December 30, 1930 – December 13, 2011

John died at home in Victoria, BC after a courageous battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife Sue of 52 years, daughters Penny (Ian), Kit (Jeremy) and Merion (Dave), and grandchildren Eric and Julia. Born and educated in England, he served with Royal Signals in Germany, Korea, Hong Kong, Borneo, and Britain. Having been Chief Instructor at the Army Outward Bound School in Wales, John’s outdoor adventure and leadership skills led him to emigrate with his young family to British Columbia, where in 1969 he started the first Canadian Outward Bound School near Keremeos. He was executive director with Outward Bound before working for the BC government Sports and Recreation Ministry. John was an active windsurfer, canoeist, SCUBA diver/ instructor and hiker. He committed huge amounts of time to digital map making, preserving recreation land use areas, preparing and presenting multimedia workshops, and travelling the world (SE Asia, E. Europe, Africa, Bermuda) consulting for Outward Bound International. He will be remembered for his positive, energetic and practical outlook on all challenges he faced.

Thank you to all our good friends, VIHA and Hospice for their care and support. A celebration of John’s life will be held at McCall Brothers on Friday, December 30, at 2:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Victoria Hospice, Outward Bound Canada or the Land Conservancy of BC. Condolences may be offered to the family below.

  • Greg Burman

    John was an important figure in my life even though I only knew him briefly as a student in the first Outward Bound class at Keromeos.

    I went into that course as a kid with a bad attitude and came out a young man with an idea that life might actually be some fun. That was largely due to “The Major’s” enthusiasm and insistence that each student had it in them to succeed. I am truly grateful for having met him and saddened for your loss.

    Thanks John.

  • Rob Armstrong

    I attended the K-70 August 1970 Outward Bound School at Keremeos at the age of 16, having heard John give an impassioned speech and slide show at my high school. “The Major” was the force behind the success of the program. His energy, drive and enthusiasm was an inspiration to an impressionable teenager. I am truly saddened for your loss.

  • Andrew Orr

    Sue, my sincere condolences on John’s passing. I am very sorry that I did not know about it in time to attend the memorial, which I very much would have liked to do.

    There are two phrases that immediately spring to mind whenever I think of John: “chronically enthusiastic” and “ready, aye, ready.”

    Who could forget John, introducing the staff at Pemberton to Hash House Harriers? Who was this crazy old Hare, who clearly was thoroughly enjoying himself, and leading everyone on a merry chase. His enthusiasm, as always, so contagious. Everyone soaked, breathless and muddy.

    Or you and John, arriving in full Swiss mountain regalia at the first Outward Bound fund raising event in Vancouver.

    John was the consummate OB supporter. Whenever help was needed, he was there. I personally appreciated his readiness and willingness, during my turn at the helm. Never judgemental, never having an axe to grind, never having any agenda other than to contribute to something he so passionately believed in. He was the founding Executive Director over 40 years ago, then, as a volunteer, came, and went, over the following years as needed, as asked and without complaint. A complaint from John? I can’t imagine.

    Thanks John.

    Andrew Orr
    Executive Director, Outward Bound Western Canada
    1991 – 1998

  • Dorothy Butts

    I was so very sorry to hear of John’s Passing & I offer my condolences to his wife & family.
    John was kind enough to write & over the years perfect a computer program for the B.C.Horseshoe Ass.. As an executive member of the association I had the pleasure of working with him in getting the program started. It didn’t take long to be way over my head but John continued working with other members to improve & perfect the program. He was always available for us when ever we had computer problems & he is well known & appreciated by all of our statistations. He will be remembered. Dorothy Butts

  • Sam Tomasevic

    I met John many years ago, as a member of the BC Horseshoe Association. At the time we were looking for some sort of ststs program to keep proper records. John created the porgram which many of us still. We would like to thank John for what he did for all of us in horseshoes, not just in Canada but the United States.

    Rest in peace my friend, we will miss you.

  • Sue Hasell

    We as a family are so heartened by the lovely messages on John’s passing. I like to think that he is hiking in heavenly hills with his many wonderful companions and friends from our 54 years together. We all miss John and his huge smile – he was upbeat until the end and always felt he had a wonderful life, full of challenge and adventures and good people. Of course we will miss him, but know there are many in this funny old world who will keep in pursuit of his ideals – to serve to strive and not to yield – the outward Bound philosophy he held so dear.

  • Reg Allen

    “With enthusiasm anything is possible”, John exemplified that statement and as such was a true inspiration to all.

