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Born: Jul 01, 1947

Date of Passing: Aug 28, 2022

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CROWSON: Jonathan Yates, age 75, died on Sunday, August 28th, 2022, in Hamiota, MB. Jon was born July 1st, 1947, in Welling, Kent, U.K. the youngest child of Jim and Marjorie Crowson. In 1948 the Crowson family moved to Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, U.K. where Jon grew up to love the west country and the rural life around him. He was always a keen gardener, helping his Grandad to grow vegetables as a toddler, and somewhat ingeniously building a cold frame from some discarded sash windows to grow tomatoes and aubergines - practically unheard of in such cold climes! He was a diligent pupil at Fitzmaurice Grammar school, excelling academically as well as in practical subjects, especially woodwork. Along with his classmates, he built himself a canoe and then adventured down the river Wye on a canoeing holiday, eventually coming home to sleep for 24 hours without waking! After completing his Grammar school education, he attended the University of London Wye College Campus in Kent U.K. studying for a bachelor's degree in agriculture. After graduation, it was not long before he returned to Wye to complete a master's degree in Agricultural Economics. Between and after his studies, he gained good experience for a few years working in the U.K. In 1976 Jon emigrated to Canada and worked in Winnipeg for the Provincial Government Dept of Agriculture. He spent many weekends commuting to and from Cypress River, buying a home there to escape the city and spending time with his sponsor and older brother whose family farmed nearby. Jon soon realised the freedom and opportunity that life in Canada presented, spending holidays with his parents, who visited from the U.K., he drove them all over western Manitoba visiting Provincial Parks and areas of interest. In 1980, he became the Agricultural Representative in Hamiota until 1986. He got to know the lay of the land and decided to invest in a farm. Needing funds, he applied to the Canadian International Development Agency for positions overseas. He worked in Zambia, The Sudan and Grenada at different times during the eighties and early nineties assessing, advising and managing various projects aimed at improving food production. This allowed him to realise his dream and he farmed in the Hamiota area expanding his base over time. After his employment with CIDA he once again turned to Manitoba Agriculture and became the Ag. Representative in Virden for a while and also worked for Manitoba Crop Insurance Corporation in Portage-la-Prairie. Jon cherished his farm and thoroughly enjoyed the lifestyle he built for himself. He grew a very useful garden, was aware of the wildlife that shared his space, built nest boxes for swallows and grew milkweed for Monarch butterflies. He observed deer, the occasional moose, bear and busy beavers damming his culverts, causing a degree of conflict. He had an old cat, a buddy that he cared for years into its old age of 27 or so. He kept chickens and bees not only for their utility, but also to observe and enjoy. Being single and having never married he found helpful neighbours and good friends in Vernon Darroch and Kelvin Tiller who pitched in to help and on occasion, held the fort in Jon's absence. They farmed together as good neighbours do. His love and attention to the natural world was felt by his niece who visited him in 2005 "I remember the strange song of the cranes as they headed down south way up above his garden as we lay on our backs and saw them drift down on the thermal with their legs dangling. In most years since, he's let me know when the cranes are passing over. I can also picture him expertly handling his canoe, his body seemingly an extension of the boat. His eyes were lit up and it's easy to imagine him the same all the way back in the 1950s. His eyes were often crinkled with a smile." Jon was a quiet, modest man who rarely seemed upset, but when issues arose that piqued his interest he would react and speak up. He was concerned over land use and would pen an opinion on apparent misuse, particularly where farmland was involved. More recently he researched all the various makes and models of automatic military style rifles that he clearly felt should be banned, furnishing lists to government lobbyists. Despite the long distance between Jon and his family, he always kept in close contact and was a supportive and loving brother and uncle. During his time working abroad he would often visit on his way back from the exotic places where he worked. In later years family life was shared through regular phone calls and emails which will be very much missed. Most recently Jon shocked his family with news of a diagnosis of inoperable pancreatic cancer. He was cared for and kept comfortable by the staff at the Hamiota hospital for the short duration of his illness. Jon is survived by a brother, Bill Crowson of Canning, Nova Scotia and a sister Linda Rios of Fourstones, Hexham, U.K. four nieces and one nephew and their families. The family wishes to extend heartfelt thanks to Vernon Darroch, the hospital nursing staff in Hamiota and Dr. Chalice in the Hamiota Clinic for their care and understanding. Thank you to Dwayne at the Campbell Funeral Home for your invaluable help. Jon's ashes will be interred in the local cemetery in Hamiota. May he rest in peace. Charitable donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society.

As published in Brandon Sun on Sep 10, 2022

Condolences & Memories (1 entries)

  • My sincere condolences to Jon's family. Jon bought the farm that we were raised on and when we returned to the area he would extend a welcome for us to visit the farm. He was eager to share his improvements and he listened to our stories of the old days. I fortunately experienced another visit in May and got to see and hear about all the new developments. his lovely garden and yard and his chickens. He had so many more plans. RIP Jon. - Posted by: Kay Walker ( Darroch ) (friend) on: Sep 10, 2022

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