The family of John Francis Whittaker is sad to announce his passing on October 27, 2014 at Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock, BC at the age of 91. Predeceased by his wife June, he is survived by his sister Elizabeth of Vancouver; brother Donald (Lorraine) of Calgary; son David (Eva) of Ottawa and his stepdaughters Olga and Aurela; son Murray (Cathy) of Markham, Ontario, and their sons Derek (Joanna) and Kurt; his daughter Elizabeth of Winnipeg and her sons Jeffrey, John and Kevin Doering; and good friend Margaret Hayes.
Born in Winnipeg and moved to Calgary at the age of 14, John distinguished himself as the top high school graduate from Alberta. After his third year of chemical engineering at McGill, he joined the RCAF during WWII and completed training as a fighter pilot. The war ended before he saw action overseas and he changed courses, completing a degree in engineering physics at U of T. John met and married June in 1947 and together they raised their three children in Pointe Claire, PQ, and later Mississauga. John’s career spanned over thirty years with Nortel. John and June retired to Vancouver and after June’s passing in 1986, John became an avid birdwatcher and hiker, travelling all over the world to see the rarest and most spectacular birds. A keen tennis player into his late 80’s, John was rare and brilliant, much like the birds he loved. With a quick wit and a genius for math, he was determined, stoic and lived according to his own code. He will be missed terribly by his family and friends. A memorial will be held at Valley View Funeral Home, 14660-72 Ave, Surrey, BC at 10 am Sunday, November 9th, (www.valleyviewsurrey.ca)
The family would like to thank the ACE Unit at the Peace Arch Hospital for their care of John in his final months. If friends so wish, they may make a donation in John’s name to the BC Nature directed to Important Bird Areas, 1620 Mount Seymour Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7G 2R9 (www.bcnature.ca)