    We shall never forget his spirit, his compassion and his strength.

    Sue, we are so saddened to have just received this news and to have missed his Memorial Service.

    Our sincerest condolences

    Reg and Amy Allen

  • Ji Ho

    Dear John,
    This such a sudden and painful…
    As friends, we should have shaken our good hands before another voyage of life.
    The time we share was so little but the thought not.
    My friend, I will remember for a long long time.
    Ji Ho

  • MaryLou and Glenn Wakefield

    John will be remembered for his indomitable spirit, his adventurous soul, boundless energy and of course, his generous heart. As friends, we shared many good stories over the years about adventures past, present and future. You were an inspiration John and we will miss you. Our thoughts are with you Sue and family.
    MaryLou and Glenn Wakefield

  • Uschi Leslie

    I don´t think I ever met John Hasell, but I heard about him from you, Penny. Such as that your dad windsurfed over to Trial Island sometimes to visit the lighthouse keeper…. And your own outside adventures in Lesotho and elsewhere (even practicing rolls in your double kayak with Ian near Trial island) have so much of Outward Bound in them.

    Your family always seemed so very friendly and cheerful; I hope this will help you all to adjust to not having you dad around now.


  • Queen's Gurkha Signals Associations of UK and Nepal

    Major John Hasell served with distinction in Gurkha Signals in Malaya and Brunei over 40 years ago and is still remembered by his colleagues with great admiration and affection. He was famed for his energy, enthusiasm and good humour in adversity.
    As secretary of the Regimental Association in UK, I offer the sincere condolences of all our members to Sue and her family today and also the following message received from Major Balbir Thapa, now Association Secretary Nepal and living in Kathmandu:
    “So sorry to know that we lost yet another friend of the Regiment. Please convey to Mem Saheb and her family members our heartfelt condolences from all Members QGSA Nepal.”

    Andrew Carter

  • Nicholas Conceicao

    Not, How Did He Die, But How Did He Live?

    Not how did he die, but how did he live?
    Not what did he gain, but what did he give?
    These are the units to measure the worth
    Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
    Not, what was his church, nor what was his creed?
    But had he befriended those really in need?
    Was he ever ready, with word of good cheer,
    To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
    Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
    But how many were sorry when he passed away.

    Jon was a remarkable man who gave so much but asked so little. He truly epitomised the Outward Bound spirit in giving so much of his time, effort and resources to the Outward Bound community. We will truly miss his courage, tenacity and zest for life.

    With deepest condolences, from his friends at Outward Bound Singapore.

  • Janie & Roger Selman

    Our love & thoughts will be with you today. Sue, from my early childhood until now, yours and John’s adventures have filled me with total admiration and took my breath away. Everything he did was an inspiration to us all,and his wonderful love of the outdoors and challenge will live on through our boys and grandsons. We are SO proud to have had him in the family. Fondest love, Janie & Roger XXi

  • Wendy Zachary

    Dear Sue
    I only just learned that your dear John had passed away. I am so sorry. I didn’t know him that well but I always so impressed with his walking and hiking abilities and the stories he had to tell, what an adventurous life he had. My Mum and and Dad always enjoyed a visit with you and John to discuss the family tree. My dear Jack passed away in June after a 6 month illness so I know how you are feeling. Take good care of yourself and try to take on the new year with peace. I am so glad you have children to share your life with.

    Thinking of you

    Wendy Zachary

  • Julia Finzel

    I will miss Uncle John and his fantastic tales tales of adventure. Last time we meet at Dalemain, Cumbria he told us that he had used up 8 of his nine lives, racing avalanches, flying helicopters into the treetops in Korea, dangling on rope ladders above ravines, falling off onto rocks and….. getting up again to continue the journey!!!
    Only a few months ago we ran across a field to go swimming in the river. Uncle John always had this boundless energy and positivity, helping us all believe that anything is possible if one believes one can do it. Indianna Hasell will be greatly missed by us all !! The memory of John is with all of us and I believe he is very much with us still. Thinking of all the family and especially Sue at this time as you prepare to celebrate John’s life. Sending much love and thanks for the mentoring Uncle John.

  • Jack Morrison

    For several years I hiked the Sooke Hills with John as a regular in the Thursday Thrashers. His unmatched knowledge of the area, amazing stamina, and upbeat temperament made him a great companion. I regret that I will not be able to attend the scheduled memorial and wish to offer my heartfelt condolences to the family.

  • Liz

    To John’s family, please accept my sincere condolences. I only met John in recent times though the hiking community and the conservation issues we’ve faced. John’s gracious and positive energy was, and will continue to be, a true inspiration. His maps are a work of art! He will be very missed.

