John Kemp Poole
June 26, 1928-November 27, 2010
The world is smaller and much darker today. It has lost a wonderful man, John Kemp Poole. He died of multiple system failure in Campbell River Hospital at the age of 82. But those words can’t possibly describe what the world is missing. Dedicated pediatrician, good home wine-maker (after a few initial mouth-puckering attempts), pilot with his own Cessna 150 and world traveller. Keen on languages though his attempt to learn Mandarin Chinese was particularly interesting and deeply confusing to Orientals all over the Lower Mainland. And although he couldn’t change a light bulb, he managed, with the help of his flying cronies, to build a replica of a World War I SE5A fighter plane at home in a room that once housed an indoor pool that he filled with concrete (yes, the sound you hear is his daughters’ whining).
John grew up in Chapman Camp in Kimberley, BC with his older brother Bill (Randi), his younger brother Graham (Anne) and his baby sister Hope (Laurence Hope). His youth was spent hiking, skiing (on Northstar before it had chairlifts and became a ski hill), fishing and generally harassing his siblings and his father Bill and stepmother Kaete. He loved two women: his second wife Audrey (Cole), with whom he spent the past 20 years in Campbell River and his first wife Patricia, with whom he lived in Burnaby until their breakup. With her, they raised two daughters (Kathryn, who is married to Stew MacMillan and Loren, who is married to Brent Snyder). John also leaves behind three grandkids: Kelsie, Kehl and Lukas.
As to his career, John entered McGill University at the tender age of 16, studying medicine and working as a nanny to help pay costs. Mostly to his own surprise (everyone else knew he had what it took), he graduated and later moved to Burnaby, BC to start a practice as a pediatrician. Countless times he would arise in the deep hours of night, put on a suit and tie and head in to an emergency call. House calls were also a regular occurrence. In order to spend time with his then young daughters, he would often take them along to sit in the back seat of the car while grabbing his “doctor bag” and heading in to a patient’s home. None of these words do justice to a man of great honour and integrity, a man with a wicked sense of irony (take that to mean a sick sense of humour) and a man who was an incredibly supportive husband, father and friend. And because he was also a man who never met a fine single malt he didn’t like, we ask that you raise a glass to him and give his favourite toast. “Here’s to our side!” We will miss him forever.
A celebration of John Poole’s life was held on Sunday, Dec. 5 at Dolphins Resort 4125 Discovery Dr., Campbell River, BC. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your local food bank.
Arrangements entrusted to Island Funeral Services, Elk Falls Cremation and Reception Services, Campbell River, BC.