be held at a later date for family only. In lieu of flowers, donations to Heart and Stroke Foundation, Lionsheart Inc. (foodbank) or St. Mark's Anglican Church, Barriefield, or a charity close to heart.