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Monday June 19, 2017

Jerry Sheldon Appleby

Family man. Hard worker. Athlete.

Friend. Born Aug. 15, 1945, in Toronto; died Nov. 5, 2016, in Toronto, of a heart attack; aged 71.

Jerry Appleby always had a story. The best ones involved some trouble-making. And the stories - whether it was rolling down a hill in High Park into an open tin can, leaving a lifelong scar below his eye; barbecuing a salami sandwich on the iron forge during a high-school shop class; or missing a train in Italy (abandoning his wife and friends) because he wanted ice cream - made everyone laugh.

Red faced, with tears of joy flowing, Jerry laughed the hardest.

Jerry's work ethic was a driving force in his life. As a teenager, he worked at many different jobs all year long (including selling The Globe and Mail at the Canadian National Exhibition). During his final year of "study" at the University of Akron, where he played semi-pro hockey, he was called home to Toronto as his father was ill. Work kept him in Toronto, as he immediately took over his father's independent newspaper distribution business to support the family. The job required late nights and early mornings to deliver The Globe to newsstands, stores and newspaper boxes.

Despite the irregular work hours, he found time to plan and host one of Toronto's first singles parties aboard the Sam McBride ferry boat in Toronto Harbour in August, 1970. Here, he met his blond bride-to-be, Gwen. A whirlwind romance resulted in a wedding on Dec. 25 that year, not because it was a shotgun wedding but because it was the only day of the year The Globe did not publish.

Two years later, Jerry would buy his first and only house house in Armour Heights. This home, with a beautiful backyard and white picket fence that he loved, was where he and Gwen raised a daughter and a son, Lainie and Jeffrey, and shared many special times with family and friends.

After Jerry left the newspaper business, he had many other vocations including owning cigar stores, lottery kiosks and ultimately spending 28 years in commercial real estate. As a result of all these jobs over so many years, Jerry knew the city inside-out and all the hidden gems it offered.

Jerry had an ability to connect with people in a personal and meaningful way. He knew so many people from all walks of life. Everywhere he went, whether at home or abroad, he always saw a friend or an acquaintance.

When his children started their careers, it was not unusual for someone to ask if they were related to Jerry.

Jerry also played hard; he was a natural and lifelong athlete, boxing regularly for 25 years at the Cabbagetown Boxing Club and excelling at both hockey and golf. He played hockey twice weekly for more than 65 years and for his 70th birthday teed off at Pebble Beach with his son.

Jerry always said he would never retire and he never did. Up until his last hours, he was on the phone working on deals enthusiastically. Jerry is deeply missed by his extended family.

We will remember his smile and stories forever.

Gwen Appleby is Jerry's wife. Lainie and Jeffrey Appleby are his children.

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