Members Cruising the Endless Highway

The Galt Strokers are sad to announce that Gary Thiede passed away at CMH on Saturday, May 1st following a lengthy illness.  At Gary's request there will be no

Gary Thiede

Gary was admitted to the Strokers in April 1957. He was a faithful member for many years and helped in many of the Strokers projects as his name is recorded doing so in our minutes.

I kept in touch with Gary from the early days and throughout the years after I moved to London. He had many disappointments in his personal life, but was strong enough to carry on. In later years he loved his plants and garden to help him over the rough times. Christina was a loving partner who looked after him with compassion till the end. May he now rest in piece as we remember him and thank Christina for her help and care in this difficult period.

 Al Howlett



Lorne Wayne "SKIP" Mathieson 1948 - 2009
August 3rd, 2009

The Galt Strokers are saddened to report the passing of Skip on Monday Aug 3rd.   We hope to see as many Stokers as possible at the Saturday service

MATHIESON Lorne Wayne  “Skip”

Passed away peacefully at Cambridge Memorial Hospital on August 3, 2009at the age of 61.  Son of Nellie (nee Burnet) and the late James Mathieson.  Sadly missed by his many cousins, extended family and all his great friends from the Galt Strokers Car Club.  A memorial service will be held at T. Little Funeral Home, 223 Main St. , Cambridge on Saturday August 8, 2009 at 2pm, followed by interment at Mount View Cemetery, Cambridge and reception at the T. Littles Reception Center.

 We have opened a Facebook Group in memory of Skip.  if you have a Facebook account, click here.

2001 photo by Al Jones         



There was a good turnout of car guys at Skips service.  Here are a few who arrived early on Saturday.

Left-Right are Paul Cassel, Warren Grimm, Bob Drew and Tim Cross.

Other Strokers that we noted were, Allen and Judy Jones, Bob Drew, Gord Bartlett, Al and Ruth Howlett, Andy Marsh, Grant and Connie Hughes, Harold Dale, Tom Robinson with Keith (Flash) Rowsell represented by his brother Moe.   if anyone was missed please let us know at email address below.

Please submit memories of Skip to or join the Face Book Group in memory of Skip

Submitted by Larry Ray

I remember two things about Skip as we grew up – One was when he and I delivered the Galt Reporter together and the last stop was at the Girl’s Reform School and after delivering the papers we waited in the bushes to see the girls get undressed (Skip’s Idea). We never did see anything as the guards saw us and we had to run like heck to prevent getting caught. The guards reported us to the Newspaper and Skip and I had a severe talking to from his dad – he kept the route – but we never did that again.

The second memory was when I got the first snowmobile in Galt and Skip, Flash and I tried it out at Skip’s Place.  We went to the Galt Country Club after Skip’s dad kicked us off his property for wrecking his grass and due to all the noise. We were having lots of fun on the green and sand traps until the security guards were called in by the golf course and we headed back to Skip’s and put the snowmobile in his dad’ garage for a few hours then I rode it home – we did not get in any trouble over that but there was some repairs necessary to the greens and sand traps in the spring.


submitted by Allan Jones

Skip the food adventurer
He liked to eat at our local ethnic restaurants. Whether he did his research before or after these visits was a subject of debate. In either event he could give you a detailed report , including information about ingredients and/or cooking methods that set the restaurant apart from others.

Merry prankster Skip
Going on 50 years ago it was the custom of car guys to cruise the Log Cabin, a drive-in restaurant about where Hespeler Road now meets Bishop Street. It was the custom to drive slowly in one side of the Log Cabin lot and out the other side, maybe more than once if circumstances dictated, greeting friend and foe with an exaggerated nod or a blip of the throttle, though not a wave. On the night in question, Skip and Al Jones were passengers in the front seat of a car driven by Grant Hughes – Skip in the window seat, it’s important to note.
As the car approached the Log Cabin, Skip slowly slid below window level, leaving Al in the girlfriend seat, shoulder-to-shoulder with Grant – the two of them making their nods in greeting to friends who returned only a disrespectful laugh.

Skip the author
As young teens Skip and Al read the hotrod and custom car magazines in the Strokers library, and took to augmenting the articles with elaborate exaggerations built on minor details the magazines provided. Skip’s Pulitzer achievement in those sessions built on a description of the naugahyde upholstery – naugahyde being a euphemism for vinyl -- the owner had put into a particularly well done custom car.

Skip added, “Not only had builder sewn the upholstery himself, but he had shot the graceful naug on a recent hunting safari.”

