Mar. 7, 1926 - Jun. 9, 2013
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John "Jack" Hemphill Jr. died peacefully on June 9, 2013 in Victoria, his home of 41 years. He was born March 7, 1926 in New York City to John Hemphill and Marie Calhoun O'Shaughnessy. He grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, attended Princeton Country Day and Millbrook schools and graduated with a degree in Biology from Princeton University, following an interruption by Naval service during WW II, as a member of the class of '47. He worked in many fields (biologist, chemist, construction company owner, printing company owner, IBM programmer, book-keeper, geneticist, Scandinavian imports store owner, window shade installer and mortgage broker) and lived many places (Greenwich CN, Princeton NJ, New York City, Hopewell NJ, Oslo Norway, Hanover NH, Arendal Norway and Victoria BC) evidence perhaps of a somewhat restless but certainly original spirit. To his family and friends, however, he was completely dedicated and devoted. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Wenche nee Smith and sons John "Chris" Erik Smith Hemphill (Janine) and Tybring Michael Smith Hemphill (Beth), grandchildren Elisa, Mattias and Anders, sister Hope Carter, nieces Ann and Alantha and nephew Stephen.
Jack loved learning. He always wanted to live near a university, would enroll in all manner of courses, volunteered in various departments and kept a subscription to Scientific American until the end. He was fond of the unusual and arcane in facts and in people. He preferred the simple to the showy. He would choose a freeze-dried meal on a canoe trip over a gourmet meal in a fancy restaurant for the better view and the smaller bill. He would choose the company of a small child still possessed of a sense of wonder and joy, over that of any famous person. He valued good education, unspoiled wilderness, family and friends.
For the last several years he struggled with vascular dementia and the gradual loss of his memory. One thing that disease could never take from him, however, was his sense of humour. He was a wise and kind soul until the end, cared for by Wenche and most recently the excellent staff at Kiwanis Pavillion and generous volunteers. He leaves our hearts filled with love and our minds filled with wonder. A celebration of Jack's life will be held at the UVIC Faculty Club on Saturday, July 27 at 12:00. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Alzheimers Society of BC or Sierra Club of BC in Jack's memory. Condolences may be offered at www.mccallbros.com
Published in The Times Colonist from June 22 to June 24, 2013