DR. JOHN T. MILLS, PHD. July 31, 1937 - April 4, 2016 Peacefully and supported by his family, John Thomas Mills passed away at Salt Spring Island's Lady Minto Hospital on April 4, 2016. Dr. John Thomas Mills Phd. was the embodiment of renaissance man in life. Whatever J.T. Mills attempted in life he succeeded brilliantly - be it life, love, family, adventure, science, art, or legacy. His currency was knowledge, understanding, kindness, love and wisdom. John was an advocate for nature and creativity and invested his time accordingly. He believed in conversations worth having and inspired many in the process to pursue their dreams and fufill their potential. Throughout his life, John nurtured a climate of unconditional love to guide his family and support his friends. He radiated a creative curiosity that sparked his love of science and nature. It also led him around the world several times touching six continents in the process. John exuded a passion and enthusiasm for whatever he put his focus on. He grew worthy ideas and designed many experiences. His quiet determination and understated charm overcame whatever obstacles and disagreement he encountered in his path. He believed one's character and the real wealth in life is enhanced by meaningful life experience and fostering enduring relationships that stand the test of time and distance. Born in Redhill, Surrey in July 1937 - John took refuge from the war in his beloved Wales. Ever the explorer, he then charted a course that took him across post war Europe and the U.K. as a young man. When he graduated from Imperial College, London he built the quintessential ex-pat life during that sunset of a golden age in Trinidad's sugar cane plantations discovering and marrying the love of his life - the multi-talented Carol. (To Mom, Dad always received the award for Best Supporting Actor). Once he had mastered life in the tropics, John immigrated to Canada to work in Winnipeg for the Canadian Government as a plant pathologist - shifting gears to become a world authority in diseases of grain and a forensic expert (and quickly adapting to one of the coldest places on Earth). John and Carol raised two sons Richard and Nicholas, and later nurtured two grandsons Jordan and Samson. John's sense of adventure never ceased as he was always only a plane ride away from what ever pursuit he undertook - family often in tow. In 1974-1975 John and Carol transplanted their young family to Holland for over a year on a work sabbatical. Every weekend (and some weeks) were well planned visits to significant cultural institutions and historical landmarks that crisscrossed Europe. Trains, planes, automobiles and shoes were all well used on this vital mission. John's marriage to Carol endured lovingly for 43 years, and following her passing he realized their shared vision to build a family retreat on Salt Spring Island under the vigilant supervision of his loyal, lovable and rather furry companion Bear. In his retirement from civil service, John focused his passion and energy to encourage culture and science other ways: becoming president of the Manitoba Society of Artists as well as chairman of Rare Breeds Canada. Combining these two themes - John's artistic talents blossomed as he became a celebrated painter. He particularly loved capturing animals in context of their environments - excelling at his depiction in the diversity of horse breeds. To those that knew him best, John's passion for knowledge and understanding of many things was manifested in his casual ability to solve the most complex of crosswords and also to always ask thoughtful questions - ones worthy of answering. J.T. Mills was a true gentleman in every sense of the word: a devoted husband, an amazing father, a benevolent grandfather, and a stalwart friend, he was admittedly a terrible cook but above all be was a wonderful human being. John was a man that believed in the potential of others and made a profound difference to many. He made his world a much better place. He is missed by all those he encountered and his legacy will endure in the future through the generations he touched. A celebration of John's life will be held on his birthday July 31, 2016 on his beloved Salt Spring Island. Donations, in lieu of flowers, can be made in memory of Dr. John T. Mills to the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation, 135 Crofton Road, Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 1T1. This obituary may also be viewed at www.haywardsfuneral.com The artwork of John T. Mills can be viewed at www.johntmills.ca
As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on April 09, 2016
A CELEBRATION OF JOHN'S LIFE WAS HELD JULY 31.2016, JOHN'S BIRTHDAY, AT HIS RECENT HOME ON SALT SPRING ISLAND, BC.
John Mills' Celebration of Life, July 31st, by his son Richard
This past weekend, the Mills family celebrated the life and legacy of their patriarch, the late Dr. John T. MIlls on the 79th anniversary of his birth on Salt Spring Island BC in the company of close friends.
