June 16, 2019
It is with sadness we report the passing of Major General (rtd.) John Robert (Bob) Chisholm on July 16th, 2019 at Arrowsmith Lodge in Parksville, BC due to complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
Bob was born in Kentville, NS to Elsie (Payzant) Chisholm Brookes but moved to Sackville, NB where he met the love of his life, Gwendolyn Phinney. After high school, Bob received a scholarship to study at College militaire royal de Saint-Jean (now RMC- Saint-Jean) where he won his pilot’s wings.
Gwen took her nurse’s training at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal where they married in 1956. Bob and Gwen enjoyed a long and happy partnership for over 60 years and raised two children – daughter Diane Chisholm (Christopher Cooper) of Lunenburg, NS and Steven Chisholm (Christine Coates) of Salt Spring Island, BC and happily welcomed grandchildren Joseph Cooper (Caitlyn) of Halifax, Nova Scotia; Thomas Cooper of Lunenburg, NS; Jesse Chisholm of Edmonton, Alberta and Matheson Chisholm of Victoria, BC.
With Gwen at this side, Bob enjoyed a successful 30 career with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). In 1963 he was posted to England with the RAF at Base Wattisham and to fly Lightning jets. Highlights of those years include RAF 111 Squadron’s fly-pass for the Queen’s Royal Jubilee in 1965 and an invitation to Buckingham Palace for tea with the Queen (with 300 others).
Upon returning to Canada, Bob continued his flying career and went on to fly KIOWA and HUEY helicopters at 427 Squadron at Petawawa, ON and 403 Squadron at Base Gagetown, NB. Bob and Gwen’s military life took them to many places including Bagotville, Quebec; Wattisham, England; North Bay, Toronto, Deep River and Ottawa, Ontario. Bob was also proud to serve as Base Commander of Base Comox, BC. Upon retirement, Bob and Gwen settled in Ottawa where he consulted for Rolls Royce (Canada) and for Canadian Helicopters.
After 10 years in Ottawa, they relocated to Parksville, BC where they golfed and enjoyed a busy social life, winters in Lake Havasu, Arizona and world travels. On a memorable trip to China in 1977, they recounted the challenges travelling to Xian to see the terra-cotta warriors with no knowledge of Chinese.
Later in retirement tragedy struck when Bob was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Gwen remained his steadfast helpmate until 2015 when Gwen was suddenly struck down and passed away. Bob and Gwen were lifelong sweethearts and profoundly grateful for their rich life and large circle of friends.
The family would like to thank the staff at Arrowsmith Lodge in Parksville, BC for their kindness and care and also the congregation of Knox United Church. There will be no service and interment will take place at the military graveyard at Beechville Cemetery, Ottawa.
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