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Jan Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 109 bled down the embankment to help. Never one to let adversity get the best of him, John was reciting The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot to ease the pain when the passerby lifted him up causing his spine to fracture. As a star pupil in therapy at G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre, John became adept at moving around with crutches and braces when not in a wheelchair. He spent a few years sorting out his life, living with his mother and taking a variety of classes at Simon Fraser University. It was there that he met Karen Wellburn. Charmed, as we all were, by his enthusiasm and cheerful wit, she provided the practical support needed to get him through law school and go on to create a fulfilling life and career despite being wheelchair bound. John was called to the B.C. bar in 1982 and set out on his career working first in private law firms, then as a prosecutor for Canada Immigration, before becoming a legal writer updating a variety of texts and reference books that are standards in Canadian law libraries. These included Harris’ Wrongful Dismissal and Campion & Dimmer’s Professional Liability in Canada as well as Tarnopolsky & Pentney’s Discrimination and the Law and that classic staple, Sanagan’s Words and Phrases, all of which made for a prodigious amount of reading and writing. Updates of Words and Phrases were originally made two or three times a year, but John stuck with it as it became a hectic monthly venture passing from Richard De Boos in Don Mills, Ontario to Carswell, then on to Thomson Reuters Canada where it became one of the company’s best sellers. On the home front, John and Karen adopted Pavel and Lisa from Russia, becoming active in adoptive parent groups in order to maintain their cultural connections. The children thrived in the rich and loving environment the family provided. As well as studying Russian, John’s active intelligence led him through biblical studies, Hebrew and an on-going feast of musical and literary interests. When the family moved out to Mission with the creation of the West Coast Express, John’s engaging personality led him to make many friends during commutes. One of these mentioned Opening Nite Theatre’s desperate search for a piano player and John became a mainstay, lending his multifaceted talents to many musical and theatrical productions. As he grew older, John’s paraplegic body became increasingly fragile. Despite having enough mental energy and joie de vivre to last forever, it finally gave out. He had a gift for turning obstacles into episodes in the great adventure of life, leaving us all to wonder not why such a good man had to die so young, but why we were so fortunate as to have had him with us at all. Karen Gardner and Grace Li Xiu Woo


Jan Advocate 2017
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