G6: 1932 Mel Shiels

Mel and Great

Mel Shiels was born March 1, 1932 near Stoughton, Saskatchewan. He was the youngest child of John and Pearl (Gerry) Shiels. He was only 10 months old when his mother died and he was raised by his father and older sisters. The family moved to Manitoba in 1937.

Mel moved along with his father from farm to farm around Napinka, Manitoba. When his dad moved to town in 1947, Mel stayed on the farm with his brother Ken. Their other brother George came to live with them after returning from World War II with his wife Betty. In the fall of 1947 they moved to the old House farm.

In the fall of 1949, Mel drove to Ontario with his friend Orville McInnes. Orville went to join the Mounties and Mel went to see his brother Cliff. Mel was only 16 and got a job with the Canada Packers. He stayed there for a year and then moved to Bowmanville, Ontario where he met his wife, Greta Mary Martin. Greta was born in Bowmanville January 22, 1935.

Mel & Greta were married on December 6, 1952. While in Bowmanville, Mel drove a bread truck and a taxi. He also worked for McGregor’s Hardware for eight years. They had a daughter Deborah Pearl born July 24, 1953. She died on November 16, 1953 and is buried at Bowmanville. The family moved to Oshawa in 1960, which is nine miles from Bowmanville. Mel worked for Whites and remained there for eight years. Then he started with J & H Feed Stores in Schomberg where he sold silos. He sold these silos all over Canada. While working there, Mel recalled having breakfast in Halifax one morning and having supper in Vancouver the same night.

During the time in Oshawa, they had six children; Gary on December 22, 1954; Gayle on September 2, 1956; Tim on April 9, 1958; Paul on November 3, 1959; Terry on April 24, 1964; and Kevin on May 22, 1967. All of the children were born in Bowmanville.

Gary, Tim, Greta, Paul, Mel, Gayle

Mel has been a salesman for most of his married life. After selling silos, he started his own family business known as “Mel Shiels and Sons Farm Automation” in 1975. This was really a family business, Mel was the salesman and overall boss and Greta & Gayle work in the office. All the sons have worked in the business at one time or another. Their business was located three miles west of Newmarket. Mel had an accident in 1984, while working on a piece of farm machinery. He broke his pelvis and was in hospital for a long time but did make a complete recovery.

Mel & Greta went on to work together in a new venture delivering the Royal Mail while they still owned his own business. When you are in your own business, you depend on the mail to get the cheques in. After not getting any mail for over a week, Mel went to the post office to find out what was wrong and he found out that the delivery person had quit. He also found out that the previous three had also quit. The postmaster asked Mel if he wanted to try so he agreed to do Holland Landing so that he could get his own mail. This was followed by Barrie and Newmarket. Paul took over the family business and the mail expanded to include Bradford, Aurora and Kettlebe. They had a total of ten different routes at one time and Mel, Greta, Gayle, Paul, Terry, Brenda, Cindy and Audrey all helped out. There are many families in the Bradford/Newmarket area that get their mail using a Rural Route (RR) type address. Mel & Greta would go in to the post office around 4AM to sort the mail and then start delivering so they were done about 2PM. They continued with the mail for 15 years and retired in July 2000 and moved to Carlton Place, Ontario, just a few miles from Ottawa.

Mel also likes to play the guitar and sing. Mel is a very kind and gentle person and is always there to offer help to anyone in need. Mel passed away on Sunday, February 16, 2014.

Gary Shiels 1954- (G5)

Annette and Garry

Gary Shiels was born December 22, 1954. He was the second child of Mel & Greta (Martin) Shiels. He married Annette Martin on February 16, 1980. Annette was born in Glasgow, Scotland on October 5, 1957. Gary has an university degree in Architectural Technology and worked in his father’s business for a number of years. Gary & Annette have two children, Jamie Russell born May 10, 1985 and Nicole Leigh born July 24, 1987. They live in Bradford, Ontario.

Gary is a site supervisor for the Conservatory Group in Markham, Ontario. He has been there since 1988 and they build houses and condominiums.

Gayle (Shiels) Burns 1956- (G5)

Gayle Shiels was born September 2, 1956. She was the third child of Mel & Greta (Martin) Shiels. She married Thomas Burns on May 29, 1981. Tom was born in Toronto on September 7, 1951. They have one son named Tad (Thomas Arthur Daniel) born December 23, 1982. They lived in the Holland Marsh near Newmarket for a number of years and moved to Keswick, Ontario in 1997.

Tom works for the Highways Department operating a snow plow in the winter and works for Beamish on road construction in the summer. Gayle worked in the office for her father’s business for a number of years before starting work delivering mail on the rural routes near Bradford. She now works in the Aurora Nursing home as a health care worker. Tad is making car parts in Magna.

Tim Shiels 1958- (G5)

Tim, Brandy, TJ, Cindy

Tim Shiels was born April 9, 1958. He was the fourth child of Mel & Greta (Martin) Shiels. He married Cindy Tyler on November 25, 1978. Cindy was born in Toronto on September 2, 1960. They have a son Tim John, better known as T.J. born October 31, 1981 and one daughter Brandy Mary Rose born in May 1984.

Tim and Cindy live in Bradford, Ontario. Tim worked his with dad for many years before starting with the York Sanitation. He is now a site supervisor for the Conservatory Group in Markham, Ontario building high-rise apartments and condominiums. Cindy continues to deliver the mail and TJ works at the Golf Course.

Paul Shiels 1959- (G5)

Paul Shiels was born November 3, 1959. He was the fifth child of Mel & Greta (Martin) Shiels. He married Marnie Porteaus on March 28, 1980. Marnie was born in Montreal on August 19, 1960. They have a son Justin, born October 7, 1980. Justin died in 1993. Paul & Marnie have been divorced and Paul married Brenda Forhan on February 16, 1983. Brenda had a son Trevor (born August 31, 1978) and they have another son Edward John Melvin (Teddy) born in May 4, 1984.

Paul worked in the family business for a number of years before delivering mail on the local rural routes near Bradford, Ontario. He is now an assistant superintendent for the Conservatory Group in Markham, Ontario. Brenda operates the mail delivery on the local rural routes near Bradford, Ontario.

Terry Shiels 1964-1997 (G5)

Terry Shiels

Terry Shiels was born April 24, 1964. He was the sixth child of Mel & Greta (Martin) Shiels. Terry worked in the family business and also on the mail routes. Terry went west to Winnipeg one summer and spent a month with his cousins, Dan & Judy Shiels in Winnipeg. They had a great time together and drove back to Ontario together that summer. Terry died March 8, 1997 and is buried in Bowmanville, Ontario.

Terry had a son Terry born December 26, 1989. Terry Jr lives with his mother, Cheryl Delaney and visits his grandparents quite often.

Kevin Shiels 1967-2017 (G5)

Kevin Shiels was born May 24, 1967. He was the seventh child of Mel & Greta (Martin) Shiels. Kevin married Lindy Hay on December 9, 1994. They have two children, Hayley, born November 22, 1996 and Melvon born May 22, 1998. Kevin works on construction and Lindy recently graduated as a health care worker. They lived near Carleton Place, Ontario until Kevin’s untimely death in 2017.

Kevin, Lindy, Hayley & Mel