John William Dunnett passed away peacefully, surrounded by members of his family, at the age of 90 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox, B.C. in the early morning hours of August 14, 2014. John was born at home in Nelson, B.C. to Arthur Dunnett and Margarita (Taylor). He was predeceased by two older sisters, Doreen (Dunnett) and Peggy (Walsh).
John is survived by his loving wife Elaine (Douglas) of 58 years , four children – Alan (Jane ), Barbara (Neil), Janice (Al ) and Anne (Andrew ); and six grandchildren – Heather, Lindsay and Kevin Wakelin, Taylor and Geordie Dafoe and Madeline Dunnett.
Born prematurely and weighing under three pounds, he demonstrated a strong will to survive! By the age of 12 he contracted polio and typhoid fever and his will to survive again prevailed. Growing up, he loved sports, including hockey and badminton, as well as fishing and hunting with his lifelong friend George Colletti. At the age of 18 he joined the RCAF and realized his dream of becoming a pilot. He never let on that he had some muscle weakness in one of his hands and passed all his flying exams without a hitch. During the war years he trained other young pilots and navigators on Harvards in Manitoba. After the war, he rejoined the RCAF and obtained his instructors rating and commercial pilot’s license; however, a flying career was not meant to be. John left the air force and returned to the Kootenays, where in time he became an insurance adjuster.
John was a man of principle and integrity, demonstrating this in his work and private life. In his late 20’s he met Elaine (Douglas) in Trail B.C. In 1955, a new job with Ross and Company brought him to the Comox Valley where he and Elaine were married that same year. John loved the valley where he continued to teach flying and was an original member of the Comox Flying Club.
After a long working career John retired at age 70 and continued to love the great outdoors, golfing at Sunnydale, and taking trips to Nelson with his wife and other family members. He also adventured to New Zealand to visit family and to fish, and he and Elaine travelled to the U.K., Europe and to various parts of Canada and the U.S. John enjoyed his garden, the odd poker game, a nip of good Scotch, and spending time with family. He was a great father and husband and always put his children’s needs ahead of his own. John never complained about his health and always said that tomorrow would be another day and things would get better. He will be remembered with fondness by those who knew him.
We would like to thank Dr. Anderson and the many physicians, nurses and other staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital for their compassionate care for John over the past year. We also thank the home care workers who enabled Elaine to care for John at home, especially during the past few months.
There will be no service by request. The family continues to celebrate John’s life.