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It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of John Walter Hodder, age 74 on October 1, 2021, with his wife Mary by his side. Predeceased by his brother Jim Hodder and their parents, Walter and Carrie (Caines) Hodder.
John was the beloved husband of Mary Pike and cherished father of Jill Hodder and granddaughter Chloe Stamp.
Leaving also to mourn our great loss are Bev Janes; sisters-in-law Catherine Hodder, Carol Guzzwell (Keith), Brenda Vaughan (Ken), Sandra Pike (Gabi Haberfeld); brothers-in-law Gordon Pike, Robert Pike (Debbie); nephews Jim and Thomas Hodder, Michael Vaughan; nieces Cheryl Schnegg (Eric), Carla Hodder-Drake, Cynthia van den Hanenberg (Mike), Allison Guzzwell, and Robyn Lynn and Jessica Pike; the Caines family; and a very large circle of friends, in particular his dearest friend, Irene Baird.
Over the course of each of our lifetimes, we all give parts of ourselves to others. In this respect, John was exceptional. As a public servant of almost forty-five years John worked in the Departments of Labour with the Labour Relations Agency; Fisheries and Aquaculture; Environment and Labour; and Workers Compensation.
However, John was the consummate volunteer, and to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador he gave what he always considered his highest achievement, the gift of public safety. Through John’s volunteer work with the Newfoundland Safety Council he pursued mandatory seat belt legislation, all-terrain vehicle legislation, and bicycle helmet legislation. He developed and oversaw the implementation of an occupational health and safety training section, motorcycle training program, Elmer the Safety Elephant program, and the baby-sitting training course. As a forty-two-year member of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE), John originated the first-ever Newfoundland Occupational Health and Safety Week. This was the precursor to the Canadian Occupational Safety and Health Week, which then evolved into the North American Occupational Safety and Health Week. In 1985 John became the first Newfoundland and Labrador recipient of the CSSE National Service to Safety Award, the Society’s highest honour.
For almost fifty years, John was an active Kinsman with the St. John’s Kinsmen Club. The Kin motto “Serving the Community’s Greatest Need” entails doing for others, and alongside fellow Kinsmen he raised funds for a myriad of provincial groups such Big Brothers, Cystic Fibrosis, VON, and Multiple Sclerosis. In the spirit of Kin, John always forged linkages with other service and nonprofit organizations. For example, through Kinsmen the block parent program was brought to Conception Bay South in 1979. In 1987 John employed the Kinsmen network in the promotion of Canada Day throughout our province. In 1999 a member of the Lung Association Newfoundland and Labrador asked for his assistance in working with the provincial nonprofit sector, and he immediately began eighteen years of service as a volunteer board member. The Lung Association’s motto, “When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters,” ensured his dedication and commitment to improving the health of those who struggle to breathe. In an ironic twist of fate, in August 2017 John was diagnosed with Interstitial Lung Disease, which ultimately took his life.
In recognition of his lifetime of dedicated volunteering, John was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for outstanding community service in 2012, recognizing his long involvement in a wide variety of service organizations, including the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering, the Canadian Registered Safety Professionals, the Canadian Cancer Society, St. John Ambulance, Safety Services Newfoundland Labrador, the Lung Association Newfoundland and Labrador, the Atlantic Region Canadian Marine Advisory Council, the Royal Canadian Air Force Association, and the Association of Kinsmen, Kinette and Kin Clubs of Canada. In 1998 he was invested into the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem by the Governor General of Canada for his lifetime dedication to occupational health and safety. John received outstanding service awards from Hostelling International-Canada, the Canada Safety Council, and Kin Canada. John has received the commendations of Life Membership in both the Kinsmen Club of St. John’s and the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering.
John was a solid presence in the lives of his family and friends. To the many who sought his opinion or advice he gave thoughtful, measured answers. His calm demeanour and unruffled personality lent strength to others. John had a voracious interest in news that spanned local to international events. Political happenings were a favourite. John’s enviable memory and his ability to piece together snippets of information served him well in conversations with so many people from diverse backgrounds, that it was a pure pleasure just to listen to him make connections. As much as John gave service to provincial and national organizations, his heart was always with the individual.
To the members of the 150 (North Atlantic) Wing of the Royal Canadian Air Force Association, thank you. John treasured your friendships. During his twenty-two years with the Wing, John and was proud to serve on the executive as President, Vice-President, and Treasurer.
It takes courage to turn toward what is happening. In 2019 John became an active volunteer with the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. Together with his respirologist, Dr. Gokul Vidyasankar, these two dedicated men formed a provincial support group for patients and families affected with progressive lung disease. To Dr. Vidyasankar for your professionalism, your compassion, and your concern for John’s well-being, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We were blessed to have you on this journey with us.
To Gerri Murphy RN, thank you.
Thank you to the staff and residents of Lanes Retirement Living where John and Mary resided for the past month. All of you made our lives so much easier.
Resting at Carnell’s Funeral home, 329 Freshwater Road on Monday, October 4th from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. and Tuesday, October 5th from 2:00 – 7:00 p.m. Funeral service to take place at the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist located at 16 Church Hill in S. John’s on Wednesday, October 6th at 11:00 a.m. Interment to follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Donations may be made to the Lung Association Newfoundland and Labrador PO Box 13457 Station A, St. John’s, NL A1B 4B8.
Carnell’s Funeral Home
329 Freshwater Road
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Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Church Street, St. John's