Jack passed away peacefully at the Royal Jubilee Hospital on September 2, 2018. Predeceased by his parents, Eugene and Kathleen; his sister, Sheila and his great-grandson, Gabriel.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years Eloise; his children, Mary (John), Eugenie, John (Cary), Robert, Chris (Ann), Mark (Samantha).

 

He was a mentor and inspiration to his grandchildren, Patrick (Maria), Christopher (Elizabeth), Daniel (Genoa), Samira, Perry, Jonathan, Calvin, Beatrice, Nathalie, Robin, Thunder, Ocean, Cynthia (Jon), Jeff and his great-grandchildren, Autumn, Florence, Clara, Susanna, Maliyah, Isabelle and Kingston.

 

To honour dad’s request, the family will gather Saturday, October 6, 2018 at St. Patrick’s Parish, Fallowfield. Funeral Mass at 10:00 am, interment at St. Patrick’s Cemetery, followed by a reception in the Hall. All welcome.

 

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens
www.mccallgardens.com

 

 

Our dad swam like an eagle. Probably no one has ever seen one swim but if they did it was our father. Head above the water with a piercing dark gaze – never getting his hair wet, hair combed over brylcream 1950’s style, arms hitting each stroke acute 90-degree angles. It was a beautiful thing to watch, I never saw him swim more than 5 meters but the event itself spoke volumes. I’m sure in the day that particular stroke was all for the ladies, swept my mother away. His tell-tail hair never out of place went from jet black to Gandalf magnetic silver over the decades, over his life. God, he was a handsome man.

Born in the year of abject poverty 1929 his parents, looking for work, found themselves in Detroit. Their child must have been a mixed blessing of hardship and wonderment. I knew them however young I was they both left this world in their 60’s, Jack or Jackie as grandma called him must have been something, when he hit puberty he shot up over their heads standing six foot one to his dad’s 5-5 and shorter mom. Those younger days Jack ran with the Cohen boys of Ottawa where I’m sure he learnt the trade of currency. The Jewish brothers became infamous wreckers and salvagers in the Ottawa valley. I can see the lads scouring the trolley -car tracks and rail yards for coal. Jackie would keep the kitchen warm where he most likely slept in a corner with a thread bear blanket. Dad excelled at school; enrolled at Ottawa Tech with dreams of higher plateaus. Because somewhere in those teen years he heard the West call and soon found himself on a train to Alberta. Bitten by the mountains he would continue to spend his summers working at Jasper Park Lodge in various roles as a bellhop and a greenskeeper on the hotel’s golf course.

Years and year later mom and dad went to a huge reunion at the lodge where archival photos of those summers were immortalized. Anyone passing through the area today can see the photos of another era – and of our mountain climbing father. Dad spent a lot of time rock climbing until a brush with death left him distraught – he hung up the carabiners and ropes never entering the mountains again. Our eagle had flown the coop sort of speak. It was those days on the height of the world above the clouds and thin air that our father set a course that would take him through the rest of his life. Longevity isn’t a given when we are born – I believe it’s a gift that dad saw early in life – he saw an opportunity and a future and embraced it.

With the money saved from all the summers and the harbinger of fall – the beloved geese he always pointed out them flying south – he headed off to post-secondary studies. This is the pivotal point of our story because at the university where he studied veterinary medicine he met our mother. There would be no denying their embrace, two of the most beautiful people the world has ever seen would marry. That wedding picture is stunning. Hazel eyes and black hair gave new meaning to tall dark and handsome. Mom was a gorgeous bombshell and the two were a fit – Six kids later we became the result. An important footnote – where dad came from poverty mom came from maids and a gardener …. This definitely can be a good or bad thing. However, the Jackie my grandma knew would surpass all expectations of her son – it’s a rare day in this life where any of us are able to change our caste.  John Francis did. The years after school brought dad to the roads of Ontario as a salesman for NCR – I remember the 1960’s as our dad embraced the patriarch position of the suburban household. A brief stint of apartment dwelling and with savings the folks built their house on Millford in Manordale. Those were the quintessential moments of a Norman Rockwell painting: A long day at work meant the footstool, the daily paper and a cigar.

A summer outing would be a family picnic to Vincent Massey Park or a trip to Britannia beach on the Ottawa River. Our father was never unwound his sense of fun could be a trip down Sussex during the FLQ crisis, where Trudeau evoked the war measures act, we all would jump in the Stratosphere station wagon and take a drive to spot the snipers hiding in the woods. The 70’s brought a new career path as, how he described himself, an educator: the business school of Algonquin College – marketing professor. In those years I ran into hundreds if not more of his pupils and everyone – every last student would stop me and tell me about dad – in awe. There were so many stories of his teaching methods. There was his laissez-faire attitude about pot smoking, now as Canada prepares for the legalization of marijuana, our father was advant-garde of his time – students smoking pot and dad not busting their heads. The same decade we moved to a new suburb called Barrhaven and our family size solidified in more ways than one. We were considered to be the ‘family of the year’ and opened the new wing of the Nepean Sportsplex – our name cast in bronze on the cornerstone plaque. Somewhere in those years, the west called Dad’s name again and he began the last chapter of his life.

