Celebrating the Life of

 

 

Jonathan Davis Pitts

 

Born

July 6, 1946

Atlanta, Georgia

 

Died

February 18, 2018

Orillia, Ontario

At the age of 71

 

We lost our beloved brother, John, on February 18, 2018.  John was a man of tremendous caring and compassion who touched many lives in positive ways.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on July 6, 1946 to Beverly Swendiman Pitts and Guy Cleon Pitts, he was the second of three children.  John’s gentle nature was apparent even as a child. 

After growing up and graduating from high school in Atlanta, John was at first not sure what he was going to do with his life.

A major turning point in John’s life came in the form of an induction notice from the local draft board during the Vietnam War.  John’s deep sense of morality and respect for human life did not allow him to go to a country half way around the world and kill people only because our government said to do so.  John applied to be a conscientious objector but was turned down because our family was not involved in organized religion.  John then made his decision to go to Canada, a country that he came to love dearly.

John lived in the Toronto area for several years before moving to the Orillia countryside and eventually buying a piece of land which he called the Sweetwater Farm.  John lived self-sufficiently on the farm, growing his own food, caring for the land, and generously giving his time and energy to help friends and contribute to local causes.  During this time on the farm, John met and married Kathleen Milligan with whom he shared almost 32 years.  To his great sorrow, he lost her in 2012. Some of our most cherished memories are Christmases we spent on the farm with John and Kathleen.

John’s love for nature was ever present in his life with snow shoeing and cross country skiing in the winter months, and biking, hiking and camping in the spring, summer, and fall.  He routinely shared all these activities with his best friends.  At the time of his death he was volunteering with the Orillia Youth Centre to plan and lead outdoor excursions for the youth.  

During these years on the farm, John received an Outdoor Education Certificate from Georgian College in Barrie which led to his teaching cross-country skiing at Horseshoe Valley for several years.  He also earned an Addictions Counselor degree from George Brown College in Toronto which led to his becoming a counselor for Simcoe Outreach Services for 12 years.  John enjoyed his work with his clients for whom he had great respect.  He considered it an honor to serve them.

John also became a Canadian citizen during these years.  He was very proud of his Canadian citizenship and considered it a privilege. 

John had a great commitment to causes that preserve nature, protect animals, promote non-violence, and help individual people in need.  He believed in working locally, doing whatever needed to be done, whether it was another pair of hands and a strong back or just someone to listen and care.  No job was too small or menial.  His contributions to his community were many and reflected his basic belief in the goodness of people and the need to restructure society so that it would better nourish human growth.  John was a founding member of the food co-op in Orillia.  The spiritually based Book Circle that John and friends established used the word “circle” intentionally to signify that it was a circle of equals with no one person in charge.  It still meets weekly in Orillia, as does the meditation group John co-founded.  John was also instrumental in establishing the Arts for Peace festival which has been held annually for the last 35 years in Orillia.  The men’s group, of which he was a founding member and participant, still meets regularly in Orillia.  It was the men’s group as well as his many outdoor activities that deepened his friendship with his dear friends Doug, Don, Murray, Dave, and several others who meant so much to him.   

One of John’s greatest passions was non-violence.  John believed that treating each other with respect and compassion was essential and that we can learn to do so with the skills of non-violent communication.  To that end John trained himself in non-violent communication by extensive reading and attending workshops and conferences based on the work of Marshall Rosenberg.  John then began donating his time and expertise to teach non-violent communication through free public workshops and seminars in Orillia.

John worked extensively as a volunteer in efforts that reflected the values he lived daily; the many causes he volunteered with include Couchiching Conservancy, Orillia Youth Centre, Ploughshares, and Transition Town.

John was a gentle, peaceful man who gave more to the world than he took from it.  He will be greatly missed by his many friends and his constant feline companion, Dollie.  His gentleness, compassion, and loving and generous nature are a great loss to all who were fortunate enough to know him.

A special thank you to the people of Canada, and especially Orillia, who welcomed John to your country, became his close friends, and enriched his life immeasurably.                           

