Predeceased by his wife, Sheila, sister Myfanwy, and brothers Gilbert and David, John Howell passed away in his 98th year, on Thursday, January 14th, 2016 in Qualicum Beach, B.C. John leaves behind children Gillian, Sue, John and Leigh and their families.
Born in 1917, John spent the first four years of his life on the family’s coffee plantation in what was then called British East Africa (now known as Kenya). The family returned to Wales in 1921 and for the next 18 or so years, John grew up on a small farm in Flintshire, North Wales. John looked back on his time at Pentrefynnon Farm as among the happiest years of his life.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, John joined the Royal Air Force and served in North Africa. Enrolling in teacher training after the war, John taught for several years at Eccleshall School, Staffs., England where he met and married his wife Sheila. With Sheila and daughter Gill, John moved to Canada in 1950, where he enrolled at the Ontario Veterinary College, graduating as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1956.
Children Sue, John and Leigh were born in Ontario before the family moved to Edmonton, Alberta in 1960. For the next twenty years, John worked in the Veterinary Services branch of the Alberta Department of Agriculture, where he made lifelong friendships among the staff working at the O.S. Longman building.
John and Sheila retired to Qualicum Beach in 1980, where they enjoyed 23 wonderful years together until Sheila’s death in 2003. After Sheila’s passing, John found ways to stay active and engaged in the community. He never lost his love of life, or his curiousity about the world around him. In addition to tending his beloved garden, he continued his routine of daily walks along the oceanside promenade, meeting new friends and collecting hugs from old friends along the way.
John continued to live independently at home until the age of 96. His final two years were spent at Dufferin Place in Nanaimo and, latterly, at the Gardens in Qualicum Beach. At both of these residences, John was cared for by loving and supportive staff, many of whom became his new friends. The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to those who helped him along this final part of his life journey.
Family and friends gathered to share their memories of John at a well-attended Poppy Ceremony and life celebration held in his honour at Branch 76 of the Royal Canadian Legion in Qualicum Beach on Sunday, January 17.