John is fondly remembered as a gentlemen and a scholar with a penchant for adventure. His fine character was typified by the quiet wisdom he often shared to friends and the unconditional love and support given to his extended family. Blessed with a curious mind and quick sense of humor, John was one of the more interesting men in the world able to easily master the most challenging crossword puzzles.
Yet underneath John's demure, appearance, was a razor sharp mind that excelled at understanding natural science and after his retirement shifted his focus to create vivid painted depictions of the natural world around him.
Born in Redhill, Surrey, England, John's passion for learning resulted in a PhD in Botany from Imperial College London, a career In sugar cane research ( the key ingredient in Rum !) in Trinidad- (super HOT climate), then a second career as a plant pathologist for the Canadian Government in Winnipeg ( very COLD climate ) becoming a world authority on grain dust explosions and diseases of grain. Along the way, John was posted to Europe for 18 months with his young family - being based in the Netherlands (very CULTURALLY RICH climate). Every weekend in that time was an unforgettable adventure to a great city or museum designed to inspire young minds.
John's combined travels touched six continents and involved all manner of conveyances - with the exception of camels and elephants.
John was also fondly remembered as a rather terrible cook - which in turn accelerated the culinary talents of his sons Richard and Nick as soon as the were old enough to make toast.
Also honoured was John's remarkable life partnership of 44 years with his beloved wife Carol - who passed away suddenly 10 years ago. In their years together they raised 2 sons, nurtured 2 grandsons, lived extensively around the world, bridged the worlds of science, education and art - and expanded the intellectual boundaries of those they met along the way .
Carol earned 3 degrees in Fine Art and Education after her sons went to high school. Once described as a Trinidadian hybrid of Julia Child, Georgia O'Keefe and Martha Stewart, Carol was a Caribbean creative tour de force who delighted in the execution of curated dinner parties full of conversations and food that mattered. (To the curious: watch Peter Sellers' classic film the Party as a fitting reference)
In keeping with the legacy fostered by both John and Carol, an abundance great food, the very finest of Caribbean rum, vivid colors , inspired stories, unexpected connections as well as the odd song were shared amongst the 45 people that could join us.
The location of the celebration event - the Mills Family retreat on Salt Spring Island was envisioned over 25 years ago by John and Carol and built over the past several years, the Mills' retreat was intended to be a gathering place to rejuvenate the spirit and an environment to recharge the body and mind as well be an incubator for creativity.
All that could attend this past weekend's event commented that this mission was brought to life in their own words - John and Carol would be most delighted with this result.
As this weekend unfolded, it was truly a celebration of lives lived fully and well; of partnership; of service to others and of acceptance - where every one who attended contributed in some special way.
Carol's brother Horace and John's sister Val shared their touching reflections as did Richard, Nicholas, Samson and cousin Darryl.
Special acknowledgement was also given to Bear - the super sized retriever - who served as John's constant canine companion for the past 10 years. Sadly Bear had just passed away in mid July from cancer.
The entire Mills family is most grateful at the outpouring of love, support and remembrance for John in the past few months and the countless contributions to make this event so memorable.
We will endeavor to keep John and Carol's legacy of service to others shining; their keen interest in the twin spirits of creativity and curiosity awake; and their passion for travel and adventure alive and well in the years ahead.
Nicholas and Richard, Samson and Jordan
Salt Spring Island BC July 2016
"Agriculture and farm animals are particular interests of mine. Growing up in North Wales, I took for granted the many breeds of farm animals but now most of them are rare and threatened for survival. Manitoba is an agricultural province and for the past 4 years I have been visiting farms, country fairs and other events to become familiar with the scene. My interest in rare breeds of farm animals was rekindled by seeing them exhibited at fairs and through the activities of Rare Breeds Canada. I decided to help by producing paintings and art cards. I began by painting horses because of their diversity, beauty, dignity and strength then included rare and often spectacular breeds of other livestock. The art cards I send at Christmas time depict rare breeds and recipients often remark on them thus giving me an opportunity to tell their story for survival" Recently John has extended his interest to zoo animals many of which are rare and threatened in the wild.