Victoria became home and a new hobby began. The folks bought a place downtown and the hobby became bees. Do a google search: The Bee Whisperer of Fernwood. The article online will show you pictures and tell stories of fathers interest in mel apes. I have to digress a second with my own experience in farming as I have raised ducks and geese and turkeys – pigs and sheep…. I’ve planted thousands of trees and started a dwarf strain of 250 apple whips to make an orchard. When I sold the farm I left that all behind – farming is a struggle. When dad suggested I start a bee colony I was none to optimistic about that journey. However, I did and began with two hives – and sure enough within two years the bees took off or died or did whatever insects do. Dad would always say – you have to ‘’think like a bee’’ and I always kind of grimaced about the notion of controlling a bunch of bugs. My hives sat empty for two years – until this past fall. One reason or another I had taken a forgotten mouldy frame that I had placed a garbage bag and threw it back in the hive – not expecting something to hatch. It did. And now …. For whatever reason, the 2nd hive is proliferating as bees have spilt out or moved on from the first hive. The business of bees, eh dad?

My last conversation with my father was about bees as he lay on his deathbed he asked me would I mind sending him some honey. The eagle with the steely glare perched somewhere on the mountainside was looking down into the valley. Dad’s diabetes and other ailments prevented him from any sweets at the hospital. He was interested in tasting the sweet nectar that life had shown him one last time.

Our father never allowed anyone to go hungry. He offered food to anyone at any time in his presence. He loved lemon meringue pie. His ‘’go to’’ Saturday dinner was beans and weiners and it was always a given that fish be served on Fridays. We always went to church on Sunday and we always tried to sit behind Carol Burnett the movie star…. 45 years ago dad bought a grave plot in that church’s yard and now he’ll find peace there.

Our father showed us all to ride a bike – but his was the push it was never the pull. If you made the balance of the wheels then you were free. Your life would be yours to make what you will of it bust or not if you try you succeed. Thank you, dad, and may you rest in peace.

 

  • Anna and Malcolm
    September 19, 2018

    Condolences to all your family from the McKays and the Griffiths. It was a moving tribute to an extraordinary man. We are thinking of you all.

  • Laura B. and Phil B., Ottawa
    September 18, 2018

    Dear Chris and Ann,

    Thinking of you. We are very sorry for the loss of your much loved father.
    His was a life well lived with eternal family and friendship legacies. May Jack rest in peace.

  • Nicole Gardner
    September 17, 2018

    What a colourful picture of a life well lived! My memory of life in Barrhaven Mary, is whenever I would see your parents they were always smiling and laughing and their home was always warm and welcoming! What a vibrant legacy your father has left. Our condolences to you, your mother and family. Nicole and Jean-Paul

  • John McDougall
    September 16, 2018

    John, Sincere condolences to you and your family on the passing of your dad.
    John & Bonnie

  • John McGovern
    September 15, 2018

    Fond memories of Jack, Eloise and their young family back in the 1960s in the new communities of Manordale, Pope John XXIII School and St. Maurice Parish. My sympathy to all the family.
    John McGovern

  • Clela Errington
    September 14, 2018

    What a wonderful life lived with so many children, grandchildren and great grand children to keep the memories alive. My condolences to you all for such a huge loss.

  • Sheilah Currie
    September 12, 2018

    My condolences to Mary, my friend of over 40 years, to her dear mother, and to all the extended Defayette family. It is so hard to lose someone who has been a such a longstanding and important presence in your life. May you support each other through this time and find comfort in the stories of Jack’s life-well-lived.

    In response to Jack’s written work on beekeeping, I started a few years ago to put a drizzle of honey in my coffee each morning. Delicious, and I know he would approve.

  • Eleanor Crabtree
    September 10, 2018

    Dear Eloise:
    My sympathy to you as you mourn the loss of your husband of 62years.
    May God be with you as you go through all the things that need to be dealt with after a death.
    Blessings,
    Eleanor Crabtree

  • Enid Robins-Holm
    September 10, 2018

    Sincere sympathy to Eloise and to Chris and Ann from Ann’s aunt Enid.

