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KENWELL, JOHN CLARENCE (JACK): Passed away on Thursday, October 14, 2021, in his 90th year.
Jack was married to the love of his life, Denise Gabrielle Caron, for 63 wonderful years before her passing in 2015. His children, John and Catherine (Kevin) will miss him dearly, as will his grandchildren, Addi (Blair) and Tristan (Marley) and his adored great-grandson Chayse. Jack will also be immeasurably missed by his youngest brother Bill.
He is predeceased by Denise and his brothers Ivan, Reg, and Bobby.
Dad touched so many lives and hearts through a lifetime of community work, sports, and volunteering. Going anywhere with Dad meant we always had to plan extra time—because he’d run into several friends and stop to chat along the way. We often joked that he knew everyone in ‘old Barrie’.
Jack was a gifted athlete and played baseball his entire life, until he retired at age 83 from Barrie’s Wrinkled Warriors, a seniors’ team he helped to establish. Over the years he played throughout Ontario and in Detroit and Niagara Falls NY. He was thrilled when his son John joined him as a WW teammate, and they played together for several years. Jack also umpired hundreds of games as a member of the Ontario Umpires Association.
In addition to his baseball career, Jack played, coached, and refereed hockey for almost 50 years. In 1973, he received the Wes Allsopp Memorial Trophy for his contributions to Barrie Minor Hockey. As Legion Minor Hockey Chairman, he grew the LMHA to 1300 players. He also spent several years as the organization’s Referee-in-Chief.
Jack was an in-demand sports official. Over the years, baseball and hockey players—even those on the losing teams—appreciated his calls and fairness. They might have cursed at him, but they also admired his accuracy and skill.
Dad believed that every kid at every ability level should have the opportunity to play sports.
Jack worked at General Tire for 35 years and spent long hours negotiating employee wages and benefits as Local President of the United Rubber Workers. His work often took him to URW Headquarters in Akron, Ohio.
After Jack retired, he continued volunteering, this time alongside Denise. Dad and Mom freely gave their time to the Parkview Seniors’ Centre, Royal Victoria Hospital Auxiliary, and the Barrie Baycats. As chief ticket taker, Dad was the first friendly smile visitors saw at Baycats games, and he’d warmly welcome each fan. Mom sang in the Parkview Singers choir, and Dad always supported her by volunteering to take tickets, fundraise, or whatever was needed.
Jack had a gift for making people feel comfortable and special. So many folks—and especially younger people—loved him, calling him ‘bonus dad’, ‘third grandpa’, or ‘favorite uncle’. He certainly had a magic about him that people gravitated towards, and he was always a true gentleman. Sunny, Dad’s favorite grand-dog, will be forever looking out the front window for Papa and his biscuits.
We were especially blessed to call Jack our Dad, Papa, and best friend.
Thank you to Dr. Eke and Dr. Fong for your kindness and care during Dad’s hospital stay, and deepest appreciation to Nurse Brenda in RVH’s intensive care unit, for taking care of all of us at the end.
Cremation has taken place and as per Jack’s wishes, there will be no formal memorial. Donations can be made in Jack’s memory to Jumpstart Charities.
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