Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings…”
-John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Colonel John Lewis “Lew” TWAMBLEY, OMM, CD (b. May 29th, 1929), peacefully surrounded by family in Langley, British Columbia, in his 90th year on July 17th, 2018. Predeceased by mother Ivy Twambley, father Robert Twambley, son Van Twambley, and loving wife, Victoria of 67 years. Born in Port Arthur, Ontario, Lew was raised in Montreal, Quebec. In 1947, Lew joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), as a member of the first post-World War II flight cadet pilot course. He received his commission as a pilot officer, in October 1948.
In 1948, Lew met his beloved Victoria while stationed in Nova Scotia. They were married in 1949 and had three children. Lew’s service to Canada saw him and his family stationed all over Canada and the world, including postings to Germany and the United States. Lew retired from the Canadian Forces in 1984, after completing 37 years of exemplary service to Canada. For his dedication Lew was appointed as an Officer in the Order of Military Merit. After his retirement, Lew served as the Director of the Markham District Historical Museum, for ten years.
Lew’s colleagues knew him as a determined, intelligent leader and his family knew him as a loving, dedicated father. He was the kind of person who was unquestionably guided by his principles. He had the courage to face both physical danger and the moral obligation to do the right thing in any given situation. He demanded both honour and integrity from himself and those around him; he could always be counted on to tell you what you needed to hear, not necessarily what you wanted to hear, very often unsolicited. Despite his sometimes forward and bracing nature, he was a loyal true friend and father; in times of adversity, there is no one else who one would rather have on their side; and his advice and counsel will be greatly missed.
In his spare time, Lew enjoyed model trains, poetry, jazz records, and reading books on general and military histories. Victoria and he continued their interest in live theater, travelling, in particular cruising well into later life. He maintained his interest in the RCAF through memberships in the Aircrew Association, the Pre-War RCAF Club, the Air Force Association, and the All-Weather Fighter Association.
Lew leaves behind a proud and grateful family who will miss him dearly. Lew is survived by his daughters Jill Bloom (Larry) and Kym McFadden (John); grandchildren Julie Parchewsky, Jef Palframan, James Palframan, Leigh McFadden, Blair McFadden and Kym Richards; and great-grandchildren Justice, Deavyn, Taite, Desmond, Sophie and Jack. A private family internment ceremony will be held with a memorial service to be announced for a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations to VETS Canada would be appreciated.