John is survived by his sister Kathy (Navarro) Faircloth of Salem Oregon and his brother Mark (Susan Jacobs) Pitts of Randolph New Jersey; his niece Summer (Daniel) Sims and their three children Orion, Amelia, and Emily of Salem Oregon; his brother-in-law Glen (Gillian) Milligan, nephew Ryan (Alyssa Colasante) Milligan and niece Meghan Milligan all of Trenton, ON.  John was predeceased by his beloved wife Kathleen A. Milligan (2012).

A Celebration of Life will be held in Orillia on March 17 at St. Paul’s Centre and United Church of Canada, 62 Peter St. N., at 2:00 pm.  The family will receive friends from 2:00 to until 3:00 when the Sharing Circle will begin.   Refreshments will follow.                                                                                                                                 

As an expression of sympathy, memorial donations may be made to a cause dear to John’s heart,  The Couchiching Conservancy, a non-profit land trust by mail (Box 704, Orillia, ON  L3V 6K7) or online: http://www.couchichingconserv.ca/donate/in-honour/.  Donations will also be accepted by the Doolittle Chapel of Carson Funeral Homes, 54 Coldwater Street East, Orillia, (705) 326- 3595.

 

TO SEE JOHN’S LIFE IN PICTURES, CLICK HERE.

PASSAGES AND QUOTES DESCRIPTIVE OF THE WAY JOHN LIVED HIS LIFE

 

If a man does not keep pace with his companions perhaps
it is because he hears a different drummer.
Let him keep step to the music which he hears,
however measured or far away.     
                       Henry David Thoreau

 

 

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.
Gandhi

   

 

Our task must be to free ourselves … by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
Albert Einstein

 

 

 

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

 

 

We have not inherited the world from our forefathers –
we have borrowed it from our children.
Kashmiri Proverb

 

 

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there; I did not die.

 


I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.          
Carl Jung

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.
Henry David Thoreau

 

 

 

We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions
to participate in the process of change. 
Small acts, when multiplied by millions of
people, can transform the world.       
Howard Zinn

 

 

 

To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

When her husband was dying, she asked, ‘What shall I do without you?’
He said, ‘Take the love you have for me and spread it around.’

 

We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Einstein

 

 

TO SEE JOHN’S LIFE IN PICTURES, CLICK HERE.

 

 

QUOTES FROM JOHN – THINGS HE SAID OFTEN

 

I CHOOSE TO LIVE FULLY AS LONG AS I LIVE.

 

I AM TRYING TO RECEIVE INFORMATION FIRST THROUGH MY HEART THEN THROUGH MY HEAD.

 

SOMETIMES ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

 

                                                 ________________   .   ________________

 

 

WORDS FROM OTHERS

 

Hello my dear friend,

I’m sorry I cannot be here in person to tell you how much I’ve appreciated you over the years and how much I value our friendship.

Remember that day at the Orillia Farmers Market when we first met?  You were selling your mushroom candles. 43 years ago it was! Hard to imagine our friendship started so long ago.… There was a sincerity and friendliness about you that made me stop and talk with you, and over all the years of our friendship, that humanness, that quit presence that I recognized at the market that day, never changed.

Remember that great winter of 76, that snowy winter, when we passed those long nights in your old kitchen, you and in your rocking chair by the woodstove, and us hardly talking, enjoying the peace and quiet together? There was an understanding that transcended words and which inspired us to inquire into the meaning of our lives. That time with you was special, a gift I’ve always treasured.

Remember hauling water on the toboggan through the snow, from the well, at the bottom of the field? Or how about those trips to the outhouse in the middle of winter? Now that was a challenge, not for the faint hearted! No water or heat in your old farmhouse then except for your beloved woodstove. Of course those were the days before you met Kathleen, before you got soft and modernized the old homestead.

And remember that wild canoe trip on Georgian Bay when your dog Mandy thought you’d lost your mind and refused to listen to you when the waves were breaking over the side. We were lucky that time. It’s always the scary times you remember but all those canoe trips together were really great. Thank you my friend!

You’ve always been so generous sharing yourself and your land with others. I loved hanging out together in the tipi at night around the fire, going for walks on your trails, or working together bringing in the firewood. And of course, there was the garden! Everything I know about gardening, I learned from you! Thank you my friend!

