Gary Alan Paynton

Gary Alan Paynton was born to Lester and Audrey Paynton in Enderby on October 8, 1951. The family lived in Princeton, Sicamous and Salmon Arm. Gary attended Junior and Senior HIgh School in Salmon Arm, BC. In Junior High, from 1965-1967, he played hockey for the Salmon Arm Midget Reps and, in 1967 at the Quesnel tournament, he won the best goaltender award. Gary found out later that he was being watched by a NHL scout. Gary loved hockey but he found it difficult to get to the arena by himself with all his gear, so he turned to basketball. He graduated from Salmon Arm Senior Secondary in 1970. From 1970-1972, Gary attended Mount Royal College on a basketball scholarship. While at Mount Royal College, Gary was voted on to the All-Star Conference basketball team for Alberta two years in a row. Gary married Diane in April, 1972 and they moved back to Salmon Arm where he became the assistant coach for the Salmon Arm Jewels. In 1974 Gary and Diane moved to Lethbridge where Gary attended the University of Lethbridge. From 1974-1976, he played for the Lethbridge Pronghorns. In 1979 Gary received his BA in Sociology and Recreation Administration. During this time, from 1976-1977, he was head coach of the Lethbridge Community College womens’ basketball team, the Kodiettes. From 1978-1979, he was the assistant coach for the mens’ basketball team, the Lethbridge Pronghorms. In 1983, Gary had an opportunity to purchase a Taco Time in Lloydminster. During this time, he sponsored and played on slow pitch and basketball teams. Around this time, Gary was instrumental in starting a chapter of the Alberta Basketball Referees Association in Lloydminster. Gary played, coached, and was a referee for all levels of amateur basketball in Canada. In 1984, Gary and Diane welcomed their son Tyler. In 1985, the family moved back to Salmon Arm where he, along with his brothers Darryl and Steve, worked on designing and launching Canadian Flotation Systems. In 1993 Gary moved to Calgary and attended SAIT, where he received a certificate in Recreation Facilities Operations and Maintenance with a 3.6 grade point average. During this time, he was the manager/trainer of the SAIT Trojans mens basketball team. Gary was very proud of all his accomplishments in life, from being a young forest ranger earning his own money to go to camp, to playing hockey and being really good at it, to playing basketball where he excelled. But Gary was most proud of his son Tyler who graduated High School in 2004 and at that time joined the Canadian Reserves.Tyler graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 2007 with a BA in History. In 2009 Tyler volunteered for a tour of duty in Afghanistan as a Corporal in Artillery. He came home safe and proud in June 2010. At the young age of 8, Gary almost lost his life when his kidneys shut down and fluid got into his lungs. The doctors did not think he would recover but after a two and a half month stay in hospital, he came home. Gary had a fighting spirit all his life. As a very young child, Gary felt awkward and different and throughout his life he knew that something didn’t feel right. Through extensive counsel and psychology, he was diagnosed as being born with a gender disorder and was a candidate for sex reassignment surgery. In 2002, Gary made a very brave decision to follow his heart and instinct, and went to Montreal. July 1, 2002, Sonya Alana Paynton finally found peace and contentment, and with all of her past experiences, Sonya started a new chapter of her life. She had a good jobs at Westec and Luff Industries in Calgary, surrounded herself with supporting family and lots of good friends. With her love for billiards and her great skill of the game, Sonya played for pleasure, as well as on a competitive level and she did very well. Sonya was diagnosed with cancer in November, 2008. She fought it and seemed to be winning until April, 2010. Sonya had time to reflect on her life and her accomplishments and spent quality time with friends and family whom she loved very much. She knew that we were very proud of her and loved her very much. Sonya taught us loyalty, courage, humility, strength and the meaning of respect. We will miss her beautiful smile, her quick wit, her sharp mind, her sense of humour and her great kindness. She had a quiet strength about her and fought hard. Sonya quietly left us on July 17, 2010 in the loving arms of her sisters and is now at peace. Sonya was predeceased by three very important people in her life, her mother Audrey Paynton, her older brother Darryl Paynton and her brother in law Gordon Turner. She is survived by her son Tyler and his mother Diane of Calgary, AB, her father and stepmother Lester and Ethel Paynton of Canoe, BC, her brother Steve (Marlene) Paynton and family of Canoe, BC, her sister Marlene Turner and family of Fort St. John, BC, and her sister Sandra Nelson (Darren DePagie) and family of Airdrie, AB, with whom she lived with for the last few months of her life, where she received the best care, love and support that a sister can give. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. In lieu of flowers, her request was a donation in her memory to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre (albertacancer.ca/sonya_paynton).