July 10, 1936 – December 10, 2021
John was born in Ilford, Essex, England to Constance and Maurice Tayless. At age 3 he was evacuated from the outbreak of the Second World War to live with his Aunt Alice in Ropsley, Lincolnshire, before entering St. Chad’s Choir School as a boarder at the age of 6.
After leaving school John served for two years as an Officer in the British Army commanding a flotilla of patrol boats, that allowed him to keep a small sail boat to sail in his off hours. Post army, John worked as a land surveyor in Guyana and Canada. He eventually found his way to the University of Hawaii, where he attained his degree in Tropical Agriculture with a minor in Marine Biology. As a student he worked at the Waikiki Aquarium looking after the shark tank. After graduating, he volunteered in Vietnam for the International Volunteer Service, working with farmers and fishermen for 4 years. In 1966 he returned to Hawaii and became a curator at the Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu (his favorite job throughout his varied career). In 1968 he returned to England to work as a Demonstrator in Anatomy, in the Department of Zoology at the University of Bristol.
In Bristol, John met his wife Fiona and they were married in 1972, immigrating to Canada in 1975. In Campbell River, he became a founding Academic Dean at the newly formed North Island College, later moving to Comox and serving as Vice-President then President, during which time the Courtenay campus was designed and built.
In the 90’s John worked on developing distance university education programs for the Commonwealth of Learning (posted in Brunei Darussalam) and the Ministry of International Development, England (posted in Guyana).
John retired to Denman Island in 1996 where he enjoyed swimming, gardening, kayaking, sailing and reading, moving back to Comox in 2011. He was always experimenting in growing different things, and was delighted in the last few years to grow elephant garlic and luffa plants. John was an avid reader and lover of old books. He enjoyed leading beach walks around Denman Island, Point Holmes and Campbell River, and was thrilled to show people what lay under the rocks when the tide was out.
John leaves behind wife Fiona, along with their two beloved daughters Katie and Emma (Grant) and grandchildren Tiffany, Taylor and new addition, Aila. He was a wonderful father and grandfather and supported our daughters growing up, in all their activities. He leaves behind many friends, in particular, his friends from the swim club group that he belonged to for over twenty years. In his younger years he swam competitively. He also leaves behind his special friends from the book club on Denman Island.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Victoria Heart House or Comox Valley Hospice are greatly appreciated. No service by request. The family would like to thank the intensive care staff at Comox Valley Hospital, the Cardiac Team at the Royal Jubilee Hospital (particularly Dr. Perchinsky) and Dr. Matous, the amazing staff at The Hospice and The Views at St. Joseph’s for all their wonderful care. Obituary
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