Member Spotlight- Gerald De Bow

Gerald “Gerry” De Bow was born in Moncton, New Brunswick into a very devout Baptist family. One of his earliest memories is hearing the sound of sirens “blowing all day” announcing the end of WWII, as a six year old. Gerry described an upbringing that completely insulated him within a Baptist environment.

He recalls favorable times at summer camp and also the times when he and his brother visited extended family on a farm. Gerry grew up with his maternal grandmother in his family’s home, and although she was not Baptist, he saw her as a great source of unconditional love and hugs.

At age 18, he attended Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Although it was a Baptist
University, he was exposed to non-Baptist people and different types of mindsets. Although there was a church-abiding community at university, Gerry participated in more secular activities. He even played Piano regularly at the Kentville Legion.

Gerry got his BA degree, came ‘out west’ in the 60’s and got a job with the City of Edmonton Welfare Department . He found his time there very educational as he got to familiarize himself with people and their behaviors outside of his upbringing in the Baptist doctrine.

With support from his employer, he decided to upgrade his post secondary education Therefore, Gerry returned to Nova Scotia to attend the Maritime School of Social Work in Halifax, receiving his Master’s Degree in Social Work from Acadia University. In the 2nd year of his program, he did a 1 year practicum with two psychiatrists in a mental health clinic, where he gained the valuable experience of working within a professional team that practiced family therapy. There, Gerry realized that looking at the causes of behaviors was essential.

He returned to Edmonton to work for two more years in a family counselling type role. Then he decided to completely pivot in his career. This was the 1960’s after all. There was societal ‘chaos’ in that all things were becoming loud and to the surface: e.g. marijuana and other illicit drugs, the women’s movement, the Vietnam War, LGBTQ+ rights, racial issues, the Manson murders, man landed on the moon, Woodstock, etc. Some of these events prompted Gerry to decide to attend Law School at the University of Alberta in 1968.

Gerry married Shirley in 1966 and their three children were born in Edmonton. He finished his Law degree in 1971 and practiced for 12 years until 1984. He had a keen interest in a judicial role and he obtained his first placement as a Provincial Court Judge in Lethbridge. The role included criminal, family, youth, and civil courts. He acknowledges that this was a powerful role and he
tried to avoid the punitive aspect, while trying to understand what the people were going through; he strove to be objective and to avoid his “built-in prejudices”. He has found that he doesn’t miss the work, but he appreciates the effect it had on his view of the world and its people. He retired four years ago

Gerry has had the rich experience of backpacking through Europe and being exposed to many cultures, countries and ideas. He is now a widower and looks back fondly on his married life as extremely rewarding as they enjoyed so many of life’s experiences together. Gerry now enjoys spending his time learning how the internet and new technologies, including Artificial Intelligence, can enhance day-to-day life; he says that he can be found online “24 hours a day”.

You can regularly find Gerry at the LSCO dining room having lunch and good conversations with other members.

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