H.W. Wallace Cremation & Burial Centre

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John Grey

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John Rowland Grey

August 27, 1916 - May 16, 2016


He loved to stand upon her prow

To ply the briny foam,

On oceans vast he set his mast

To search where seadogs roam,

O how he yearned to stroll her decks,

And feel the swelling pride

Of rolling seas of all that craves

That stormy evening tide;

He loved to sing those minstrel songs

Of wind and open sail

To galaxies through heaven’s gate

Where stars will never fail

To guide all pilots of their ships

With transits fixed in hand

While seagulls sing in harmony

Wherever there is land

And all the living watch from shore

With visions growing dim

Of legacies and time gone by

With sails you need not trim

For we the living stand by tombs

Of generations past,

Recounting all the blessed time

Wherein our lives were cast.

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of our father, John Rowland Grey on May 16, 2016.  John is survived by his daughter, Gail Merilynn Leigh Chester, grandchildren, Cori Blynn (Crandall), Clinton Brent Chester; son David Randall Grey, (wife Christine), grandchildren, Sean, Darcy and Marriah; son Grevis Roger Grey (wife Sharyn), grandchildren, Jonathan, Jeremy, Jennie and James.

Born August 27, 1916 in Brisbane, Australia, John lived a full life. Our father’s working career started delivering telegrams on a bicycle and ended designing an oil pipeline from Iran across Turkey to the Mediterranean.

The first eight years of his retirement were spent sailing with our mother, Peggy, aboard their 53 foot Gallant sloop, Carcharias, taking them on worldwide adventures too numerous to recount, before settling on a Saltspring Island farm.

Daughter Gail remembers chemistry experiments in our Dad's basement “laboratory,” Dad's classical music, debates at dinnertime and the spirit of adventure that was our parents' legacy.

Son David remembers being quite surprised, learning that Dad had purchased the racing sloop in England since the only other boat that Dad had owned was a 9 foot rowboat!  He also remembers that upon learning this fact, Southern Ocean Shipyards, the builders and sellers of the sloop, insisted that he take aboard one of their employees at least as far as Gibraltar.  Curiously, the employee they chose was one of their racing crew which probably explains why Dad often had “too much sail up and the rail was so often in the water!”

Son Grevis recounts this in some measure to be “the way we children were raised,” with survival kits in hand while adventuring life on the edge from horseback to ski hill and carving out new and innovative back-road camping trips along logging roads and abandoned hay barns inspired by our mother to explore a more wilderness province of B.C. and beyond.

Grandson Clinton was especially connected toward the end when Grandpa discovered they both spoke the same language in science and math, even skilled to quote issue, page and paragraph from Scientific American.

A special thanks goes to Lynn and Cam Scott who cared for our father during his last days at Lynn’s Senior Care Home.

Bon voyage, Dad. See you on the other side.


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From: H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff

H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

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