  • José Antonio Torres

    Dear John,
    May you enjoy many adventures in the worlds you visit!
    Thank you for a great legacy of knowledge and experience,
    Thank you for great inspiration of generosity, giving your life and energy to an organization that connects with your deeper values and beliefs!
    You will always be in our hearts,
    José Antonio

  • Tony Cox

    Though I knew John by reputation for many years, I only finally met him in person last October while attending the Canadian Adventure Therapy Symposium in Chicoutimi. I was most struck by the vigor of his continuing passion for this work and his deep life long commitment to helping people stand tall in the light of their own possibilities.

    I felt moved to write and express my condolences for you his family. John has kindled the fires of multiple generations. Feel proud of the light he has shed in the world towards making it a brighter place of cooperation, collaboration, inclusiveness and strength.

    Know that many are thinking about you now as you prepare to celebrate his life.

    With many warm wishes for you all, Tony Cox.

  • Rob Chatfield

    I knew of John Hasell many years before meeting him for the first time at an Outward Bound International event in the late 1990s. Back in 1979, when I began my OB career at the Canadian Outward Bound Mountain School in Keremeos, John was already a legendary figure. He was among those instrumental in the beginnings of Outward Bound in Canada, and he was the first director of Canada’s first Outward Bound school.

    John had embarked on another career by the time I arrived on the scene, but I became acquainted with him, nevertheless. Mostly this was through the strong tone he had set for the school, but it was also through the recollections of senior staff, and because he figured prominently in the photo albums that lined the shelves of the staff house; visually connecting the new instructors to the old, and the past to the present. The photographs captured John as a man in motion, always leading: leading students on a morning run, leading students across the nearby Similkameen River, leading his staff, and leading, apparently, those who hadn’t even met him.

    But I did get to meet John, and over the last decade have had the remarkable privilege of working with him as he volunteered his time in support the organization he loved—Outward Bound. Thank you for what you have given, John. You are missed, and my thoughts are with your family.

  • Peter Britton

    Please accept my sincere condolences at John’s passing. I had the privilege as an OBI Board member to work and travel with John. It is impressive to see the outpouring of gratitude for his help from all corners of the globe. He was the courier and ombudsman for OBI principles and skills. Untold programs and young people will endure and prosper due to John’s enthusiastic, insightyful, and kindly influence. He leaves big shoes to fill.

    With kind regards,

    Peter Britton

  • Gerarda Schouten

    What a wonderful man and what a wonderful legacy he has left Outward Bound : to strive to serve to seek and not to yield.I first met John at the Thuinder Bay airport as he arrived to help us at Home Place look at our aims and objectives. What compassion what understanding what respect for divergent viewpoints! Later I had the privilege of accompanying him on an Algonquin Park canoe trip with International instructors. He delighted us with tales of his adventures and various encounters. His memory will live on for a very very longtime. My condolences to his family

  • Natalia Stewart

    I met John briefly in 2007 at an OB conference. John’s passion for life and his optimistic look on the world was not only inspiring, it left a deep impression on me of the human spirit. It made me look forward to the years ahead of me and what I could achieve.

    Your spirit will be missed but it will certainly live on. My deepest condolences to the family.


  • Carol and Ross Macdonald

    Dear Sue I want to extend my sincere sympathy to you and all your family. I know that John will be greatly missed by you and his many friends and colleagues.

  • Richella Hyde

    I had the good fortune of meeting John last fall at an Outward Bound Canada Visioning meeting, even thought we had limited conversation his presence was felt and his thoughts and input truly impactful.
    I don’t doubt that John has had a profound impact on this world and on many lives, including mine, as OBC is a large part of my life. Thank you John and to all those who have supported him though his life and illness. May you have strength through support and Peace in body, mind and spirit.
    Richella Hyde

  • Sarah Wiley

    John provided leadership to Outward Bound Canada in it’s early years, and more recently, guidance and support – joining us last year for a strategic retreat and visioning session as well as joining in on staff training in BC. An unsung hero, definitely not celebrated enough, we will miss his boundless energy and passion for all things Outward Bound. Sue and family – our thoughts are with you during this time. You have been and will continue to be an important part of the OB community in Canada.

  • Tom Glaisyer

    I was introduced to John via a Skype video call using a jury rigged wireless connection from an Outward Bound retreat he was attending a few years ago. His energy literally exploded through the screen. When I met him shortly after, at an Outward Bound meeting in Belgium, his stories of the early years of Outward Bound revealed he was older than he looked.

