Friends and Family Name Rooftop Garden Bench in Memory of George Wyles
“George was fun-loving, charismatic, and had a heart of gold,” says George Wyles’ closest friend Elvis. “He would give the shirt off his back to help the people he cared about. And he had the ability to bring sunshine to even the hardest of days.”
George and Elvis had the kind of friendship that felt more like family.
“My mom loved George and he loved my mom. I’ll never forget when she was sick and she snuck an olive in front of George,” says Elvis. “After she passed, when George would come over, he would always bring a single olive to honour her presence in a way that made us both smile.”
“He was very empathic and was always there to talk things through if you were having a hard day,” says George’s brother Derek. “Everybody loved him.”
One of George’s passions was gardening. His apartment was full of potted plants and his balcony only had room for two seats; the rest being home to George’s ever-growing collection. And when George left his apartment, it wasn’t unusual for him to come home with another plant or two.
George worked at Humber River Hospital for 32 years and was the Clerical Associate in Humber’s Mental Health & Addictions Program for the Child & Adolescent Inpatient Unit. When Humber opened its Wilson Site, George was most excited about the rooftop garden. He loved planting with the kids. He loved his job, and continued working until he became ill.
Derek was able to be by George’s bedside during his final days as a patient at Humber River Hospital, where he slept on the convertible sleeper chair in his room.
“The whole team was amazing,” says Derek. “One after another, George’s colleagues visited him to say goodbye. It was really special to see how much of a community my brother had here at Humber.”
Keep smiling, it suits you!
After George passed away, Derek started a fundraising page in his brother’s memory. His goal was to fundraise enough to name a bench on the Mental Health & Addictions rooftop garden in George’s honour.
“No matter how much we raised, I knew I was going to name that bench in memory of George,” says Derek. “George saw a lot of beauty watching things grow. The garden was the perfect place.”
Derek only had to mention the fundraising page once and it took off, with friends, family, and co-workers coming together in support of George’s bench.
This summer, Humber River Hospital Foundation unveiled the bench with George’s plaque.
“I asked the Foundation to include the line: Keep smiling, it suits you! I hope that anyone in that garden, no matter what they’re going through, can take a deep breath and go back inside with a smile on their face,” says Derek.
He and Elvis plan to visit the garden every year, to bring a flower to George’s bench.
Tribute gifts are one of many ways families like George’s choose to honour and remember their loved ones. To make an In Memory donation, click here or contact Saneh Singh, Senior Officer, Annual Giving at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (416) 242-1000 ext. 81517.
Thank you to George’s family and friends for sharing his story and for choosing to support Humber River Hospital Foundation.