John Lauchlin MacKinnon

John Lauchlin MacKinnon

John (aka Jackie) had a fascinating fulfilling life, an early retirement, a wonderful wife Frances (Campbell) who predeceased him in 2012, two grandchildren, Calgarians Claire and Zack, brothers Donald (of Dartmouth) and Sandy (of Yarmouth) and sister Heather (of Colorado), who visited him in the West Coast in 2012, and two daughters, Susan and Diane, and a bevy of Campbell  in laws complements of Fran and her 15 siblings. He was also predeceased by a string of SPCA dogs or SPCA wannabes.

He attended St Mary’s University where he was awarded the 1951 Journal Poll  as “most liked student”.  John practiced law in Halifax with Hart, Cox, Donahoe, Palmeter, Rogers & MacKinnon after graduation from Dalhousie in 1954.  He left Nova Scotia for Ontario in 1958 – likely the exodus to Ontario was to reunite Fran with some of her siblings who had moved to Sarnia from Cape Breton. 

Practicing law in Ontario was not to his liking, so whether due to a need to educate inquiring minds,  or due to the 8 weeks of holidays a year, John became a Teacher and, drawing on his years playing football at St. Mary’s, also a high school football coach. After a number of years teaching in places like Wawa, Aurora and Toronto he, along with Fran, also a teacher by this time although trained as a nurse, and likely with similar motives for her career change, retired from teaching when given the opportunity for a full pension in 1987 at only 56 years old. 

Still in Ontario, he began exploring the lakes of Ontario in his hand made cedar stripped canoes and tried unsuccessfully to master golf at the Aurora Highlands Golf Course, and more successfully to master homemade wine making.

Having run out of lakes and in search of better grape stock for his wine he and Fran immigrated to Vancouver Island in 1989 where he continued building canoes and Kayaks and enjoyed paddling with the Nanaimo Paddlers. The Paddlers ventured far and wide including the Bowron Lake Chain, the Broken Islands and a memorable Yukon River  canoe  trip that he enjoyed at close to 70  with Pierre Burton’s Klondike in hand and Happy Hours surprises tucked in the canoe. He continued to make wine and no one can forget  his award winning Malamute Merlot named for his 140 lb Malamute Neiko.

John passed away on January 31, 2018 very peacefully and hopefully with a good dose of his beloved Latin still ringing in his ears compliments of Father Holland who stopped by that afternoon to give him the “Full Nanaimo” as Father Holland put it.  He was spoiled by the wonderful staff at Crofton Manner and St. Jude’s Anglican Home over the last few years . 

A service and celebration of his life will be held in the spring in Vancouver.  You can email to be notified of the particulars. 

In lieu of any flowers consider a modest donation to St. Jude’s Anglican Home in Vancouver at 810 West 27th Avenue, Vancouver in his honour.

Nanaimo News Bulletin

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