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Born: Jun 05, 1921

Date of Passing: Jan 21, 2012

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JOHN JOSEPH BURKE-GAFFNEY John died peacefully January 21, 2012, at Arrowsmith Lodge, Parksville, BC, in his 91st year. Predeceased by his loving wife Isobel (nee Dix) in 2006. John is survived by sons and their spouses: Michael and Jan of Dundas, ON, Brian and Michiko of Nagasaki, Japan, and Tim and Susan of Hamilton, ON; beloved Grand John of Joseph, Andrew, Jesse, Emily, Taka and Saya. He is also survived by his sister Mary, RSCJ, of Halifax, sisters-in-law Helen of Victoria and Lois of Calgary and much-loved nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his first wife Elizabeth Sparling and by brothers Thomas Edward (Ted), Rev. Desmond, S.J. and Francis (Frank). Born in Winnipeg June 5, 1921, John made his career in writing, broadcasting, corporate communications and teaching. He worked for the CBC during the war years, joined the Winnipeg Tribune in 1946, then moved to a major Canadian advertising agency in 1949, leading to positions as Winnipeg manager, vice-president and board director based in Montreal. In the 1950s, John taught a pioneering course on the communication of ideas at the University of Manitoba and, over the years, won awards for documentary films, business communications and magazine publishing. He joined John Labatt Ltd., London, ON, in 1962 as their first director of public relations. He conducted seminars on public relations for the American Management Association in New York and served as Canadian director and board member on the International Association of Business Communicators. He retired from John Labatt in 1983 to act as their adviser on a number of corporate programs. He joined London's Victoria Hospital to organize a major redevelopment project, including a successful campaign to raise $10 million. During this time he was named an adjunct professor of the University of Western Ontario Graduate School of Journalism, lecturing on corporate communications. In 1988, he accepted an invitation from Nanaimo Regional General Hospital in British Columbia to establish a development program, and retired in Nanaimo in 1990. He was a former director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Manitoba Theatre Centre, as well as president and director of the London Art Gallery Association. In 1970, he helped found a centre near London, ON, for mentally handicapped adults for which he was honoured by the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services. He helped found the Nanaimo Counsel on Addictions Society and served as director of the Vancouver Island Symphony. John's family wishes to extend its deep gratitude to friend and hospice angel Anne Judson of Nanaimo. No service at John's request. Flowers are gratefully declined. Donations may be made to the Nanaimo Community Hospice Society. Friends may wish to say a prayer for John and for peace.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Jan 25, 2012

Condolences & Memories (2 entries)

  • He set the bar all BGs strive for. - Posted by: chris burke-gaffney (nephew) on: Apr 08, 2013

  • I have very fond memories of Uncle John, he will be missed by the Burke-Gaffneys down under. Rest in peace. - Posted by: Noel and Ella Burke-Gaffney (Nephew) on: Jan 28, 2012

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