John is a Member and former Secretary of the Manitoba Society of Artists (MSA), a Member of the Winnipeg Sketch Club and of Rare Breeds Canada. In 2007, he was awarded the Clifford C. Packer Prize at the MSA Open Juried Show. In 2008, he had his first solo show at the Fleet Galleries, Winnipeg. In June 2009, he was awarded the Juror's Prize at the MSA Open Juried Show in Winnipeg and in October participated in an oil painting workshop given by Shiela Barnes at the American Academy of Equine Art in Lexington, Kentucky. In 2010, he had a joint show with animal sculptor Mary Lowe at the Fleet Galleries,was awarded second prize in the professional category at the Red River Art Exhibition, Winnipeg, and appointed the first Artist-in-Residence by Rare Breeds Canada. In October 2010, he had a second solo show "Zoo Animals --- Private Moments" at the Frame of Mind Gallery in Winnipeg.
"It is with great sadness that Rare Breeds Canada board members announce the passing of John Mills; a loyal family man, a great friend, and a man who was dedicated to sharing his passion for preserving Rare Breeds Canada animals through his beautiful paintings." We are going to miss you John! Sincerely RBC board members.
I well remember his visit to Donnyweir Farm.
An earthly star gone out but a brighter one shining in heaven.
He was a real gentleman and impressed me with his kindness.
Gerald Donnelly. ON.
John thought the world of you Pam, he once said to me you were like a daughter.
He was committed to RBC and scientifically understood the importance of saving our rare breeds. Why, he also put me in contact with Louisa as we share a common interest in the Newfoundland Pony. He spoke highly of everyone involved with RBC.
His home in Winnipeg was like a gallery filled with light & creations, personal and worldwide. I am always appreciative of the talent and stories found in people's home.
Our first meeting in person, I ended up spending a good part of a day with him because we instantly connected and he had so much to share.
We also had the love of travel and life-long learning.
His four legged friend, Bear was enamored with John & John loved him shamelessly, which I found refreshing and enduring.
He also talked about his beloved wife, Carol; it was obvious to me how much she was loved and acutely missed. She stood by him and the family through many adventures around the globe, she was his rock. His stories reminded me of my parents and my own Dad who still misses my Mom after all these years.
When I read John was physically departed from this earth I was sad but also happy he was with his best friend who would have welcomed him with open arms, 2 spirits reunited as one. This gave me comfort, tears and a big smile.
He was proud of his boys and family who he appreciated at many different levels and for helping him remain independent.
John was a true gentleman, whom I instantly appreciated and loved.
I left his home knowing I gained a new friend, paintings and cards which I knew the stories behind them. They have a special place on our wall with artwork from around the country. Anyone I have sent the cards too always enjoy them. I will miss viewing his website and seeing new creations. Our friendship has grown through emails and phone conversations. The past 2 winters he has invited me to the Island; I am ashamed to say that work always seemed to get in the way. He has left many footprints in my mind and heart, as he graciously entered my life, he has left me with renewed interest in my passions, a gentle smile and greats hugs as we chuckle about when we will meet again. My memories of time shared, gives me comfort and hopefully brings joy to those who knew the multi-faceted John.
Newfmist Newfoundland Ponies.SK.
So sorry to hear of John Mills passing. I only spoke once to him but had many emails. Please, with a very heavy heart, send my condolences to his family from "this" Kerry breeder in the USA. We all have lost a great person who also has a love and connected people through rare heritage breeds.
I knew he was a very knowledgeable man; he was at his winter home I think when I spoke to him. We did email quite often and the thing I remember is his emails painted a picture usually about weather and the landscape of that day; just how he articulated his words I guess, maybe it was me, but super nice, always uplifting it seemed.
Jody Jess. Massachusetts. USA.
I just wanted to say that John was so very encouraging to me as an artist. He was instrumental in getting me into the Manitoba Society of Arts and also shared a show with me at the Fleet Gallery. He impressed upon me the need to get out and about with my art work and helped me along the way. I will be forever grateful for his kindness.
