Passed away on September 6th, 2016, after a wonderful and fulfilling 92 years. Born in Carbonear on August 5th, 1924, John’s early life was nurtured by his parents, his successful career was shaped by many business relationships, his social life was enriched by an unparalleled network of friends and his lasting legacy will be his love for and devotion to his family.
John’s childhood in Carbonear contributed greatly to the man he became. He was raised in a loving family in a thriving business community during the late 1920s and early 1930s and both shaped his values, his goals and his character. As a young man, John served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during WW II. Following his service overseas, he returned to Mount Allison University, compressing 3 years of studies into 2, and was then accepted to study Engineering at Nova Scotia Tech, where he graduated as a Civil Engineer in 1952. He returned to Newfoundland, beginning his engineering career at the American base at Fort Pepperell, followed by several decades with Canadian Johns-Manville, supporting the building of the Trans-Canada highway across Newfoundland, and learning much about the communities and the great character of the people who were developing our province in the post-Confederation era.
Through mutual friends, he met and married Flo Blackmore, who brought the wonderful Blackmore family, her own strong values and much love to their relationship. Throughout the 64 years of their loving partnership, John and Flo were the consummate couple and their home was the source of much laughter and good times their entire married life. Theirs was a large circle of close friends and family and they participated in many social and community activities. Bridge, curling and tennis were among John’s passions and bridge was a weekly highlight until his final year. At their home in St. John’s, their country home in Long Pond and their winter home on St. Petersburg Beach, they always welcomed and hosted friends and family and to his final days, he enjoyed every occasion to gather with them.
Throughout John’s career, his entrepreneurial spirit guided him, seeded many businesses and provided employment in many communities. His business ventures included manufacturing, construction, restaurants, motels, and the travel industry and during many periods, a business of John’s would be the largest employer in different regions of the province. He went on to establish manufacturing companies in Atlantic Canada and he served on numerous boards, including the Board of Regents of Mount Allison and Memorial Universities as well as 3 decades of volunteer board service with Island Furniture and its support for the Vera Perlin Society until his passing. John embodied the example of a self-made man with a giving spirit.
John’s intelligence, sense of fairness, wit and affable personality and his love for and ability to tell stories endeared him to everyone. John’s stories were legendary and he regaled friends, colleagues and family with his unique way of bringing local colour into the fabric of any story. The dining room table was his favourite arena for sharing stories, generating laughter and nurturing relationships, and his life was characterized by strong values, great humility and a demonstrated love for his family. John’s philosophy for life was to take the high road and to see the good in people and he made friends easily. His interest in the people and communities of our province endeared him to legions of people who respected him and had great affection for him. He has been an outstanding example to his family.
John spent the last days of his life lovingly holding hands with Flo. He also leaves with loving and lasting memories and great gratitude his daughters Janine (Brian Vallis), Valerie and Patti (David Chiasson), his grandchildren, Kate (Chris Clarke), Jennifer and John, great grandchildren Elliott and Olivia Clarke, his sister Flora, brother Frank, sisters-in-law Phyllis Blackmore, Joan Blackmore Thistle, June Blackmore, cherished nieces and nephews and a wide circle of family and friends.
John’s family extends heartfelt thanks to Margaret Thornhill, Lucy Branton, Colleen Organ, and Dr. Andrew Hutton for their great compassion and care as well as to the entire staff of the Caribou Veterans Memorial Pavilion. Cremation has taken place. Relatives and friends may visit the family at Carnell’s Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Road on Friday, September 9th from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. A service of remembrance will be held at St. James United Church on Saturday, September 10th at 2 p.m. Interment to follow at Mount Pleasant Cemetery Field of Honour. Donations in John’s memory may be made to the Vera Perlin Society, Mount Allison University Donald Cameron Student Loan Fund or a charity of choice.
Carnell’s Funeral Home
329 Freshwater Road
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