Only just the other day did we learn that Skip had reprised his naug joke, asking a relative serving as a cobbler and fussing over a pair of obviously plastic shoes, “Now you know how many naugs died to make those awful shoes?”

Travels with Skip
Two summers ago Skip set out, alone, on an exploratory journey through the US to New Brunswick – then wondered why friends here were concerned for his safety – in fact, you couldn’t put his truck and the word safety together in the same sentence. Never mind that he was then in failing health.

Skip claimed his truck was perfectly safe, so long as he took the precaution of adding brake fluid every so many miles, or every so many hours on the road, however he calculated the amount that had leaked out. He maintained that if the truck could go around the block, it could go across the country. And he regarded our concerns as a burden he did not need.
Skip’s sanitation habits
Skip’s tired old GMC pickup had the sliding window behind the drivers head. This he kept open most of the time and when he finished his coffee or burger or whatever, he would toss the cup or wrapper over his shoulder and the debris would land in the truck box. This would follow him around on his various journeys until such time as he had to take something bigger to the dump, and there he would shovel everything out in the same session.

This practice he followed with his new Blazer, never mind that it had upholstered seats behind him instead of a pickup box.

Skip the art lover
If he learned of an interesting exhibition at the National Gallery – let’s say Monet – Skip would set out on his own for Ottawa. Telling nobody, he would drive to Ottawa and find some quiet place to sleep over in his truck and then attend the exhibition the following day. Having soaked it all in, he would drive home again the same day.

Somehow in the next few days he would steer the conversation around to art and then spring on you a detailed review of the show he had seen and show you a small print or a book he had bought.

Sleep-over Skip
Skip had no concerns about sleeping over in his truck, largely because he believed it blended with any landscape and thus would attract no one’s attention – like the cat who hides under the table without realizing his tail was sticking out for all to see.

Skip the salesman
Not so long ago, in a moment of inattention, he said, Skip rear-ended a car on Elgin Street North. The other driver, a middle-aged woman, pulled over and got out of the car to speak with him. Skip gathered his papers and then managed to get himself out of the Blazer to make sure the woman wasn’t hurt. Which was the case.

So here she had this stubby character, less than 100 pounds, bones protruding every which way, as brown and wrinkled as a prune, long frizzy hair growing at odd angles over much of his head. And yet, she let herself believe that Skip did indeed have a valid license, did have insurance, and moreover he did have money to pay for her repairs if she should choose not to involve police or insurance companies.

They settled on their own and each of them considered it a bargain.

Analog Skip
Not so long ago Skip’s employer of long standing offered to give him a computer and get him hooked up to the internet at home. The boss’s goal, more than likely, was to get Skip tuned in so that he might use digitized drawings and equipment on the job.

Skip declined, claiming he couldn’t get hooked up so long as he kept his home phone on a party line, which he fully intended doing. And besides, computers could do nothing to improve on a happy, skilled employee, which he considered himself to be.

On the other hand, Skip would ask a friend to find out for him where to get a piece of equipment, for example, from a manufacturer located in Georgia. He would write you a note with the manufacturer’s name and a descriptive name of the piece of equipment he wanted. And if you came back with a phone number of the local distributor, he would avoid asking where you got it, knowing full well that you researched it on line.

Skip would dismiss any drawing or painting that was produced by digital means.

Acoustic Skip

When we were maybe 13 or 14, we made a habit of sitting in a small park overlooking downtown Main Street in Galt. On those summer evenings, owners of the coolest cars in town would cruise Main, with turnarounds at the cenotaph on the west end and right beneath us on the east end where Main meets Shade Street on an angle that provides a wide turn as well.

Skip invented the game where we would sit in this park but turn our backs to the street and listen to the cars cruising beneath us. While hearing but not seeing the cars, you had to name the car and driver – as for example, Pete Scott’s 63 Stingray.

Skip was undisputed champion of this game.

The best time was Sunday evening when the locals who had been to the drag races that afternoon would cruise Main, strutting the markings on their windshields that indicated they had raced that very day.

Artist Skip
Skip could draw your car or build a model of it in minute detail. His real-life American Austin, though it never did make it to the streets, nevertheless exists in countless drawings and plastic scale models. In his drawings, each component would be faithfully reproduced, as if he would not permit himself a flight of fancy. They were – are – imaginative yet faithful reproductions.

If a drawing was to be revised, the revision had to be something he thought could be accomplished full scale.

Art school Skip
Skip did move to Owen Sound for formal study of visual arts at Georgian College. Money was tight, though he lived simply. His calls were always collect.

It was certainly lack of money rather than lack of talent that kept him from finishing the program.