Mary Lowe. MB.
That is awful sad. Such a kind and generous man.
Nicole Hamill. MB.
So sorry to hear. God bless the family.
Scott Allum. MB.
Thanks for sharing this news. Certainly sounds like John led a great life and made many important contributions.
Co-ordinator of Interpretation,
Upper Canada Village. ON.
Thanks for letting me know about John. He will be a talented artist dearly missed by everyone that knew him.
Linda Fisher. MB.
Hi Pam - so sorry to hear that.
I remember him well from the Ottawa Valley Farm Show.
Edith Caviezel. ON.
Am deeply saddened by this news.
As ever, Peter Titley.
Past-Chair Rare Breeds Survival Trust, UK.
Thanks for sharing Pam. A wonderful tribute to a wonderful man..... 'a life well lived'.
Lauren Campbell, friend & artist, MB.
Thank you for letting me know about John’s passing. My last correspondence with John was in December. I am so very sorry that I have not been in touch since that time. I didn’t know him well but from our communications, I could tell he was a lovely man and a true gentleman. His obituary tells the story of his life and makes me wish I had known him better. I will write something to his family. I have copies of some of the cards from his series of Newfoundland Pony paintings. They are very beautiful and I am happy to have helped John obtain the photographs for some of these works. I believe he also worked with the late Debbie Bray on his earlier Newfoundland Pony paintings. So sad that they are both gone now but their good works continue.
Pat Morris. ON.
Very sorry to hear of this loss – not only for his family, but also for RBC.
Pete Wensink. RBC Director. ON.
Same here Peter - I've just put one of his paintings on the cover of our RBC Facebook page. I had the pleasure of meeting John at the AGM held here 2014. A real gentleman.
Andy Sproston. RBC Director. ON.
So very sorry to hear. A kind and generous gentleman.
TROTT, Equine Therapy, Ottawa.
John was always pleasant, always honest & always sincere and willing.
We shall miss your adventurous spirit and open-mindedness....and of course your artistic talent.
It was a surprising coincidence that we knew a lot of the same people in plant breeding & plant diseases from many years ago.
Thank you John, you're a good man.
Elwood Quinn, friend & fellow Director. QC.
The first time I met John & Carol I asked for help, putting together a large travelling exhibition between the Manitoba Society of Artists & the Alberta Society of Artists. They both volunteered without reservation....so John & Carol.
We all enjoyed a lovely friendship, which extended to the rest of my family & John's two fantastic sons & grandson's.
After losing Carol, John immersed himself in his own art & excelled. Having introduced John to Rare Breeds Canada, he remained totally committed to our vision; through his fabulous paintings he reached a wider group of supporters.
He served first as RBC Artist in Residence then Director and finally one of the best Chair's RBC ever had. His life's work is now a lasting legacy, both to John's own various talents & for the future of farm livestock, so important to John.
Always remembered & now missed; so glad to have known you. Pam Heath. MB.
I was saddened to hear of John's passing. I enjoyed talking to him and I could easily see his compassion, kindness, and gentleness. I love his art work and his dedication to preserving and educating people about Rare Breed animals through his paintings. Sincerely Ruth Freeman RBC director
Joe Henson MBE, the founder of the Cotswold Farm Park, has died.
A statement on the website of Adam Henson's Farm Park said:
"It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Joe Henson. Joe passed away peacefully after a short illness, surrounded by close family."
RBST and Farm parks have always gone hand in hand. Joe Henson (RBST founding chairman) was responsible for Britain’s first farm park. At the time Joe with a business partner, John Neave were farming 400 acres at Bemborough in the Cotswolds (known today as ‘Adam’s Farm’ on BBC TV’s Countryfile) and Joe had purchased some of what were known at the time as ‘Gene Bank’ breeds.
‘We had a rare breed collection and needed to make it pay. We felt that the way to do that was to open up to the public. This was a totally new concept, but one our landlord supported. We also won the support of the local authority because it realised the importance of tourism to the local economy.’
