John Henry Wilson
June 28, 1929 – December 12, 2020
John passed away from natural causes at the age of 91, survived by his loving wife Judy and family. John was born in Miami, Manitoba to Walter and Ada Wilson, farmers who immigrated from Lincolnshire, England in 1922. As the great depression hit, the family moved first to Portage la Prairie, then onto Lochiel near Langley, BC. These were challenging times for the large family with older siblings Evelyn and Hayden, and younger ones Irene, Myrtle, Walter, and Shirley. Devoted to the well-being of his family, John worked hard to help support in ways he could such as traveling 17 miles to deliver papers daily. Twice a day, everyday he grazed cattle for two hours which netted 30 cents per week. John was fun-loving and played well too, including the typical boyhood mischief. You know, build a tire swing, it breaks, you land on top of your best friend, knock the wind out of him, and think you killed him! Or climbing to the top of a pole over 100 feet high just to stand on top of it! A great achievement for John was purchasing a Luscombe 8F airplane and getting both his Private Pilot License and Commercial License. Owing to his eyesight, a commercial career in aviation was not to be, so John followed his brother into the plumbing trade, beginning with Fred Welsh Mechanical in Vancouver. He was proud of helping build Vernon Jubilee Hospital and a radar station at Prince George at -50c! His career was mainly spent in the municipality of Coquitlam where he rose to Chief Plumbing Inspector. John raised his family in Coquitlam, marrying Charlene Pearce in 1958, then having children Duanne (Nancy), Derek (Pamela), and Laurene (Tim). When his marriage ended, John raised his children in their family home and did an outstanding job. Great adventures included a canoe trip on the Bowron Lakes and a long-dreamed camping trip around the Alaska highway.
In 1990, upon retirement and finding his nest empty, John was free to golf, relax, and meet his soul mate. He struck platinum on the first try when friends introduced him to Judy Mayers, whom he married in 1993. Thirty years together provided them with much time to explore in their RV, with the greatest journey taking them across Canada to Newfoundland and back. They both scored holes-in-one at golf in the same round, earning them mention in Golf Digest and the newspaper. They dined and danced with friends, taking home a trophy or two for waltzing! They delighted in time with their cherished blended family, Janet (Tom), Diana (Dan), and Michael (Rhonda) and all their grandchildren Joel (Courtnee), Michael (Heather), Melissa (Matt), Emily (Ryan), Joanna (Steven), Tamara (Hayden), John (Kaity), Spencer, Tyler (Sydney), Kevin (Sarah), and one very precious great granddaughter Sofie. They built a beautiful home large enough for 27 immediate family members to dine at one very long table. The basement lounge doubled as their dance hall for practice with dancing buddies. “Uncle John” was also beloved by his many nieces, nephews, and their children.
When it came to his relationships, John was kind, gentle, loving, dependable, honourable, and hard working. He always found time for holidays, special celebrations, and activities like Scouts, games, skating, golfing, biking, and walking. He was up for silly stuff too such as getting his hair done by the children and boxing with oven mitts while cooking supper. John was a terrific storyteller, delighting his listeners with witty tales of his life experiences or a good joke. John showed his love through problem-solving and projects: plumbing, cabin construction, wood chopping, car repairs, or anything to do with his hands. Either he knew how or would figure it out and do a great job. So many of us learned our handy skills as his apprentice. John had a lifelong love of animals too, beginning with his own retrievers that accompanied him hunting. All family pets, including a rescue hen and our dogs got special attention and love from John.
John had a wonderful, long, happy life and we were all so fortunate to have him all these years.
A special thank you to our siblings: Janet for staying with John and Judy during COVID isolation so that they could remain in their beautiful condo this year; Diana for always being there to help when John’s health faltered; Michael for coordinating the recent move; and Derek for coordinating dad’s health needs. Thanks also to the staff of Ridge Meadows Hospital who helped John rest peacefully in his final hours.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Heart Fund c/o Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation would be appreciated.
John’s celebration of life will be delayed until a safe gathering can be held.