For Skip, it wasn’t about finishing, anyway, but rather about improving his drawing skills and learning more about art.

Argumentative Skip
Skip had an amazing memory for detail that would lead him into more than his share of arguments about this or that. One champion argument concerned the content of a 50-year-old snapshot he took in the back yard of the car club. After several months of this particular dispute, Skip arrived at a birthday/retirement party for Grant Hughes and in the dim light of the banquet hall pulled a dog-eared set of prints from his pocket. He showed them around the table to whoever would take yet another look, and then claimed to have new evidence – that the guy in the gray shirt and not the guy in the white shirt was Norm or whoever, because it was a known fact that Normie would never wear a white shirt to work on his car. Never ever.

Skip the flirt
Wherever you went for a meal, it seemed at least one waitress not only knew Skip but also had some sort of ongoing relationship with him – some unfinished conversation the two of them could pick up on while others were looking at the menu. They seemed genuinely fond of Skip in a flirtatious way. If you asked, it would become evident that the waitress used to work at such and such bar where she was favoured on the occasion of Skips visits. And before that, she worked some other watering hole Skip frequented at the time.


Skip would occasionally turn up with some a flower or some trinket he had made for a waitress who had expressed a liking for let’s say a particular plant. Skip might have bent up some small piece of brass into the shape of a leaf and then soldered on a stem. Or maybe it would be a drawing of a particular boat design he thought would look wonderful as a tattoo.

Skip did have a brief career as a judge at a national tattoo show. He might have considered himself particularly well qualified to suggest a waitress should favour his design.

Percussionist Skip
Skip played drums in an ill-fated Rock & Roll band somewhere around 1966, at the height of the psychedelic era. The band included Flash and Al Jones, and Skip came to it with great enthusiasm and encyclopedic knowledge of drums, but little experience actually playing them when the band was formed.

His inexperience – our inexperience – might have gone unnoticed except that the band, more or less by accident, attracted a keyboard player and a guitarist who knew a thing or two about playing in an ensemble. And this, not surprisingly in hindsight, created some friction that ultimately resulted in the band falling apart.

Skip declared he had only been in it for the girls, anyway – which may or may not have been the case.

Much later, Skip won a very nice electric guitar and gave a concert for two, demonstrating that he did know a few licks. He had probably learned what he had from brother Matt.

Until his health began to fail, Skip was a tireless supporter of a local band and was well known by patrons and staff alike at bars that featured live entertainment.

This was bluegrass Skip.

At home, he listened to jazz radio.

He also had a peculiar fondness for the flat, ironic delivery of First Nations humour that he fed by listening to a Six Nations radio station.

Bob Whiteley 1936-2009
March 3, 2009

Note from Bob Whiteley's Daughter to Bob Drew on March 3, 2009

I’m sorry to have to tell you that Dad has passed away this morning. It happened rather sooner than we had expected, but he had been very restless and uncomfortable the past few days and the nurse said he just went quietly in his sleep.

Dad did not want a funeral, but we are planning a reception in the near future for family and friends to gather and celebrate his life.

I know your lunch meeting is tomorrow so I would appreciate it if you would pass the news on to the other members. Dad so enjoyed getting together with everyone and reminiscing, and I’m sure he’ll be looking down, so raise a glass tomorrow in his honour and remember him fondly.

Take care,   Jenny

WHITELEY, Robert Scott - Passed away peacefully on March 3, 2009 at Cambridge Memorial Hospital in his 75th year. Robert (Bob) Whiteley, loving husband of the late Darlene (nee Schlumkoski, 2003). Beloved father of Jennifer and husband Andrew Beresford of Puslinch and Christopher and wife Anita Whiteley of Cambridge. Sadly missed by his grandsons, Nigel Beresford and Simon Whiteley. Survived by sister, Doris and her husband James Krueger of Cambridge. Dear companion of Irene Thompson of Kitchener. Bob was a retired employee of Babcock & Wilcox, Cambridge and had been a member of the Escorts and Strokers car clubs. Donations to the Canadian Cancer Society or the War Amps as expressions of sympathy would be appreciated.

Al Gardner 1948-2008
April 8, 2008

GARDNER, Albert - Passed away, at his residence, in Cambridge, on Tuesday, April 8, 2008, at the age of 60. Loving husband of Heather Gardner (nee Don). Beloved father of Derek (Agnes, nee Seremak) and Emily Gardner (Troy O'Handley). Albert will be missed by his four grandchildren. He is survived by his mother, Hazel Gardner; sisters, Meryle Frketich, Marion Donaldson and brother, Herbert Gardner. Predeceased by father, James Gardner. At Albert's request, cremation will take place and there will be no service. Expressions of sympathy made to Cambridge Memorial Hospital Medical Daycare or the charity of choice would be appreciated by the family.