Joe Henson's Cotswold Farm Park opened its gates to the public in 1971 and there are now over 20 RBST approved conservation farm parks and city farms in the UK. These parks allow you to see many examples of Britain’s finest rare breeds and to learn of their importance.
As a lifelong champion of farming and education, Joe received an MBE for his services to rare breed conservation in 2011. Joe Henson’s enduring legacy is the widespread recognition of the importance of genetic diversity and the resurgence of rare and traditional breed.
When I went to see him, at his home in Bourton-on-the-Water, I met a man who was homely, gently humorous and modest – with no reason to be modest. The previous year, in 2011, he had been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to conservation. A founder member of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Joe opened the Cotswold Farm Park at Guiting Power in 1971 – a farm that has become a showcase for at-risk breeds, and is now one of the region’s major tourist attractions.
But rather than talk about his achievements during our hour-or-so together, Joe focused on his home and his family – his wife, Gill, and their four children. Of course, they include Adam, the television presenter and Cotswold Life columnist, who now runs the Cotswold Farm Park and its associated farm; and daughters Rebecca, Louise, and Libby, also a rare-breed expert with her own specialist IT business.
Here are some of the answers Joe Henson gave in his My Cotswold Life interview. The final extract is particularly poignant.
Joe HensonJoe Henson
How long have you lived in the Cotswolds?
For 60 years: I came to Cirencester agricultural college when I was 19. I grew up in London, where my dad, Leslie, was an actor; we had to live within easy reach of the West End. I had a model farm that I loved, and I used to spend my Saturday sixpence on a lead animal for it each week. We then moved to Northwood, at the end of the tube line, which was very rural, and my mum would walk me to a little farm up the road, where everything except the ploughing was done by horses. The herd of cows was hand-milked; the milk was bottled and delivered by pony and float; the chickens were all free range, and one of my jobs was to go round with a basket looking for eggs to take back to the farmer. That was the life for me. Because Dad was away in the war, entertaining the troops all over the world, my Grampy Bill got me a pair of rabbits to teach me about the facts of life! We were soon outnumbered so mum and I would swap oven-ready rabbit for eggs and vegetables; you can imagine that we didn’t live badly.
Joe HensonJoe Henson
What’s your idea of a perfect weekend in the Cotswolds?
Having friends to lunch. My wife is a very good cook and she loves to entertain.
If money were no object, where would you live in the Cotswolds?
Joe HensonJoe Henson
I wouldn’t move. I need to be within walking distance of the post office and the one in Bourton is still going strong; it’s heartbreaking the way so many others are closing. But if money were no object, then I’d probably have ended up paying for that very expensive Highland bull that Adam bought in Scotland [as seen in a Countryfile episode]. We agreed a price before he left, and he doubled it. I said to him, ‘If you’d sent me out to buy that bull and I’d done that, you’d have given me hell!’ But Adam was absolutely right; for a Highland, that bull has got amazing conformation.
Where are you least likely to live in the Cotswolds?
Even though I was born in London, I’m a country boy so I wouldn’t want to live in Gloucester, for instance. Cheltenham is nice for a shopping trip, lunch or the theatre: I love good acting. When I was a boy, I had a very bad stammer, so there was never any question of me being an actor. I cured myself by discovering that girls don’t go out with boys who stammer!
What would you do for a special occasion?
We’re having a special occasion this year  because it’s our 55th wedding anniversary and I will be 80. We’re going to have the whole family and some very close friends over in a marquee in the garden. The last wonderful occasion was when I received my MBE: I was so delighted it was the Princess Royal who gave it to me; she breeds rare breeds so we have something in common.
What’s the best thing about the Cotswolds?
The people. We’ve got so many good friends who would do anything for us if we needed help, and that’s what life is all about.
... and the worst?
Bovine TB. The two sides of the argument have got to come together and work out a scheme that will stop this terrible disease. On one particular occasion, we lost seven cows in calf, two stock bulls, and one of a pair of oxen Adam had been training to pull. It was my life’s work going down the drain. From the wider point of view, badgers die a terrible, painful, appalling death from TB. I’m a lover of wildlife; it’s been my hobby all my life, and it really upsets me to think of badgers and how they suffer.
