H.W. Wallace Cremation & Burial Centre

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John Willow

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John Willow

April 26, 1923 - May 30, 2012


Willow, John
April 26, 1923 – May 30, 2012
After a long and amazingly eventful life, John passed away with his wife Jean at his side at the Cerwydden Care Centre in Duncan. John also leaves behind his children John, Stanley (and his wife Terry) and Barbara, his five grandchildren Robyn, Mathew, Siobhan, Evan and Jason, his brother-in-law John and niece Jess in England, and many friends, including his best friend since childhood, Zbigniew Kaninski in Poland.
John was born to Alexander and Hieronima Wielowieyski in Wielka Wola, Poland. After his war exploits, John immigrated to Canada in 1949. With little money to his name, he farmed for a few years in Ontario before moving out West. John worked hard to establish himself; first working for a logging company along the BC coast, and then buying and running a restaurant with his mother in Vancouver. Eventually in 1962, he returned to his chosen profession as an engineering hull draftsman with the Department of National Defence in Esquimalt. In his spare time, John started up a business making detailed architectural scale models, most notably of the University of Victoria.
John was a fighter. He fought passionately for what he believed in, especially the environment. In 1969, he was a founding member and leader of a dedicated group of young British Columbians focused on protecting the magnificent forests and lakes of the Nitinat Triangle along the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island. This renegade group called themselves the “Sierra Club of Western Canada” and they were successful in their campaign to gain park status for Nitinat. An avid hiker, camper and canoeist, John’s favourite hobby was photography. His love of film making led him to make several movies, two of which were shown on CBC’s Klahanie in the mid-70’s. After moving to the Cowichan Valley in the 90’s with Jean, John took up the challenge of re-establishing blue-bee populations up and down Vancouver Island.
The family is very grateful for the medical help and support given this last year by Dr. Tom Rimmer, the care of the nurses at the Cowichan District Hospital and, in John’s final months, the compassion and care provided by the great staff at Cerwydden.
At John’s request there will be no funeral. Instead, family and friends will gather later in the summer to celebrate John’s life, re-tell his stories and remember his smile.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the David Suzuki Foundation 219-2211 West 4th Ave. Vancouver, BC V6K 4S2 would be most appreciated. Online condolences may be offered at www.hwwallacecbc.com


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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. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

From: Ida McDonald
Relation: friend and neighbour

Jean, our days at Young Lake Road will be remembered. Cluny and Esther McPherson, my parents, have since passed but the farm is in the hands of a dear lady and member of B.C.’s Land Conversancy. God bless you at this time. Ida McDonald

From: Tony Lamley
Relation: Cowichan Valley Garden Club

John ( the wild bee man ) gave one of his many talks about Mason Bees around 1998. We received our condos from him and John helped our native bees populate parts of the Cowichan Valley. His information from that time is still being copied to others and his work is continuing. He will be sadly missed.

From: Greg and Sheila Whincup
Relation: Friend and Neighbour

Dear Jean – We’re so sorry to hear the sad news. John was a big man in every way. We’ll always remember the courage and strength with which he tackled everything – felling a cedar in our yard, running for Regional Director, making films about the coho in Demamiel Creek, telling hair-raising stories about the war in Europe. We will miss his presence! And we send wishes to you and all your family for comfort and peace. With love from Sheila and Greg.

From: Heike and Alfons c/o Westfalian Bakery
Relation: bee house constructor and customer

John will be sadly missed. We still left the wild bee houses at the old place when we sold it and our former neighbors are telling they are still there with bees in it to pollinate all the fruit trees in the area. We think his legacy will be alive for a long time to come.
Heike and Alfons

From: Tom and Susan Handford and Family
Relation: Friends in Sooke

Jean,and all your family I’m sorry to be so slow,we’ve been thinking about you and John since we heard. I’ve met quite a few men in my life,more than I thought I would,when I began,and the ones who made me stop and listen,who knew how to make clear the muddle and confusion of life while keeping a clear respect for everyone are the ones I think of and ask for advice when things get hard. I will always go to John in my heart. Thank you

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