 Robert (Bob) Young
January 24, 2008

Bob passed away while at his winter home in Mexico on January 24th.  A memorial service was held May 2nd at the Galt Country Club.  Bob is survived by his wife Janet of Cambridge and four daughters, Laurie, Kelly, Julie and Terry, and brother, Arthur

Bob spent the winters in Mexico seeking relief from

Thanks to Al Howlett for the background info

his arthritis.  He was an early member of the Strokers and was very involved in the early days of the Kohler dragstrip and published several early Canadian Hot Rod news magazines.


Bob operated his own business in Cambridge as a certified tax consultant.  Young & Company.

A donation in memory of Bob will be made by the club to the Arthritis Society or the Canadian Lung Association.


"Skunk" - Passed away peacefully, into his next phase on Wednesday morning Dec 28, after a valiant attempt to rid his body of modern day demons of personal health. He is free. Now to be with old friends.

Born Victoria Day, in 1947 (Kitchener), and raised in West Preston (Kresshill), by his mother and loving grandmother. Predeceased in 1977 by his cousin, Eric Christie, best friend, absolute mentor, the man that most believed in him, gave him good purpose and direction and coined his nickname. John was never comfortable with this man's early passing, ever.

A Hot rodder all his life starting with scale plastic auto kits and a bicycle with custom colour that had a steering wheel instead of bars. Most of his formative years were spent within the walls of the Motor Lords Car Club, Preston, located in Tessman's garage where he started learning his welding skills, later moving to the Stroker's Car Club at Delta Park, Galt. There he built his first Hot rod chassis which allowed him to secure a welder's job at Babcock's through a member's kindness and connections.

Throughout his life John was much more than an accomplished welder. He was a father, a son, a cousin and brother, a buddy and friend, a designer and fabricator.  An innovator. An artist.  As a competitive drag bike racer John set many records at the national level in both Canada and the U.S. His down-to-earth truth of character and varied gifts and talents endeared him to many from far and wide and from all walks of life.  With an insatiable thirst for knowledge he enthusiastically acted upon what he loved and in doing so enriched the lives of those that knew him. In short, John was a legend and will be deeply missed.

He is survived by his son, John Jr. and daughter-in-law, Susan Reid of Kitchener, mother, Ellen Currie of Cambridge.

Family will receive friends for visitation Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2 - 4 and 7 - 9 pm at Barthel's Funeral Home, 566 Queenston Rd. Cambridge. A memorial will take place at a later date. Thank-you to the nurses at CMH and Lissard House for their compassion and care. In lieu of flowers donations to the Canadian Cancer Society or Lissard House would be appreciated.

"See you out there"

                    If you have any memories of Skunk you wish to share, please forward to

Hello John:
It is with regret that I notice the passing of your father. After an absence of 40 odd years I was reacquainted with him at the Strokers reunion. We had several conversations at the meetings prior to the reunion about the good times we enjoyed so many years before. I was aware that he was not enjoying the best of heath at the time. This was preventing him from becoming as involved with the proceedings as he would have liked. He did however provide names and thoughts as to contacts that helped make the reunion the success that it ultimately became.

Unlike myself your father remained in contact with the Hot Rod hobby fraternity with a knowledge he shared with others. I am sure you will hear more about this in the celebration of his life and times.

I was reminded how "Skunk" and "Skip" would show up at the Strokers club on their bicycles and peer in the window to see what was going on. I being 15 years senior would be inside working on some project or other. I noticed the boys looking in on several occasions and went outside and invited them in one day. This was I think the start of their relationship with the Strokers. The club owned tools and welding equipment and I expect this may have been the start of a learning curve that served your dad well in the future. If I had any hand in this I am grateful for a productive life remembered at this time.

I moved to London Ontario in 1963 and kept track of only a few of the Strokers over the years. It was a joyful time at the reunion when a lot of us got together after so many years. Some of this has been carried on since that time through the internet and luncheon meetings. Regretfully I am not able to attend the visitation on Tuesday. Being in my seventy's I do not enjoy the trips back to Cambrige (Galt) in the winter. We do have lots of connections there. My Mother who will be 100 in March is in St. Lukes. My son Chris and wife Evelina live on Norfolk Avenue.
Former Stroker
"Big Al"  Howlett
London Ontario

Ken Beattie
Dec 2, 2005


The Beattie family asked that all donations be made to The Help A Child Smile fund.  The Club will make a donation on Ken's behalf.