What’s the most underrated thing about the Cotswolds?
Farmers who look after the countryside, the farm animals and the wildlife. They’re underrated because people don’t really see what they’re doing.
What would be a three-course Cotswold meal?
Gill does a wonderful roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. My father’s greatest friend was Stanley Holloway – a lovely man – who was famous for reciting poems; he described the best Yorkshire puddings as like ‘fluff from the breast of a dove’! We’d get the beef from Lambourne’s in Stow, the butcher who processes Adam’s meat. I like all the breeds but I have to say I particularly enjoy Belted Galloway. I can’t have a starter because I always have second helpings of beef, but I would enjoy crème caramel for pudding.
What’s your favourite view in the Cotswolds?
We have a water tower at the top of the farm and I always used to take the children up there for the view, which is just amazing. To the east, you can see the tower of Stow church; to the west, you look across to Guiting Wood; and to the south, on a clear day, you can see the Marlborough Downs. Louise works for a charity called the Forest Peoples Programme, championing the rights of indigenous people all over the world. She has been to all sorts of amazing places but she once said to me, “Sometimes, dad, when I’m on the top of a mountain, looking at what I’m told is the most beautiful view in the world, I think: I wish I was on top of the water tower.’
Name three basic elements of the Cotswolds…
People don’t understand that the breeds of grazing animals affect the land, which is why, in the old days before they cottoned on to it, a lot of nature reserves went wrong; they would fence them off and keep the animals out, without realising those animals were vital. Nowadays many nature reserves are using rare breeds because they eat the sorts of things that modern hybrids won’t.
What would you never do in the Cotswolds?
Burn straw. I used to, for my sins, because in those days there wasn’t the market for the straw that there is now; it was the best way of clearing the stubble of all the weed seeds and other rubbish. It was wrong; it was dangerous; it was against nature. In places like Australia and Florida, the plants and animals are used to big burns, but in this country they aren’t and I’m sure we did damage.
Starter homes or executive properties?
There has always been a mix of working people and wealth, and there always should be: in the old days, it was the farm-workers’ cottages alongside the big houses, which employed a lot of staff. Nowadays, fewer people are employed on farms and the cottages they once lived in are highly sought-after. The answer is that we have got to look to ways of building inexpensive dwellings – and that is actually happening at Bourton. There is one big estate of smaller houses being done very nicely, which proves it is possible.
Have you a favourite Cotswolds walk?
My pleasure at night, after I’d closed the farm park, was walking round my animals, making sure they were all settled. I always had particular favourites. Gill bottle-fed an Exmoor foal called May, who would always come up to me for a scratch.
To whom or what should there be a Cotswolds memorial?
To William Garne the Elder. He kept the Cotswold breed going when they no longer fitted the commercial world: everybody wanted small joints, so breeds like the Southdown came in and replaced them; and the particular kind of wool they produced didn’t suit the factories up in the north. If it wasn’t for him, there wouldn’t be a Cotswold breed today.
If you lived abroad, what would you take to remind you of the Cotswolds?
A lock of Cotswold wool because I would like to be buried with it. Traditionally, shepherds were always buried with Cotswold wool so that, when they met St Peter at the Gate, he would know that they were shepherds, which is why they couldn’t get to church on Sundays.
A lifelong lover of animals, Dan was born March 29th 1933 in Harlech, North Wales, spending his early years enjoying his seaside home and later attending Barmouth Grammar School. He spent a year gaining practical poultry experience in Northamptonshire before attending Harper Adams Ag.College in Shropshire, graduating with a National Diploma in Poulty Husbandry. Dan worked at Reading University for a short while then returned to Northamptonshire to become Poultryman for Lord Astor.Janet Slade became Dan’s bride in 1954 and together they bought a smallholding, Viscar Farm, in Cornwall. Realizing expansion was not an option the newlyweds considered emigrating to either New Zealand or Canada. In the summer of 1957 they landed in Montreal and eventually made their way to Elmira, ON. to work on the Seiling Poultry Farm.