You have always loved helping people and your passion for community inspired many of us, whether it was from your involvement in the food co-op, book clubs, meditation groups, or simply sharing a fine home-cooked meal. I learned about nonviolent communication from you, you the guy who never raised his voice. Over all the years I’ve known you, I never heard an angry word pass your lips. Sometimes I wondered what you were thinking but most the time it was completely fine to be quiet and to appreciate the preciousness of whatever was happening. That is your greatest gift to those of us who know you well. Thank you my friend.

In spite of whatever difficulties you experienced in your life, you never complained. Throughout Kathleen‘s challenging illness, I never heard you complain. In spite of the challenges you encountered in your social work, you never complained. When I think about you, I see a thoughtful man who loves life, loves nature, loves people, and appreciated all that he had

It is somehow fitting that you died in that old rocking chair beside the woodstove in your kitchen, the spot you love the most. John, you have a place in my heart always. You’ve helped me in so many ways and you will be missed.

David Munro

________________   .    ________________

 

 

Remembering John Pitts

From the moment I first met John, sometime in the 1980s, I could see that he was a man of deepest, unshakeable principal. He was absolutely and fundamentally committed to respectful non-violence, at every level. Never boastful about it in the slightest, he simply went about quietly living his life and conducting his relationships in a manner always consistent with that commitment. This value extended to caring for the natural environment and holding it in the same great respect as for other people. The expressions of his values reached beyond his simple house and daily life in rural Ramara township into his work, his voluntary activities such as the Arts for Peace Festival, Project Ploughshares, and the Couchiching Conservancy.

I will miss John. And I won’t forget him.

Gordon Ball, Orillia

                                                         ________________   .  ________________

      

 

I met John back in the summer of ‘73 at the downtown Orillia farmers’ market. I was barely 20 and I had just started selling my maple syrup at the market. John was selling his sand cast mushroom candles. We were both long-haired, bearded guys and we’d chat when the market was slow. John was extremely quiet, a ‘man of few words.’  His favorite expression was “hmmm, yeah.”  He told me he was an American who dodged the draft and came up to Canada with his wife Shirley. They sold candles on Yonge Street in Toronto and were able to buy a 200 acre farm in Ramara. Beautiful, tranquil spot but big mosquito country. So big that Shirley didn’t last too long before she left and John was on his own. He grew a garden and acquired some beehives. There were a couple of acres of nice sugar maples and John wanted to make syrup.

I had 1000 trees tapped with buckets and John volunteered to come and help me the next spring, so that he could learn the process of syrup making. In hindsight, a true case of the blind leading the blind, but we did have some fun and we both learned a lot. Everyone still remembers the huge April fools snowstorm of 1974. John and I had tapped the trees, hung the buckets and made trails through the deep March snow. Then it snowed almost 3 feet on April fools. All our trails were gone - buried.  When the sun finally shown, the sap started running. We had to stumble through all that snow with heavy pails of sap in each hand. Often climbing up or sliding down the hilly terrain in our sugarbush. John was the only guy who could slip, fall and spill a bucket of cold sap into his boot and just carry-on without a word-not a “shit, piss or damn just “hmmm….yeah.”

We traded back and forth often after that first syrup season.  Helped each other bring in hay. Cut and split firewood. Repaired the stonework on John’s barn.  A lot of peaceful, gentle memories of time spent with John - I’ll miss him.

Ken McCutcheon

                                                         ________________   .  ________________

 

 

JOHN

I am thinking of him paddling on the river at the cottage,

at home in the canoe and with all of nature.

 

JOHN PITTS has passed to a world he longed for.

Kathleen is there patiently waiting to take his hand

and walk side-by-side, free and equal into eternity.

 

Grief grows in the garden of sorrows and

blossoms as gratitude.

 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018.

 

It is a cold wet winter day

And John Pitts has passed away

His time with us has been a gift

To help us learn that life is swift.

 

His gentle smile was like his bell

That we might learn that all is well.

For we can sit in silent time

And open wide our life sublime.

 

John knew that in the unforeseen

There was the love of his Kathleen.

He sat in his warm chair alone

To seek and find what was his own.

 

Erle Kahnert

                                                       ________________   .  ________________

 

 

John and I would have hour long phone conversations on a weekly basis. One day I asked him what he believed would happen to him at death? 