    His energy and passion for the outdoors and the value of Outward Bound was evident from the first moment he spoke and his use of technology, uncommon for someone of his age, was intimidating. He embraced the development of the Outward Bound wiki continuing to develop it by teaching himself coding skills that were beyond many (me included). For him it was just another tool to share the Hahnian ideas that he cared so much about.

    To read above that this passion extended to all he did and that he did this for as long as he could muster the strength is no surprise. His commitment and passion inspired me then as they do now.

  • Colin Bunge

    John was always such an enthusiastic supporter of people, ideas and efforts for the commopn good. Going way beyond what was expected. He will be missed and OBI has lost a great spirit. Sincere condolences to Sue and the family.

  • Ahmad Fadzil Samsudin

    I first met John in 2009 when he came over to Malaysia to do the safety review for Outward Bound Malaysia and almost immediately I was awed by his enthusiasm and passion for the outdoors.
    Surprisingly felt so close to him as if have known him for many years!

    I was so excited when Outward Bound International wanted to send him again and a message came from him on 17th September “Dear Ahmad,Thank you for your understanding and supportive message which I much appreciate.
    It is a blow which I hope can quickly be dealt with, though probably having to reschedule the review yet again will be a pain.
    I certainly will keep in touch and I wish you every success with your mobile courses. It was fun being involved with the initial exploration.
    Yours in the hope that this will not have caused too much disruption in your life and that of the School, John.”
    Just see how strong he was……..a great man and will always be my mentor…Rest in Peace, my friend..

  • Vladimir Mesaric

    John was really inspiring and encouraging person for us, new OB family member.

    Indeed a sad day for the entire OB family.

    Vladimir Mesaric
    Executive Director
    Outward Bound Croatia

  • Dato' A N Ham (OB Malaysia)

    Dear John,

    “To live in hearts you leave behind is not to die”
    We in OB Malaysia will miss you!

  • Ian Wade

    John was hugely respected around the world for his Outward Bound service. In the last decade he was my most prolific volunteer; doing countless Program Reviews in Asia and Africa; giving strategic planning advice; developing a quality improvement process now used worldwide by Outward Bound and becoming the wiki-maestro, collecting knowledge of how to deliver excellent programs.
    John was always ready for a new challenge, flexible and creative in his approach, not deterred by obstacles and never seeking the limelight for his considerable achievments. A true servant-leader, John will be missed but never forgotten by those of us who knew him.
    Ian Wade
    Executive Director
    Outward Bound International

  • Mike Hicks

    I was so sad to hear of John’s passing. I always watched for him at my meetings and braced myself for his strong, honest and sincere opinons and constructive criticisms .
    There is no question that John, more than any other person had the greatest influence on my decision regarding the Juan de Fuca Trail. I will miss his wisdom and council.
    It was an honor knowing him.

    Mike Hicks
    Regional Director
    Juan de Fuca

  • Saul Arbess

    I only met John about a year ago as we worked together to defeat a proposal to build hundreds of cabins, other buildings and infrastructure along 16 kms. of the Juan de Fuca trail, so loved by John. He galvanized the campaign with his spirit, energy, persistence and research. He urged us all on and left no stone unturned in this struggle, contacting the decision-makers and, ultimately, convincing them to reject the proposal. Despite his hard-hitting words, he was admired and respected by all. John did all this as one of the final acts of his life, knowing throughout that he was facing a terminal illness. His life continues to inspire as a beacon for the protection of the wild.

  • Jim Trick

    I have known John for a relatively short period of time but he was the type of person who made an immediate impact on first meeting. His concern for the environment, coupled with his involvement in the hiking community made him a key figure in opening up and documenting trails while working with organizations such as Protect Our Parks to ensure that our unique wilderness would be protected. I’ll remember him for his enthusiasm, positive outlook, communication skills, but even more for his unwavering aim of preserving our natural environment here in the Victoria area.

    Jim Trick

  • Wenche Hemphill

    I was shocked and deeply saddened to read in today’s Times Colonist that John had died and I want Sue and the rest of the family to know that they have my sincere sympathy.
    Wenche (Solange) Hemphill

  • Steve and Florence Savage

    John was a true inspiration to us all.

  • John Taylor

    Appropriate that there’s a Harbour Air float plane behind John in this photograph. One has the impression that he’s about to head off on another adventure. Never a dull moment in John’s life as far as I could tell.

    John Taylor
    (Next door neighbour for the last 5 years)

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