Sean Ganley

Sean Francis Ganley

November 26 1946 - January 17 2024

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Obituary of Sean Francis Ganley

If you’re not having a good time, it’s your own fault.


Sean passed peacefully in his sleep on January 17, 2024, following a significant health struggle in recent years. Sean fought that battle with intense determination, ever refusing to stay knocked down, and beating the odds time after time.


He leaves behind his loving wife of 51 years, Mary Lou, who was a life partner in the truest sense, and provided unwavering support on Sean’s long medical journey; his son Patrick (Kathy) and his grandson, Sean (b. 2022). Sean was so grateful to spend time and bond with his namesake for the last year, the two shared special moments together, including spilling tea and biscuits on their shirts and hard-fought staring competitions.


Sean was born on November 26, 1946 in Athlone, County Westmeath, in the heart of Ireland. The Ganley family immigrated to Canada in 1956, landing in their new home, Windsor, Ontario. The third of fifteen children, Sean enjoyed growing up in Windsor and doing his best to stay out of trouble, spending many long summer days on the banks of the Detroit River and swimming in its strong currents.


Sean set goals and then set out to attack them. Graced with good looks and witty banter, Sean found success at a variety of interesting jobs prior to attending the University of Windsor in 1970. That decision paid off, as it’s where he met the love of his life, Mary Lou, who he quickly fell in love with. The two of them let the good times roll, taking many cherished trips over years including a road trip across Europe, sailing around the Caribbean, and returning to Ireland to visit family.


Sean and Mary Lou married in 1973, and began a life in Toronto shortly thereafter, where Sean started his career at the Campbell Soup Company. In his 16 years at Campbell’s, Sean worked his way up to Manager of Distribution and Warehousing. This kicked off a successful career in distribution and logistics, where Sean’s leadership, creativity and ability to solve problems took him to a role he greatly enjoyed – Director of Logistics for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Prior to his official retirement in 2011, Sean oversaw all Canadian distribution centres, and spearheaded the construction of one of Canada’s largest DCs in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Sean was a devoted and loving father to his son, Patrick, with whom he shared an immense bond. Sean did more than show up to watch games, taking on important and impactful roles of coaching, managing, and fundraising for many baseball and hockey teams. Some of the happiest years of his life were spent as “Coach”, another role he excelled in. He’s served as a coach and a mentor to so many, on and off the field, regularly offering important life lessons that weren’t short on fun. 


In 2011, Sean and Mary Lou moved back to Windsor just as Sean always dreamed of, a house on the Detroit River with a dock and a boat. Sean enjoyed many days and evenings on the water, just as he had over 50 years earlier, regularly taking family and friends out for “evening cruises”, or sitting in the backyard watching the sun bounce off the river as it set over the Detroit skyline.


An avid sport and fishermen, Sean took every chance he could to get on a golf course or in a fishing boat. He also enjoyed a rugby career that lasted longer than Mary Lou or his employer thought reasonable. Sean fondly recalled the many golf and fishing trips with family and friends over the years, and cherished time spent taking Patrick on fly-in fishing trips with their close friends; often feeling recharged after return from the freedom and lawlessness of “Man Camp”.


A good Windsor boy, Sean was a die-hard fan of the Detroit Lions, Tigers, and the Michigan Wolverines. He had remarkable depth on each team’s roster including who was on it, where they came from, and what was expected of them. Ball games were not to be missed, and anyone who caught one with Sean knows there is “no chit chat when the game is on”. Sean loved hosting legendary Super Bowl parties, and although he never saw his Lions win one, he stuck around long enough to see their first playoff win in 32 years.


You could regularly catch Sean with a line in the water sitting on the break wall at the “Riverhouse”. If Sean wasn’t on or in the water, he could probably be found working out in his garage, fighting back against every physical ailment that came his way, taking every step they said he’d never take again. He received some tough hands, and consistently beat the odds, always personifying a true rage, rage against the dying of the light. Despite his decline in health, he maintained his wit and unparalleled sense of humour, steadfastly refusing to let his pain impact those around him.


He kept his mind sharp. He immersed himself in reading and keeping up to date on current events; he was an encyclopedia of information on so many topics, from finance and geopolitics to automobiles and economics. If something caught his interest, he would pursue it with keen curiosity until he understood all sides of it. There wasn’t a subject you could bring up that he didn’t know something about, or have an opinion on. He enjoyed insightful discussions and debates with anyone who wanted to step in the ring over a cup of tea at his kitchen table.


Sean was beloved and will be deeply missed by family and friends in Windsor, Toronto, across Canada and around the world. Sean was predeceased by his parents (Sean 2002 and Marion 2010), and by his brothers Bernard (2004) (Denise 2018), Patrick (1952), Ciaran (2022) and Dermot (2021). He is survived by his siblings Michael (Colleen), Maura (Larry 2020), Deirdre (Doug), Jimmy (Joan), Cathleen (Greg), Brendan (Shelly), Colm, Alana (Elio 2022), Emmett, Aileen (Chris) and sisters-in-law Rose, and Debra. Sean will be missed by many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and nephews, as well as cousins in Canada and Ireland, all of whom he shared tremendous memories with over the years.


The family would like to send a special and heartfelt thank you to Dr. Mark Wheatcroft at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, his vascular team, and a long list of talented and caring nurses and professionals who provided Sean with world-class care and let us all spend more time with him. We are so grateful.


Time to rest now, Sean – your work is done. You did so well. May you rest in peace, always lifted by the love of those to whom you’ve given so much.



Cremation has taken place. A celebration of life will be held in Windsor at a later date.


Donations may be made to the Windsor Residence for Young Men or a charity of your choice.