He began by asking me to think about those little whirlwinds that we've all seen blowing up dust in parking lots or open fields. He said, like these mini tornadoes that seem to spontaneously appear from nothing, gather up objects, spin them around and scatter them in all directions suddenly vanishing as quickly as they appeared, he likened his life. He saw himself suddenly appearing one fine day in a body here in this life, full of energy, desires and dreams, gathering  up experiences, knowledge, and friendships in a whirl of activity, that like the mini whirlwind, he would vanish  as suddenly as he had appeared. 

He saw that his life would live on in those who knew him, in the ideas and organizations he fostered and participated in and the memories he shared with family and friends.

He did not speak of an eternal soul but rather the effects and the influences of a life well lived on a world he left behind. This is what he shared with me and this memory of his shared understanding is evidence of the truth of his words.

Don Munro

____________________  .   ____________________

 

 

ON THE OCCASION OF THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE FOR JOHN

March 17 2018

 

JOHN BELIEVED IN PEACE.

And for me, one of the outstanding characteristics of John was that he WALKED HIS TALK!

HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT JOHN DID WHICH INDICATED THIS…

He, along with his wife Kathleen, founded a SPIRITUALLY BASED BOOK GROUP some 9 years ago. Each spring the members would get together to recommend books to the others, and together they would make several selections. John’s recommendation for this year, was called PEACE PILGRIM 

It’s about a middle aged woman who through her 50-60’s walked in excess of 25000 miles across the US and Canada. She also walked some in South America and Western Europe.

HER PILGRIMAGE WAS TO SOW THE SEEDS OF PEACE IN THE WORLD.

In this book she was quoted as saying “WISDOM DEMANDS THAT WE STOP PREPARING TO WAGE WAR, AND START PREPARING TO ELIMINATE THE SEEDS OF WAR.”

She goes on to say that the world needs to adopt the spiritual philosophy embodied in the expression “THE MEANS -DETERMINES THE END.”

Subsequent reading of this book brought to my mind the many ways that JOHN WAS ALSO SUCH A PILGRIM:

NOT ONLY DID HE RECOMMEND THIS BOOK BUT SOME OF THE THINGS HE DID IN REVERSE ORDER WERE THAT…

-            Recently had volunteered at the local youth centre where he told me that he was hoping to share some of his non-violent viewpoints with its youth and teach them some of his skill-set for effective communication – a means he believed, that could reduce violence in the community…

-            In addition, after his wife’s death John surfed the net lots, again with a similar focus. To this end he discovered, shared and participated in, with friends, a course entitled “Transforming Business, Society and Self.” This course too represented his belief that we must rectify the inequities in the world and perform self-assessment in order to bring about world peace!

-            As many of you know he also became a student and teacher of Marshall Rosenberg’s approach to non-violence. “NON-VIOLENT OR COMPASSIONATE COMMUNICATION“, a method that Rosenberg, an international consultant, used to disarm conflict successfully between everything from high school bullying to resolving tribal conflict in the Middle East.

-            Earlier he was also a founding member of a local “Sitting Meditation” group which has met weekly for approximately 15 years. Again like the Peace Pilgrim he believed that we needed to find peace within as a primer to extolling peace externally. At the meditation group he could be counted on ringing the chime to begin and end the session, and he would also provide a thought-provoking quote for discussion afterwards.

-            John was one of the founding members and a regular contributor of the annual summertime Arts for Peace Festival which has now been running for 35 years.

-            A vegetarian, John extended his pacifism to the non-harming of most creatures, and he and Kathleen loved their cats.

-            Going beyond what he ate, John was an ardent proponent of ENVIRONMENT SUSTAINABILITY. As such he was a member of the local Couchiching Conservancy where he volunteered for various duties.

Also his and Kathleen’s lifestyle reflected a way of living gently on and with respect for the earth.

-            Believing that people must learn to communicate effectively within their own family unit in order to attain peace, before they could extend it to others, both John and his wife, and my wife and I, along with some others, met for a number of years to study how to better understand the challenges to successful communication.

-            And finally, as noted in her book, the Peace Pilgrim acknowledged that there were very few “CONSCIENCOUS OBJECTORS” during the Vietnam War, because she said, very few had attained sufficient awakening at such an early age. JOHN WAS ONE OF THEM.

-            In memory and acknowledgement of John’s life’s work of the betterment of this community/the world I will ring this chime to signal a minute of quietness, such that we can all think or pray for World Peace.

