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October 27, 1937 - November 14, 2023

In Loving Memory ~

It is with a heavy heart that the family of John Everard Southerst announce his passing on November 14, 2023 in Courtenay, BC.

Predeceased by son Mark and former spouse Julie. He is survived by wife Jill, daughter Kim (Jesse), sister Mary (Richard), grandchildren Alex and Caitlin, step son & daughter Simon, Kelly and his beloved Poodle Cleo.

John was born in the village of Worsley, Lancashire. He attended school on the Isle of Man and later spent three years in the National Service Army. These were formative years and in his spare time he escaped to the English countryside, fly rod in hand, motorbike at the ready.

The beauty of the outdoors prompted an interest in photography which became a lifelong pursuit; John was often with camera in hand documenting time and place. With a quick mind and capable hands he became a skilled mechanic and took advantage of the British sports car era, enjoying a few classics in his early years.

At the age of 22, John boarded a ship and crossed the Atlantic to Canada, the 'Land of Opportunity'. After a brief stay in Toronto, he made the wise decision to move west where winter had given way to an early spring. He settled into a new life in Vancouver and quickly took advantage of what his new surroundings had to offer.

Downhill skiing became a favourite winter activity especially trips to Mt. Baker with the Sitzmark Ski Club. A job with a yacht broker became a defining moment in John's life as it introduced him to the beauty of the west coast waters and the joy of boating. During this time he met Julie, a young high school teacher who shared his fondness for outdoor pursuits.

Acquisition of the Travelodge Motel in North Vancouver a few years later began a career in hotel management that later brought him to Ucluelet where John purchased the Thornton Motel and subsequently built the Whales Tale restaurant, a successful steak and seafood establishment. Learning all aspects of the trade, John became a very 'hands on' restauranteur and in the process, a very accomplished chef.

Seeking a more relaxed lifestyle, John ultimately moved the family to Pender Harbour on the Sunshine Coast where he focussed on one project after another including the construction of his pride and joy 'Spirit', a seaworthy sloop that he sailed through the waters of Desolation Sound on many an occasion.

In the mid-1980s John returned to the hospitality industry when he assumed management of the Westerly Hotel in Courtenay on Vancouver Island. During this time he met Jill, with whom he would share all future adventures on land and sea. Eventually moving down Island to Nanoose Bay, John and Jill built a house in the Fairwinds community of Schooner Cove. John was an accomplished gardener and many happy hours were spent tending to his crops.

He was a great conversationalist, excellent host and epicurean at heart. Cruising was key and countless hours were spent visiting the Gulf & San Juan Islands in the tried and true 'Spirit'. Without a doubt, John was happiest anchored in a bay enjoying freshly caught crab with a full glass of wine in hand.

Keen travellers, John and Jill ventured to many parts of the globe highlighted by trips to Central & South America, Bali, France, Spain, Iceland and amazing New Zealand. Mexico held a very special place in John's heart. Extended trips in the 1970s prompted a deep affection for the culture, land and people of this country which he visited dozens of times over the course of his life.

John was a man of many talents, knowledgeable on so many topics and skillful in so many ways. He had a commanding presence and charismatic nature, great sense of humour and sharp wit. A true sentimentalist, he valued the important things in life past and present.

We will miss you John,


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