WEST, John March 16, 1949 to May 17, 2017 John West, beloved husband to Bonnie Stacy, died peacefully at home on May 17, 2017, surrounded by family and close friends. John was a wonderful and loving son to Barbara and Bill West, brother to Elizabeth and Kathleen, uncle to Niya, Kieran, and Liam, great-uncle to Addae and Alexander, and stepfather to Sean. John, dynamic and larger-than-life, was devoted and loyal to his family and wide circle of friends. He had a strong sense of place and an intense passion and respect for the people, the maritime history, and the architecture of the BC coast. This marked his life in a community where he firmly planted his roots. John's family and wide community will greatly miss his delicious meals; conversation and storytelling around a large and welcoming table; his wide-ranging accounts of traditional boats on the BC Coast to ships in the western Pacific; spirited discussions of politics, religion, the monarchy, and history. Most of all, they will miss his spirit, warmth, kindness, trustworthiness, helpfulness, humour, intelligence, and his love for his family and circle of friends. John had a deep and abiding love of the sea and boats, dating back to his first eight foot Sabot which, at the age of six or seven, he navigated single handed across Haro Strait towards San Juan Island. As a boy, he sailed in Vado, the five metre keelboat that he built with his father. As an adult, he explored the BC coast in his many boats: Far West, a restored 12 metre troller; Gabrielle II, a 48 foot Knut Reimers' yawl; Astrocyte, a 50 foot William Garden circumnavigator sloop; Scaup, a Monk troller cruiser; and Kwasun, a Laurent Giles designed Salar 40 which he transported across North America from Rhode Island before he had it meticulously restored. John had a vast knowledge of maritime heritage and had a profound impact on its preservation in BC; he was described as "a walking, or floating encyclopedia when it comes to classic boats. The man at the helm of the Victoria Classic Boat Festival had a passion for the past." John was one of the founders of the Festival in 1977 and served as chair from 1998 until 2005 and later as judging coordinator, imparting his deep knowledge of classic vessels. John was a driving force of the Festival and had a significant role in its enduring success. John was a staunch supporter of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, serving as a trustee, a board member, and as chair of the board. Through his work there, he was one of the people instrumental in the ongoing restoration of Dorothy, the historically important Gaff cutter, built and launched in Victoria Harbour in 1897. John was at his happiest when he was sailing and exploring the BC coastline. Whether tied up at a dock or anchored, John would always find a boat that he knew the heritage of, and with gin in hand, he would head off to meet and chat with the "captain" of the boat. John's first professional calling was on the TEV Princess Marguerite, which ultimately took him to Northern British Columbia and later as chief engineer at Bapco Paint in Victoria. Most of John's professional life was in real estate where he brought his prodigious knowledge of local history and architecture, his refined and exacting eye, and his great enjoyment of people to the profession. John spent the better part of his forty-year real-estate career at Newport Realty. John said he felt blessed to have worked with a wonderful crew for whom he had such tremendous admiration. John was a devoted and active member of the St. Barnabas Anglican Church family. He served on the Parish Council for many years and participated in numerous church functions. His egg-salad sandwiches for the Sunday lunches will be missed. A sincere thank you to all the people who supported John and Bonnie in the past few months: everyone in the BC Cancer Agency, in particular Dr. Saltman and his assistant Dena, and Dr. Pai; our family physicians, Drs. Innes and Walton; the parishioners at St. Barnabas Anglican Church and, in particular, Fathers John Hannen and Travis O'Brian; and friends Bill W., Bill N., Conrad, Jim, Hasse, Jamie, Erica, and Holly. We want to express our profound appreciation for our goddaughter, Amanda, and her husband, Gabe. We would also like to express our thanks to the numerous friends in John and Bonnie's world who have provided constant love and support. The funeral will take place at Christ Church Cathedral, 930 Burdett Ave., Victoria, on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 1:00 PM. A reception will follow at the Inn at Laurel Point, 680 Montreal St., at 4:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the BC Cancer Agency and/or The Maritime Museum of BC (634 Humbolt St., Victoria, BC V8W 1A4) in the name of John West.
Published in Victoria Times Colonist from May 20 to May 22, 2017.