  • Alice Hinther
    September 9, 2018

    What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful man. We had the privilege of meeting Jack and Eloise about 15 years ago and remained in touch through their move from and then back to Victoria. Jack was such an inspiration – he had such an enthusiasm for life. He showed us his bee operation in the basement of their Fernwood house and we visited him at the Moss Street Market in Victoria where he sold his honey. I will never forget him. Eloise, Mary and family, I am so very sorry the loss of your husband and father.

  • Candace Kaine and Gerry Sullivan
    September 9, 2018

    John, Cary, Perry, Johnathan, Calvin, Beatrice and the rest of the Defayette Family: We remember meeting your Mom and Dad when we were neighbours on Pine Street and they came for an extended visit. They were a charming couple and your Dad was quite a character. We are so sorry for your family’s loss and we know you will carry his memory in your heart.

    Candace and Gerry

  • Dianne Bey
    September 9, 2018

    Wow!! What a beautiful description of Jack’s life. Your mother and Jack were a star couple! They raised you well. Yes I remember seeing Jack at the dining room table on Barrhaven. Your mother had made some homemade clam chowder. It was so delicious! You will have fond memories no doubt! Thoughts and prayers!

  • Rolf Bettner
    September 8, 2018

    To the family of “Mr. Defayette” – may I extend my sincerest condolences at your sad loss. I always enjoyed my visits, his enthusiasm, and our correspondences over the years. May he rest in peace and may you all find solace in your fond memories of his life.

  • Patricia (Pat) Badeen
    September 8, 2018

    Eloise and family: I am saddened by your loss. As a fellow Marketing Professor, I knew Jack and his love of teaching. We worked together for 28 years. Thinking of you and Jack.

  • Linda Osmond
    September 8, 2018

    John, Cary, Perry, Jonathon, Calvin & Beatrice,
    Thinking of your family. The tribute to your father painted a wonderful picture!
    Linda & Lloyd Osmond

  • Elspeth
    September 7, 2018

    Chris and Ann, James and I are so sorry for your loss. Chris your dad sounded like a man of inspiration, courage and zest. May he Rest In Peace with the thoughts of the sweetness of “honey” from John’s apiary.

  • Finlay MacDonald
    September 7, 2018

    Saddened to see your dad’s obituary in the Times Colonist today. Thinking of those days in City View in the 1960s; my father CB -Basil and Jack.

  • Jacquie Taylor
    September 7, 2018

    What a magnificent colourful life well lived. What a wonderful tribute! Your father will be missed. I am so sorry for your loss. So many hugs and prayers for you and your precious family dear Mary. Blessings

  • Laura Hatfield
    September 7, 2018

    Dear Eloise, Mark and family,
    So sorry to hear about Jack.
    Sending my condolences to you all.
    With love and hugs,
    Laura Hatfield

  • Chris and Brenda Reinkeluers
    September 7, 2018

    Mary, John and Family, our deepest condolences on the passing of your legacy Dad. He was certainly a man of many, many interests and am certain he will be deeply missed. Holding you all in my heart and prayers as you travel this challenging journey.

  • Janet Fulton
    September 7, 2018

    So sorry to hear about Jack. Have been thinking of the family for years now. Wondering where everyone had gotten to…my muy most sincere condolences to all, especially my dear Eloise

  • Robin Sinha
    September 7, 2018

    Mary..our codolences on the passing of your father..your fathers life story was moving…a story worthy of a movie…I’m sure his story will be passed down for generations to come. I look forward to the chance to attend his celebration of life and hear more about his life and the spirit he has passed down to his children and grandchildren.

    Robin (and Heather)

  • Helen Valiquet
    September 7, 2018

    Our family was saddened to learn of Jack’s passing . We were among the pioneers to live in Barrhaven. We shared our oldest grandchildren and great grandchildren and together with Jack and Eloise delighted and were proud as they grew and are so talented.I always admired his adventurous spirit ,good humour, and readiness to try and succeed at any project. Rest in peace, dear friend. My sincere condolences to his faithful partner, Eloise, and their wonderful family. Helen Valiquet

  • Belle Hatfield
    September 7, 2018

    What a gift you have all shared. I am sorry for your loss — Jack was so intensely present it is difficult to imagine him gone. In the midst of the ‘if onlys’ And ‘what ifs’ that inevitably accompany death, may you all know that Jack and your special memories of him, are tightly stitched into the fabric of your lives and there he remains — vigorous, fearless and eternally inquisitive. My sincerest condolences to Eloise, to Mark and to everyone in Jack’s extended family.

  • Terrie and Gary Mitchell
    September 6, 2018

    What a wonderful tribute! We only had the pleasure of knowing your father for a short time but feel truly blessed that we had the opportunity to share some of his life. Than you for sharing with us to know more of his character! We will always smile when we think of Jack! God Bless you all!

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