-            So in summary, you can see, John was what I call a “quiet catalyst” where his actions spoke louder than words – He “walked his talk” - for peace in the world.

Doug Daley

          ____________________   .   ____________________

 

 

Memorial Reflection for John Pitts by John Adams March 2018

 

Please accept my sincere regret for not being able to attend this important gathering but know that I am with you all in spirit. In the same spirit, I send my deepest and warmest greetings to every one of you as we mourn the loss and celebrate the memory of our good friend, John Pitts. Unlike many of you I did not have the privilege of knowing John for a long period of time, yet I was left with a deep impression by his presence and his subsequent loss. As a Unitarian Universalist Minister, I met John in our Huronia Unitarian fellowship. John struck me as a man of depth and peace, not knowing of his background I was intrigued as John spoke with longing for a desire to be near the mountains and to find a place to experience the greatness of their beauty and sublimity. At one brief point John and I laughed as we reflected, as well as momentarily repented, and we both came from the land of Trump.

On the day of our first meeting, I saw in John’s face and smile a hard-fought and profound peace mixed with a longing for fellow pilgrims to join him on a quest for a more intimate and peaceful world. From my limited perspective I began to view John through the book Peace Pilgrim that he cherished so much because, as many of you had experienced as well, John too was a peace pilgrim, “... a wanderer with a purpose.“ John’s sense of longing for community and his vision of peace compelled him to find a way out of the maze of our societal disconnection in fragmentation. John was a mountain of peace who decided to invest in others. John’s desire to experience the sturdiness, strength, and certainty of the mountains is precisely how I experienced John’s presence and form of life.

John was our own Peace Pilgrim, wandering through the busyness of our society looking for those who could see the sacred depths of nature and connect to the inherent dignity and worth of every person. John embodied our UU 7th principle and lived as a constant reminder of the “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.“ His presence open feelings of safety and a hope that we could wander alongside him on his journey toward a better way of being in this world.

Therefore, it is with trust, reverence, and contemplation, that we express gratitude for his personality, his beautiful presence, and the life and values he created and embodied. We understand that John has returned to the Sacred depths of nature in the Ground of being from which he came. His energy and consciousness will not be destroyed but will be passed along to remerge in the words of Wesley Wildman, “from unambiguous nothing to ambiguous something and relentlessly, yet gracefully back again.“ This vast energy will produce in each of us an opportunity to become fellow pilgrims for peace.

Therefore, when we contemplate John, his beautiful smile and the love that he expressed through peace, let us remember the words of the original Peace Pilgrim and join him on his journey, “I am a peace pilgrim, a wanderer. I shall remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace…No one can find inner peace except by working, not in a self-centered way, but for the whole of the human family.” So let it be and Amen.

 

____________________  .   ____________________

 

 

On behalf of the Milligan family -

Written by Gillian, wife of Glen Milligan, brother in law to John.

 

Our first encounter with John was about 40 years ago when Kathleen brought him to our hometown of Trenton. We are all anxious to meet John, as this was the first fellow, the very studious and academic Kathleen, had liked enough to introduce to the family. Needless to say we were a bit awestruck when we met this laid back bearded man with long and bushy dark hair and an almost hypnotic southern drawl. By comparison we must have appeared like stuff shirts! Aside from our fondness for Kathleen it wasn’t long before we uncovered the many ideologies we had in common.

Our relationship with John effortlessly evolved from acquaintance, to friend, to family and our lives were, without doubt, enriched along the way.

John’s kind and gentle demeanor was unwavering. He was intelligent and passionate about many causes; he was dedicated to protecting the planet and improving the human condition. John did not seek attention yet he taught us much by way of example.

Conversation with John was mindful and measured. We never heard a cross word from John and yet, with a twinkle in his eye, he had the uncanny ability to slide in a contentious remark, almost unnoticed - a remark intentionally designed to push Kathleen‘s buttons! John had found his own way of standing his ground!

John’s tireless love and devotion to Kathleen was never more evident that throughout her illness. John, we can only imagine how difficult those years were for you and yet you soldiered on without complaint. John, you were Kathleen‘s hero.

