John Charles Bear

July 17, 1947 to October 30, 2022


John Charles Bear of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador passed away peacefully at home on October 30th, 2022, aged 75, with June his life partner at his side.

Born in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, John graduated in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and completed his Ph.D. in Genetics at Newcastle University, U.K. He joined Memorial University of Newfoundland Medical School in 1977 as Professor of Population Genetics in the Division of Community Medicine. During his tenure he was also an active member of the MUN Faculty Association. Following his retirement in 2002, he resumed his earlier interest in sculpting, both taking courses and teaching at the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador Clay Studio where he was an enthusiastic participant and supporter. In 2018 he was granted a solo show of his clay and 3D printed sculptures in the Craft Council Gallery. He was a member of the Group of 77, regularly attending life drawing sessions. John was an avid gardener and he enjoyed hiking, camping and took a keen interest in environmental issues. Retirement permitted foreign travel which fed his interests in art, history, food and wine. His acerbic wit and humour will be missed.

John was predeceased by his mother Sarah Bear and his father Samuel Bear. Left to mourn are his partner of 35 years June Walker-Wilson, brothers Sam (Jean) and Colvin (Carol), nephews Charlie (Meg), Andy, Howard and John, great nieces Bella and Lilly and close friend Adrian McKeever.

Special thanks to Dr. Petra Joller, Dr. Roger Butler and his team, Community Health Nurses Sarah Byrne and Wanda Lee Thomey and all the staff at Compassion Home Care, especially Chibuzo Nmecha, Brandon Muvingi and Joshua Odame-Apraku.

Cremation has taken place.

Family will be receiving visitors on Thursday, December 15th, 2022, from 2 – 4 and 7 – 9 p.m. at Carnell’s Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Rd.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador Gallery and/or Clay Studio.



2-4 p.m. on December 15, 2022

7-9 p.m. on December 15, 2022

Carnell’s Funeral Home
329 Freshwater Road
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Dear June. I am sorry for your loss. Keeping you in my thoughts. Hugs. Elaine (from book group)

Dear June,
I am so sorry to learn that John has died. You and he shared so many interests and passions. I know that you had a wonderful and long life together but of course, never long enough..
My sincere condolences to you and to John’s extended family.
Mary Manojlovich

Dear June
I was saddened to read of John’s death. I hadn’t seen or heard from him in ages, but I always thought of his twinkle in his eyes, his wit, and his dedication to nature and health.
John was a valuable asset to my own research endeavors, always ready to answer any queries with his own invaluable direction.
May his name be a b Lessing.

Avrum Richler

To John’s family,
Sincere condolences on your loss. John was a part of my childhood when my Dad was working on his PhD with him. He was the first environmentalist I ever met – he had a “Save Pippy Park” sticker on the bumper of his car and he chatted with me about why nature was so important. He was a lovely guy. May he rest in peace.

I remember John of course from my years working at the Health Sciences Library, and so enjoyed and appreciated his humour. To June and all family and friends, my best thoughts and sincere condolences.

Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of your life partner, John. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I’m so sorry for your loss.

Thinking of you, June, at this sad time and sending condolences. Cherish the memories.
Marilyn McGuire

I’m sad to hear this about John. He was one of the many wonderful people I met through the clay studio while I was in St. John’s.
May his spirit and memory be blessed.

I will never forget those gifts of rhubarb at the gallery and the mischievous smiley eyes each time you shared your art and humour.
I am so sad for this loss, so happy to have been a part of a lovely art community with you John and I hold June very tightly with so much care.
Much love to John’s family and friends.

I am so sorry to hear this. John was a vibrant member of the art’s community and I usually sat next to him at the group of 77 sessions which he organised so well for many years. He will be sorely mossed by all of us. My condolences to June and his family

I was so sorry to hear about John, who was for so long the heart of the Group of 77 drawing group which I was so happy to attend each week until I left the province six years ago. Although perhaps reserved at first appearance, John somehow made everyone feel welcome in the room. He and I had many good rants together about the state of the US and US politics! A personal loss to many, and a loss to the visual arts community too.

Hi June, please accept my deepest sympathies during this difficult time. I hope the memories you have with John comfort you. My thoughts are with you, and I’m sorry for your loss.

June, we are so very sorry to hear of John’s passing. Our family has missed you both and the old neighbourhood. John always had an interesting project on the go and shared many delicious veggies from your beautiful garden. Sending our love to you and your family.

Dr. Bear mentored & helped me with a research project when I was a first year medical student.. I will be forever grateful, for your help, in this, my early days.. Rest in peace, John. I thank you. Condolences to you partner & family

Hi June, my memories of John are all good of course. He was such an interesting man!! Take care