As I am sure you know Ken was in the club at the same time as his brother Dave. He did not attend the reunion for family reasons but that is of little consequence at this time.

Harold Dale

If anyone has any photos or memories of Ken, please email same to

Doug Crawford

Doug died suddenly at Alexander Marine Hospital, in Goderich, January 18, 2005.

Doug was surrounded by his loving family, wife Mary Margaret (nee Fearon), sons Andrew James and Charles William and daughter-in-law Tanya. Special Poppa of Brady Douglas and Emilie May. He will be missed by his constant companions Ben and Woodstock.

Doug was born in Galt 66 years ago. He attended St. Andrews Public, Dickson Public and G.C.I. schools. He was a member of the Strokers Car Club and worked at Kralinator Filters for 38 years.

Doug and Mary enjoyed retirement in Goderich where Doug nurtured his love of gardening plus his appreciation of jazz. Doug's love of family plus his integrity will long be remembered. "He has just gone out for a puff." A celebration of Doug's life was held at Little's Funeral Home in Cambridge (Galt) on Sunday, January 23, 2005  Remembrances to the S.P.C.A. would be greatly appreciated by the family.

        Representing the Stroker's at Doug's service was Gary Thede, Bob Drew, Andy Marsh, Skip Mathieson, John "Skunk" Galbraith, Larry Ray and Paul Cassel




ROBINSON, Thomas Wellesley

Location: Cambridge
ROBINSON, Thomas Wellesley Passed away at his residence, in Cambridge, on Wednesday, December 7, 2011, at the age of 69. Thomas will be sadly missed by his children Sherry Robinson (Rob Brown), Terry Robinson and their mother Gail Blanchette. Cherished grandfather of Caithrin Rintoul, Jenna Brown, Amber Gallant, Jaami Robinson and great-grandfather of Conor and Bentley. Dear brother of Ted Robinson (Lorraine), Jack Robinson (Marilyn), Connie McCrorey (Bill), Garry Robinson (Jane) and Sandra Cassidy (Alan). He will be remembered by many nieces, nephews, family and friends. Memorial Services will be conducted in the chapel of Corbett Funeral Home, 95 Dundas St., Cambridge, on Monday, December 12, 2011 at 11 a.m., with visitation to be held one hour prior. As expressions of sympathy, donations made to the Canadian Diabetes Association would be appreciated by the family


Harvey Paul "Paul" CASSEL

CASSEL, Harvey Paul "Paul" An amazing man, drew his final breath April 30, 2012. Beloved wife, Marel, devoted sister Blanche and loyal, loving friends and relatives remember his passion for people, photography, classic Mustangs and all things wireless. He was a CKCO employee, an entrepreneur co-owning a successful pager and tower company, VP for Bell Canada's Pager Division and a RIM consultant. Paul was a licensed HAM radio enthusiast for 50 years. He will be missed around the world as VE3SY and here at home as the man who could make you smile, with a deep voice that warmed hearts. Predeceased by his parents Harvey and Bernice. Paul's family will receive relatives and friends from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. on Friday, May 4, 2012, at the Henry Walser Funeral Home , 507 Frederick St., Kitchener, 519-749-8467. A private memorial celebration will be held at a later date. As expressions of sympathy, donations to Hospice Wellington or the Grand River Hospital Foundation would be appreciated by the family (cards available at the funeral home). Special thank you to the compassionate staff of both Grand River Hospital and Hospice Wellington for all the love and care given to Paul. Visit for Paul's memorial



John (Jack REID

REID, John (Jack) In his 76th year, Jack passed away peacefully at home on January 22, 2014, surrounded by his family. Jack will be sadly missed by his wife Marguerite, four children, Murray (Pat), Michael (Priscilla), Donna, Allan, and four grandchildren, Christine (Evan), Harrison, Sara and John. Jack had a wonderful 40 year career in sales in the footwear industry with Greb and Canada West. As per Jack's wishes, he has been cremated and a celebration of his Life with Family and Friends will take place at a later date. A special thanks to Leslie and Jenna of St. Elizabeth. In lieu of flowers a donation to Southlake Hospital, Cancer Clinic, would be greatly appreciated. Arrangements entrusted to In Memoriam Transfer Service Inc.




Additional Members Who Have Passed

Tom Tonner
Frank Trevor Doug Picoski Tom Burrows
Jim Watson Tom Williams Ed Logan Gary (Matt) Mathieson
Peter Spurgeon Brian Cody