Gail’s Celebration of Life
Please note there will be a date change for the Celebration of Life Service.
Friday, June 19, 2020 at The Fort Garry Hotel, 222 Broadway Avenue, Winnipeg, MB., between 17:30 – 21:00. Please RSVP by June 2, 2020 to Gail.FinalBoardingCall@gmail.com. In lieu of flowers, please donate to any of Gail’s favourite charities.
Gail’s Life Story
Gail Myra Morberg, 79, passed away on Thursday, February 27, 2020. She was the widow of Arnold Morberg and they shared 44 years of marriage together. The two co-founded Calm Air International in 1962 and it grew to be one of Canada’s largest privately owned regional airlines.
Gail was born on April 15, 1940 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to parents John and Edna Tratch. Her family along with her three sisters; Joan, Myrle, and Joyce, grew up in Wakaw, Saskatchewan. She leaves behind her four children; Marion (Walter Baschuk), Nelson (Toni), Margo (Brian Berry), and Monica (Lionel Janzen) as well as her six grandchildren Kalie, Madison, Raynie, Carl, Paige and Max, and four step-grandchildren Dale (Kate) Conroy, Mark (Crissy Ranellucci), Kristin (Chris) Beach, Kody (Kelsey) Janzen, and seven step-great grandchildren Van, Annie, Royal, Wylder, Quinn, Emma, and Vivienne.
Gail and Arnold met in 1959 in Saskatoon at the car dealership where Gail worked and Arnold became employed as a car salesman. Soon after Arnold swept Gail off her feet and they married in 1961. Thus began Gail’s life as an explorer, adventurer, and entrepreneur. These were not glamorous days but they were work-hard-play-hard days that both Gail and Arnold recalled very fondly. While moving north to Black Lake to build and operate a fishing lodge was not exactly what Gail had in mind for her life, she did it like she did everything, with enthusiasm and a smile. Gail ran the guest service operations at the lodge and this meant doing the cooking, cleaning, ordering, and much of the entertaining as well as supervising the people she hired to do whatever she didn’t have the time to do herself. This was all while birthing and raising three children (Monica came later). Gail’s experience at the lodge really developed her skills as a host and she was renowned in the north for her cooking skills and her personal brand of northern hospitality.
When Gail and Arnold moved to Lynn Lake and grew Calm Air in Northern Manitoba and Nunavut, Gail would wake and go to the airport to get the morning flights off, come home and get the kids off to school and then return to the airport for the admin work of the day. She was also a substitute teacher, and with her friend Loretta Clark, developed and ran the figure skating program in Lynn Lake. She fundraised tirelessly for the rinks (skating and curling) and threw the famous annual “Calm Air Christmas Party” where they flew all their staff in from their home communities. Wherever they lived, Gail and Arnold hosted amazing parties, brought strangers travelling in the north home for dinner and embraced their staff like family.
In 1985, as Calm Air grew, Gail and Arnold moved south to Thompson, Manitoba where they again threw themselves into the community and its causes and made a difference to so many people. There were business struggles during this time too, they had a strategic partnership with Canadian Airlines that sometimes left Gail and Arnold feeling they didn’t have control of their company. This ended in the bankruptcy of Canadian Airlines and the opportunity for Gail and Arnold to buy all their shares back. Following this transition, Air Canada came calling for the same arrangement but Gail and Arnold had learned their lesson and Arnold declined the offer in his typical pointed fashion.
Through this turbulent time, Gail co-chaired and fundraised for the Manitoba Winter Games which were held in Thompson in 1994 and was one of the founding members of the Thompson Community Foundation. Calm Air’s 10k run was started and the two, through Calm Air, contributed to countless community projects and events. During this time, Gail and Arnold moved from Thompson to Paint Lake where Gail made a beautiful home. The two of them, hosted their board members, business associates, friends and neighbours; and Arnold, along with running Calm Air, cleared his neighbours driveways and delivered their newspapers.
After Arnold’s passing in 2005, Gail returned to Calm Air. A true pioneer for the aviation industry, in 2008 she was named Manitoba Business Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year.
In 2009 Gail sold Calm Air, retired for the second time and moved to Winnipeg. Gail kept true to her mission to help northerners and the north where she and Arnold created their success, as well as her new community. As a philanthropist, Gail donated generously to numerous national and local charities and organizations including but not limited to, Canadian Liver Foundation, Morberg House, Salome Mission, A Port in a Storm, Winnipeg Foundation, and Winnipeg Harvest.
Gail was a kind, gentle, and extremely charitable soul. She had more excitement and adventure in her life than most will experience in three lifetimes. She handled absolutely everything with grace and humour and showed her love for her family, neighbours and community in countless ways no matter what else was going on. She was an inspiration to all who knew her and she will be fondly remembered as a great cook, warm and welcoming friend and neighbour, and loving mother, grandmother, aunt and big sister.< back to obituary listing