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John Drummond Fitzpatrick, MD

November 5, 2023


June 1, 1949 - November 5, 2023

In Loving Memory ~

Born June 1, 1949, St. Joseph's Hospital, Toronto Ontario

Died November 5, 2023, Comox Valley Hospital BC

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of John Fitzpatrick on Sunday, November 5, 2023, at the age of 74 years.

There are just some people whose personalities are so bold and vibrant, we call them 'larger than life'. They have such infectious energy that even the saddest amongst us can't help but smile and even laugh out loud when they are around. John was one of those people. He actively engaged all, gathering good friends throughout his lifetime. John will be often remembered and sorely missed by all of them.

Born in Toronto, John grew up in Oakville, ON. He graduated from McMaster Medical School in 1973, interned in Calgary, and practiced family medicine in the Ottawa Valley. That first practice served a solely Francophone community, a truly remarkable achievement for an Anglophone schooled in English.

In 1979, Courtenay Medical Associates called, and John found a new home on the Island. He practiced medicine for over 35 years in the Comox Valley.

John was human first and a doctor second. He made a point of getting to know patients as people, asking them about their families, their passions, and their lives. John put them at ease.

He was 'full service' in the practice of family medicine. John did maternity, emergency shifts, hospital calls, walk-in clinics, and hospital administration. John treated patients as old friends. Not only did he make house calls, but he also took his dog on those visits, providing care with warmth and cheer. John beamed when meeting someone he delivered. The Valley was his home and he loved being a doctor.

John was brilliant. In high school he took French, Latin and German in his final year because he could excel in those subjects. How many people planning a career in medicine take three languages because they are easy? John completed all the requirements for a bachelor's degree in political science during his pre-medicine year. Not too shabby.

His knowledge of medicine was exceptional. John retired a decade ago, but it was hard to break old habits. He subscribed to Medscape, a medical electronic newsletter, read the daily update and did the online quizzes. John's twin passions were knowledge and medicine.

John was more than funny. His command of the limerick was ... quite embarrassing. John's life experience-based stories evolved with every retelling, and never failed to bring smiles, laughter, and, in some cases, tears.

His sense of humour will be sorely missed by his family and friends, especially his 'Testicle Festival' ski trip buddies. John was interested in everyone and everything. He read voraciously, sharing his knowledge, wisdom, and on more than one occasion, opinions.

An enthusiastic and curious traveler, John's first major trip was a charter to England. The flight was forced to refuel in Gander NFLD because no English company would advance credit. Student travel makes for tall tales, even making Air Canada look good in comparison.

In retirement, John travelled to Ireland to explore his roots and study the culture. Tales of shared experiences in B&Bs and village pubs made the people of Ireland come alive. We imagine that somewhere in Ireland, people continue to speak warmly of our unofficial Canadian ambassador.

John was athletic. At 5 foot and change, he was a basketball star in high school. He played in the local men's league until his knees gave out. John also played senior men's rugby until age and injuries finally forced him to the sidelines. His many stories of rugby team road trips to Japan were warm, humorous testaments to lifelong bonds of friendship.

John skied Mount Washington for over 40 years. He chased deep powder snow on mainland mountain peaks in the company of friends and family. Then there was the Narwhal, his mistress of the sea, his sailboat. Sailing is not a solitary activity. It is an occasion where like-minded adventurers come together to enjoy the sea and life. John raced the Sunday before his death in a storm. He cycled his usual 50 Km route the day before his heart attack.

Gifted with a sharp mind, a soft heart and an astonishing memory, John never forgot a name, a face, a fact, a joke, or a friend.

John is lovingly remembered by his wife and devoted partner of 52 years, Lynn; children Ben (Sarah) of Victoria; Sarah (Adam) of Courtney/Tofino; and Tom (Dani) of Prince George; brothers Dennis (Caryl) of Lethbridge AB and Christopher (Wendy) of Charleston Lake ON. John will be greatly missed by the medical community and many in Comox Valley and beyond.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 3:00 PM on Saturday, February 10, 2024, in the Conference Hall, Florence Filberg Centre, 411 Anderton Avenue, Courtney.

For those who wish, memorial donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation or Comox Valley Food Bank, PO Box 3028, Courtney BC, V9N 5N3 / Online through Canada Helps

Service Details

Celebration of Life
Saturday, February 10, 2024
3:00 PM
Conference Hall, Florence Filbert Centre, 411 Anderton Avenue, Courtney

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