John Wilfred Turvey

Turvey, John Wilfred


October 26, 1944 – October 11, 2006

October 11, 2006. Beloved husband of his ‘sweetie’, Deb Mearns. Proud father of Chad and his wife Lisa, and fond grandfather to Ryan. Well-known activist and advocate in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, John overcame his own early difficulties with drugs and abuse, dedicating the rest of his working life to giving others the same opportunities for change and hope for the future. John was well-known for his direct speaking style and lack of patience with political excuses. He was particularly passionate about reaching out to ‘street involved’ youth and was directly responsible for helping many develop more stable lives. He founded the Downtown Eastside Youth Activities Society (DEYAS) in 1984, developed Canada’s first needle exchange in 1988, worked tirelessly to foster community services in East Vancouver and proudly served as a long-time board member of the Ray-Cam Cooperative Community Centre. In recognition of his significant contributions, John was awarded the Order of British Columbia on June 16, 2004 and became a Member of the Order of Canada on March 24, 2006. John found true happiness with Deb, the love of his life and best friend and she will miss him greatly. Together with their puppies Corey and Maggie, they relished the time they spent together in their new home in Comox, enjoying their garden, and sharing their lives with their neighbours, friends and both of their families. Over the years as John’s body succumbed to a muscle-wasting condition, both his and Deb’s lives were made easier and fuller with the help of friends, home support staff and in particular Dr. Mark Woldnik. Appreciation also to the Shaw family for their never-ending support and friendship, and in particular to Savanna Shaw.

A Memorial Service will be held for John at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations being directed to children’s programs at the Ray-Cam Co-operative Community Centre, 920 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6A 3T1.

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