We admired John’s skills as an outdoorsman. He was knowledgeable and resourceful with not only the ability to “McGyver” anything broken but do so with the capacity to stay calm.

It took many years before John shared with us the details of how he came to settle in southern Ontario. It was simply not John’s style to talk about himself. As John recounted his story it reinforced our empathy for the courageous, young man who was forced to make a difficult choice and leave his home in the U.S. And yet how fortunate for us that our paths would cross and we would become family.

John has left us with many memories to cherish. Our annual summer visits to “the farm“ where one always felt a sense of peace and removed from the fray also left a positive and indelible mark on our two children, Ryan and Meghan. John was most at home in his rocking chair, by the woodstove, a cat or two circling about his feet.

We were always grateful that John and Kathleen chose to spend many holidays with us. And John, with his hearty appetite, always enjoyed the holiday fare, complementing the cook in the best way possible by indulging in second and sometimes third helpings. He was truly a pleasure to feed.

Whenever they visited we could always count on Kathleen arriving with that much coveted blueberry pie from the Mariposa Market and John arriving with a couple of large clear bags of plastic materials for recycling!! At the time Trenton‘s recycling programme was years ahead of the one in Orillia!! John’s environmental consciousness was ever present.

We thank you John for the unforgettable family times we shared both at home and away. So many fond memories of Vermont, Christmas mornings with the kids, picnics, hockey games, biking, speeches, fireworks, family reunions and board games to name a few. But more importantly, we thank you for being a beloved uncle, brother-in-law and true friend.

My last memories of John are in my kitchen. I am chopping, stirring, cooking - and John is leaning against the counter, one woolly socked foot on the other, sipping hot, fresh coffee from his travel mug as we right the ways of the world with our conversation. We always had our best talks in that room.

John, you experienced life simply and purely. These words of advice from a Tim McGraw song could easily be yours as they exemplify your essence.

When it’s hot, eat a root beer, a popsicle-

Shut off the AC and roll the windows down

Let that summer sun shine

Always stay humble and kind.

 

Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you.

When you get where you’re going

Don’t forget - turn back around -

Help the next one in line

Always stay humble and kind.

 

John it seems our plans to meet in May are now on hold. You left this world far too soon. Wherever you are now John we hope you have been reunited with Kathleen.

You will always be loved and long remembered as you will remain in our hearts forever.

 

____________________  .  ____________________

 

As I am not able to be there in person for the celebration of John’s life, I wish to extend my condolences to all his extended family and his very large circle of friends.  He was a gentle and loving soul and will be greatly missed.
                              Kathie Joblin

____________________  .  ____________________

 

This very dear man will be much missed.
                               Jennifer Jarman

____________________  .  ____________________

 

So very sad to learn of John‘s passing-too soon. He has often popped into my thoughts and I now regret not having taken the time to connect with him over the years since he left his work at our mutual workplace Simcoe Outreach Services.

I too remember John as a gentle, quiet, respectful presence. He and I were kindred spirits as we shared our passion for helping others by seeing the best in them, and recognizing ourselves in their stories of life’s struggles. For such a quiet man, it’s interesting to note that he chose to be a “talk therapist“- but our clients appreciated him, for his distilled words of wisdom and because he was such a great listener -he was skilled at hearing the deeper meaning of our clients’ stories. John often shared parts of his life story with our clients - I would remind him that this made him a true “feminist therapist“, even though he did not realize it.

John’s office space was always so inviting-plants flourished there-and so did his clients. I often admired and borrowed books from his vast library assembled there -a symbol of the wisdom he earned through study and experience.

I am thankful to have learned today about John’s obviously rich and varied life outside your social work. It has inspired me to search for peace more actively in my own life - to follow John’s lead and “walk my talk” he did.

Jan Aikins
former coworker at Simcoe Outreach Services


TO SEE JOHN’S LIFE IN PICTURES, CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


TEENAGE NEIGHBOR WHO WAS A KINDRED SPIRIT WITH JOHN.

 

 

 

The “Misfits” were an eclectic group of people, of all ages and backgrounds, none of whom
had family close enough to spend holidays with.  They celebrated Christmas Day and dinner
together annually at Jen & Brian Fisher’s home.  John was the eldest of the misfits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                     TO SEE JOHN’S LIFE IN PICTURES, CLICK HERE.