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John “Jack” Charles Purdon passed away peacefully with family at his side on August 22, 2013 at the age of 92, after a difficult year with dementia. Jack Purdon was born in Pontiac, Michigan in 1921, but spent most of his childhood in Kincardine Ont. Kincardine is a small town on Lake Huron with a Scottish heritage. Jack had an enjoyable childhood, and over the years he liked to visit Kincardine to lookup old school friends and see the Scottish pipe-band parade.
Jack was proud of his mother, Charlotte King (by birth). She was a nurse and served in Europe during the First World War. By all accounts she was a strong and principled woman who raised my father and his two sisters. Jack also wanted to serve overseas in the 2nd world war, but was not accepted because he was deaf in one ear.
Jacks first job was in the accounting office of a Toronto company manufacturing war supplies. He lived along Danforth Ave., close to St Barnabus Anglican Church where his uncle was the minister. Jack met the love of his life, Margaret Elliott, through a church youth group. Jack and Margaret were married at St Barnabus’ in 1945.
In 1949, Jack was hired by Canadian General Tower in Galt, Ontario. Jack and Margaret raised two children, Robert and Charlotte, in Galt.
Jack was a business and community leader. He worked for Canadian General Tower for 34 years. He was the company Secretary-Treasurer for many years. The Tower made sheet vinyl for raincoats, flooring, swimming pool liners, and interior upholstery for the automobile industry.
Jack was always involved in community service clubs. He was president of the Galt Jaycees club. Subsequently he was a member of the Galt, Cambridge, and Fenelon Falls Rotary Clubs, serving for about 35 years. The Rotary motto is “Service Above Self”. Jack displayed this quality and was twice awarded as a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International “in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations between peoples of the world”.
In retirement Jack served on the board of the 5 Counties Children’s Centre in Peterborough and continued with Rotary in Fenelon Falls.
Margaret and Jack were very social and had a wide circle of friends in Cambridge and Coboconk, Ont.
Margaret and Jack loved travelling and experiencing different cultures. When Jack retired they had ten wonderful years travelling the world. Many of these trips were with friends from the cottage. Margaret enjoyed making scrapbooks and photo albums of their travels. Jack was a great storyteller and these trips provided material for his “stories”. His memory for details of places was remarkable.
In retirement Margaret and Jack moved to a house in Coboconk, Ont. on a beautiful waterfront property on Balsam Lake. The family had spent many enjoyable summers at cottages on a neighbouring lake and boating along the Trent Canal system. They really enjoyed their years of retirement at the home on the lake.
In later years, many of Jack and Margaret’s travels were on “Holland America” cruise ships. They were smart dressers and dancers, and enjoyed the formal dinners.
Margaret had Alzheimer’s in her final years, and Jack patiently cared for Margaret at home before she passed in 1996. Margaret always said she never wanted to have to go to a “nursing-home”. Thanks to Jack’s care she never had to. Another shock came the following year with the sudden passing of daughter, Charlotte in 1997. This was life changing for twelve-year old Jenna who lost her mother.
Fortunately Jack’s shiatsu dog, Mutsey, provided great companionship for Jack after Margaret and Charlotte were gone and Bob was living in British Columbia. In 2006, when he was 85 Jack moved out to Sidney, BC to be close to family.
The last several years have been difficult for Jack as he fell and broke his second hip and then became afflicted with dementia. Over the past year Jack received good care from the staff 2S at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria.
Jack maintained his dignity and humour to the very end. Even when he was dying he would kid around with the nurses and family with his dry sense of humour.
Jack was good husband and father, who was well loved by family and the many who knew him.
A family remembrance was held on Sept 7th in Victo