Grimsby Newspapers
Death Calls Old Soldier
Grimsby Independent, 16 Dec 1948, p. 21,22

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Publication:
16 Dec 1948
Date Of Event:
10 Dec 1948
Personal Name(s):
Teeter, Owen
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.20011 Longitude: -79.56631
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Full Text

Owen Teeter, Grimsby born man, a casualty of World War One has been confined to military hospitals since 1918 - Enlisted from western Canada - "Lost" by family for many years.

In Canadian military hospitals ever since coming back to Canada as a casualty of World War 1, in 1918, Owen Teeter died at Westminster Hospital, London, on Friday, December 10, 1948.

He had been a patient at Westminster for over 28 years, and prior to that had been at Christie Street Hospital, Toronto.

In his 65th year, he was born at Grimsby on April 4, 1884, a son of the late Nelson and Mary Teeter. As a young man he went to western Canada where he enlisted after the outbreak of war, going overseas with a western regiment of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.

His sole survivor is a sister, Mrs. Edward Atkin of North Tonawanda, N.Y.

Funeral services were conducted by Rev. George McLean and the Canadian Legion at the Stonehouse Funeral Home Monday afternoon. Interment was made in the Plot of Remembrance, Queen's Lawn Cemetery.

(Reprinted from The Independent of February 26th, 1936)

About 51 years ago there was born in Grimsby, a son, the second one, to the late Mr. and Mrs. Nelson J. Teeter, who resided on the east side of Main Street west, opposite the present United Church (then St. John's Presbyterian). This son was named Owen and he grew up to be quite a chunk of a lad. One of those devil-may-care laughing youngsters, who could sing a little, dance a little, whistle a little and talk incessantly, hence the soubriquet of "Gabby", which early attached itself to him.

When only 16 years old "Gabby" decided that the effete east was too crowded for his style and he hied himself away to the "Last Great West" to build railroads and grow up with the country. He was gone for 5 years and seldom wrote a letter home, but one cold day in November he turned up at home.

He stayed home for a few months and then got itchy feet again and away he went. This was in 1905 and he was only heard from occasionally until 1913 when all communications ceased.

In the spring of 1920 - 7 long years had flown - Mrs. Edwin Adkins, a sister, received a letter from a nurse in the soldiers' hospital at New Westminster, B.C., asking if she had a brother by the name of Teeter, as a man of that name was under her care, that he sent no letters and received none and was very vague as to whom his relatives were or where he came from.

Mrs. Adkins immediately answered this letter, but strange to relate, never received a reply or heard anything more from the nurse or from any other source. Mrs. Adkins was greatly worried as was the father, who then was closely crowding the four score year mark.

As no answer came to their letters, Mr. Teeter appealed to The Independent to help track down the mystery, and see if the Teeter referred to by the nurse was his long lost son.

Lieut. J.A.M. Livingston, then Business Manager of this paper, and a war veteran himself, took the case up and after many months of correspondence and delving into militia records, the militia department finally agreed to have the man removed from the hospital at Esquimalt, B.C. to Westminster sanitarium at London, where the father and sister could visit him, and if it really were Owen Teeter, conclusively identify him and clear up another mystery.

This was done and the family visited the man it sure enough was "Gabby", strong and healthy physically, but permanently a patient of the institution, owing to mental deficiencies caused by shell shock and other war injuries.

Records showed that at the outbreak of war in 1914, he enlisted and went overseas, serving three years in the trenches and then several months in hospital in England. On being returned to Canada, it was natural that he be sent to a hospital in British Columbia, as that is where he enlisted from. Had it not been for the nurse writing that chance letter, Owen Teeter's whereabouts would probably still be unknown.

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Death Calls Old Soldier