Future moves included Dan’s role as Farm Manager for Roseville Farms, Brampton and then to Thornhill where he managed the Poultry Research Dept. for Maple Leaf Mills on the Master Feeds Research Farms. In 1968 the family moved with Master Feeds to Georgetown to the new research facility which he oversaw construction of. Here he carried out feed research on broilers, laying hens & turkeys, improving weight gain, feed conversion ratio & egg yolk colour and size. In addition, he took care of the Sick Children’s Hospital Research Barn and later adopted some of the animals. Ever interested in architecture, building techniques & efficiency’s, Dan utilised these skills when they moved to Bluevale in 1974 building their own house and barn. He continued to work in layer & broiler breeders and was also a consultant to Moncton Poultry Farms, troubleshooting production & husbandry issues.
In 1984 Dan & Janet, now empty-nesters, moved to a small hobby farm in Durham where they could keep their collection of cattle, chickens, goats & pets; but in 1995 the building bug resurfaced and they proceeded to build another house and barn in Madoc. One last move to Priceville in 2005 saw Dan & Janet now down to one faithful dog.
Dan’s leadership qualities were shared between Sunday School Superintendent & Church Warden, Cub Scout Leader & 4H Leader and he was extensively involved in the Cursillo movement. Their house was almost always filled with music, from Classical to Marty Robbins, but he never quite made
the transition to Rock and Roll. He co-authored The Chantecler Breeders Manual and authored Raising Rare Breeds Heritage Poultry Conservation Guide for Rare Breeds Canada and was a Board member of Canadian Farm Animal Genetic Resources Foundation and Rare Breeds Canada, where he was also awarded Poultry Coordinator Emeritus. After retiring, Dan concentrated on maintaining the genetic pool of endangered farm animals through his meticulous records, keeping diversity & strength in the breeds. His special love was for his own flock of Light Sussex, and old British breed.
Dan will be remembered & missed by his wife Janet, sons Glenn (Heather) and Neil (Cobina); four granddaughters and four great grandchildren as well as his sister Gwen & several nieces and nephews and the many people he helped & supported over the years.
Dan Price Jones Remembered
A good friend; there is nothing more valuable on this earth than that. Dan was always willing to share his knowledge of things we could all do, to make life better for all humans, especially the preservation of diversity to preserve sustainability. I will miss learning from him.
-Bev Davis, SK.
Blessed that Dan has gone to his reward. Janet phoned with the sad news and we had a long, warm and nostalgic chat. Pleased his sons are taking care of his memorial - I will be sitting in my chimney corner and thinking of old friends and what wonderfulcontributions they made to the rare breeds cause on that day. Few have done so much for the rare breeds as Dan, without fanfare, loveable and huggable throughout and always there. One of the huge rewards for me was knowing him through the rare breeds.
Best Wishes, - Roy Crawford, SK.
We were so sorry to hear of Dan’s passing. Dan was with us from almost the very beginning when it was still called Joywind Farm Rare Breeds Conservancy. I think it was you Roy that told him about us originally.... Roy was there before the Conservancy was established and even had a name .... the first meeting around our dining room table where he urged us to jump in and start something. I remember Dan coming to the farm the first time, excited and full of enthusiasm for rare breeds, especially poultry of course. Dan was always so supportive, always there for advice and encouragement. Generous of his time to rare breed conservation efforts, he was a key person in writing our poultry handbook and as our poultry specialist; ever available to anyone that had a question about chickens, Dan was one of the instrumental people that made the Conservancy work. When he retired, he & Janet actually moved to the area and built a house and chicken coop, becoming even more hands on. He was known and loved by all he met and will be sadly missed but always remembered.
- Jy Chiperzak.
I will never forget watching Dan demonstrate egg-candling at a RBC AGM. He was, to say the least, passionate about his subject. In the dimmed light of the room he was the High Priest of Poultry. Sometime later, when I started with chickens, he told me not to jeopardise the fate of a heritage breeds with fumbling efforts at husbandry, but to buy dayolds from a good hatchery and learn on those. About three weeks into my project the chicks, which had been so healthy, suddenly started to die.
