442 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 76 PART 3 MAY 2018
the law of torts from Murray Fraser. Murray, seven years later, became the
founding dean of the law school at the University of Victoria.
When John graduated from Dal in 1971, it was not unusual to then pursue
a master’s degree in law at the London School of Economics. Adding a master’s
degree to your resume, in exchange for a year of travelling in Europe,
was not lost on John as a scholastic strategy. (“Let’s See Europe” was the
school’s unofficial name, bestowed by the candid colonials. One of John’s
Dal classmates at LSE offered to refund his scholarship, given that he was
travelling too much and studying too little. The school refused the unprecedented
offer, saying it would render the scholarship program academic.)
History unfolded as it should, and John W. Pearson Jr., LL.B., LL.M.,
made his way to Vancouver. He practised law here for more than 40 years.
In 1974 he joined what was then Shrum, Liddle & Hebenton. Shrum, Liddle,
an excellent firm, was small by today’s standards. It eventually became part
of McCarthy Tétrault, where John remained until he turned 65, in 2011.
John’s broad commercial practice included work in mining, the restaurant
industry, maritime law and biotechnology. His advice was practical,
reasoned and prompt. He was blessed with the key ingredient for good
lawyering: sound judgment. His integrity and sense of fairness were
evident to all. Modesty should be added to this list. In all the Friday night
Dalhousie dinners in Vancouver over the decades, fuelled as they sometimes
were by B.C.’s developing wine industry, Pearson was the (only) one
who never tried to show how smart he was.
John and his first wife, Marianne, raised two impressive daughters,
Emily and Madeline, now both grown up. John’s first grandchild, Maya, was
born to Emily and her husband, James Thesinger, in February of this year.
Emily and Madeline, when they spoke at the celebration of John’s life
earlier this year, included these remarks:
What we do know is that when our dad looked at us, it was always with a
look of unwavering love, even up to his last days. Never did he challenge
our choices. He only supported them, and told friends with pride about
the latest antics we were up to. We know with deep conviction that Dad
wanted the very best for us, and what we would tell him today, if he were
here, is that the thing we valued more than any gift, or trip, was our time
Throughout his life as a lawyer, John never surrendered his life on the
water. He fished for decades near Merritt, at Corbett Lake, with his law partners
Robin Sirett, Tony Knox and Kevin Wright. John once pointed out to
them, after discovering he had been fishing one day on the tailing pond of
a nearby copper mine, that at least the problem was not in his fly selection.
John Baigent, a fellow Dalhousie and Shrum, Liddle alumnus, took John