John Carruthers McConnell, a well-known and beloved long-time resident of Ryder Lake, passed away peacefully at Chilliwack General Hospital on December 3rd, 2010 at the admirable age of 92.
John was born in Swan Lake, Manitoba on October 29th, 1918 to John C. McConnell and was a graduate of Chilliwack High School. On January 8th, 1940, he joined in marriage to Linda Coughlin of Ryder Lake at St. Thomas Anglican Church. They met at a dance at the old Ryder Lake Hall on Ryder Lake Road and thus began a lifetime together. Their first chaperones of their first official date were the now deceased Major Perrie and his good wife Bertha Perrie.
John lived a full life, dedicated to his community in both Chilliwack and Ryder Lake. Fondly referred to as the ‘Mayor of Ryder Lake’, he will be remembered as the instigator of the Ryder Lake Volunteer Fire Hall Department and the building of the Ryder Lake Fire Hall which was purchased by the Municipality of Chilliwack in the early 1980’s. The fire hall is currently known as Hall No.5 of the City of Chilliwack Fire Department, of which he remained as a volunteer until his 70th birthday. Life Member & Past President of the Ryder Lake Farmers’ Institute he worked towards the purchasing of the property and building of the new Ryder Lake Farmers’ & Women’s Institute Hall on Elk View Road; Life Member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 4.
In the 1980’s, his friendly face was seen behind the beard of Santa, announcer of the world famous Dew Worm Races which participated in Expo 86, and delivering mail to the Greendale Rural area from 1964 to 1989. John belonged to the Westminster Regiment and served in WW II in Europe as a dispatch rider (motor cycle) between the Canadian and British Armies. Thus began his fondness for motorcycles. After retiring from the Army, he worked as a weigh man in the hop yards, volunteered during the Flood of 48 hauling gravel on the dyke, truck driver for a logging company and then as a rural postman until retirement.
The residence of John and Linda is a place like no other; beautiful gardens full of fresh scents and ingenious designs which they built together over their 60 years of residence at their home in Ryder Lake. It is a place enjoyed by all; human and animal alike. One could always count on a hand wave from John who in his latter years supervised the goings on from the gazebo in their garden.
John is fondly remembered by his loving wife and best friend of 71 years, Linda of Ryder Lake, nephews, nieces, grand nephews and nieces, friends and neighbours. He was predeceased by his sister, Margaret Lazenby (Bill), John C. McConnell (father) and numerous in-laws.
Special Thanks to Dr. Gruno, Dr. Fam; staff and nurses from Unit 3 and 5 at Chilliwack General Hospital. An Extra Special Thanks to their good neighbour, Sharon Berney, for organizing rides for Linda to visit John and for all the days she drove Linda herself.
Please join the family in a celebration of John’s life at Henderson’s Funeral Home on Wednesday, December 8th at 11:00 am, followed immediately by a burial at the Legion Cemetery on Little Mountain and a reception at the Ryder Lake Hall on Elkview Road at 12:30 pm.
Online condolences can be left at www.hendersonsfunerals.com