NEAL, John of London, Ontario

Posted by on August 10, 2012

John William Neal

Always assuming his heart would someday fail, family and friends were sadly surprised to learn John’s days would end with pancreatic cancer. At 73, he’d been given 23 bonus years from his successful heart transplant—and was forever grateful for his life’s extension. Born and raised in Brantford, Ontario, John started out as a sheet-metal and refrigeration journeyman, but as an overachiever and avid believer in continuing education, careers in teaching, guidance and cars followed, and eventually the Personnel Director for the London Board of Education, a job of which he was so proud. On the steps of the Brantford YMCA one fateful evening long ago, John, who was entering, asked Jean Brandwood, who was leaving, “Where do you think you’re going?” She replied, “There’s no one worth dancing with in there.” He began a 51-year love affair with the line: “Well, there is now!” A teaching position eventually brought the couple to London and shortly after that, Jennifer and Julie arrived. John knew a little about a lot and mastered many skills. He loved North American cars, fire engines and trains, a booming hymn, a great debate, and a tall gin and tonic. He loved his wife, his girls, his grandchildren and his cats. A careful and cautious man, his motto was always “You can do it right, or you can do it twice.” John could talk electrical, mechanical and civil engineering with anyone who’d listen. He could blissfully fall asleep in the theatre or a dinner party. Eating a big breakfast, cherry cheesecake and dip were all-day favourites. His quirky sense of humour was always positive and hopeful; his laugh, a sudden boom. He loved his home and garden, and was proud of a fastidiously kept lawn. He never drove to a destination the same route twice. He loved chatting up the neighbours, negotiations of any sort and human connections of all kinds. He loved his beefsteak tomatoes and a highway to anywhere. He had a sensitive touch, with a teardrop for your story and an empathetic ear. He was a devout CBC listener and Toronto Star reader. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend to many, and always found new friends wherever he went. Funeral services to be held at Church of St. John the Divine, Arva, Ontario, Monday, August 13, 2:00 p.m., followed by a reception at Windermere Manor. Donations to London Health Sciences Multi Organ Transplant Unit/Oncology deeply appreciated. Special thanks to the medical staff at University and Victoria Hospitals, Bayshore Nursing, CCAC and St. Elizabeth’s Health Care.  (

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Filed Under: Ontario

TAMBLYN, John of London, Ontario

Posted by on August 10, 2012

Tamblyn, John R.B(1947 – 2012)

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of John Tamblyn on August 7, 2012 while on a canoe trip.  He was in his 65th year.  Beloved husband of Mary Sue Brennan and dear father of Emma and Zoe. Greatly missed by brother David (Susan), sister Louise, brother James (Kiri), and sister-in-law Marjy Marulanda (Carlos).  Predeceased by brother-in-law Tim Brennan (Yoko). Also mourned by nieces and nephews Bob, Diana (David), Jennifer, Keenan, Andrea, Alex, Mariko, Joji, Lisa and grand niece Rosie.

John was an expert photographer, skilled in taking pictures of people, places and things. His ability to put people at their ease and his sensitive touch behind the camera lens enabled him to capture the essence of his subjects. His works, which he called “light paintings”, were exhibited in numerous solo and group shows in London and region. John’s most recent exhibit, Trees and Trains, was held in November 2011 in partnership with his niece, Diana Tamblyn. At the time of his death, he had just completed recording the McMaster University art collection.

John’s generosity of spirit, sense of humour and enthusiasm for life endeared him to a wide circle of friends with whom he enjoyed canoe trips, golf, poker nights, good food and wine, theatre, art and travel.  His role in family life seems irreplaceable – he was at the centre of all family events and get-togethers.  He will be sorely missed by all.

There will be a private cremation.  A memorial celebration of John’s life will be held at Museum London, 421 Ridout St. N., London on Wednesday, August 15, from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m., with tributes at 3:00 p.m.

Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Middlesex-Elgin Chapter, 150-633 Colborne Street, London, ON  N6B 2V3.  Online donations and tributes may be placed through

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Filed Under: London

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