Dan ordered post-mortems, so off I went to Madoc with my little corpses in zip-locks (fresh not frozen, he advised). Wielding his scalpel, he concluded
it was Vitamin D deficiency consumption of an ill-mixed organic feed. I’ll always remember Dan entering the inner sanctum of his poultry shed-the bio-security and boot cleaning, his soft chatter to the birds, the way he held & caressed them and his deep love of the Light Sussex. Today I’ve strayed a bit from his path, but have become enchanted with the Speckled Sussex. It’s like having a little bit of Dan around, reminding me to be humble. - Helen Knibb.
I learned of Dan’s passing with great sadness as it seems to me it was the passing of an era in the life of Rare Breeds Canada. Dan was the go-to person on all things poultry. Our early Board meetings were at Jy & Gail Chiperzaks farm near Madoc. He was a devotee of heritage chickens and had an amazing knowledge of poultry diseases. Jy & Dan would research poultry clubs to estimate numerical status of heritage breeds of poultry. Together with internationally renowned Dr.Roy Crawford of U.of S.in Saskatoon, they set out a plan to enable a recovery of many breeds. He liased with commercial experts through Don Shaver’s terrific network across Canada and formulated poultry feed stuffs.
Dan & Roy’s friendship was invaluable to the fledgling RBC, determining priorities. His devotion & expertise also extended to cattle, with a special liking for Jersey’s, but sympathy towards all the old British breeds like Kerry’s & Red Polls. We travelled together, visiting host farms on behalf of RBC, where Dan always enjoyed lively interaction with livestock owners who enjoyed his quiet sense of fun. He was a true enthusiast for diagnosing poultry
diseases on the spot. It was fast and went something like this: Upside down with the hen; quick look at the vent, eyes & beak. No one was better at suggesting treatments.
With Roy’s advice, Dan set up a Light Sussex Conservation breeding system at his farm, both impressive & complex. With superb roosters & hens, some were in ‘waiting room’ cages and around four sets of 12 hens each with a rooster in the main breeding units....all roosters moving on every 3 weeks or so. For many years each summer Dan ran a poultry school for RBC from his farm, sharing his wealth of knowledge and encouraging young & old, teaching so many what we needed to know. In later years when ill-health made life difficult, Janet, Dan’s wife of many years, made it possible for Dan to carry on. They were a great team and he will be sadly missed. Friend & admirer of Dan Price-Jones,
- Tom Hutchinson.
Family & friends gathered in a beautiful little church to celebrate the life of Dan Price-Jones. Farming and Livestock were a vital component of Dan’s life’s work, whether it be fur or feather. He was a devoted husbandryman and the welfare of his stock was of prime concern to him. Dan’s Jersey & Guernsey cattle, along with his flock of Light Sussex received his devoted care. Also important in hislife was mentoring people and he loved any form of music that brought folks together. He inspired many with his great range of talents. Dan Price-Jones was truly a Rare Breed!
- Gerald Donnelly.
I learned much from Dan since meeting him at Joywind Farm soon after the Conservancy was formed. His encyclopaedic knowledge of rare breeds and all things “poultry” was valuable to many. While Executive Director of RBC in the late 1990s, Dan dreamed of seeing RBC’s membership rise to “2000 by 2000”. He produced a useful text for his day-long, hands-on poultry school. Michael and I enjoyed many visits in Madoc, always admiring Dan’s Light Sussex chickens. Since he and Janet moved back to Grey County, our visits during maple season would find Dan reading the Ark and ready to discuss rare breeds in the UK and especially in his beloved Wales. We have lost a very special friend. RIP Dan,
- Jane Buckley.
Dan Price Jones was one of the earliest & greatest supporters of the rare breed movement in Canada and did an awful lot of heavy lifting under some
difficult circumstances. There were few positions that he did not fill at one time or another when others were not able to do so. Dan mentored & shared his wisdom freely, conserving and breeding good poultry himself. He had good knowledge and love of livestock due to a formal education in poultry science & as a farmer and working in the agricultural industry; he also knew parliamentary procedure which was valuable at meetings. Some quotes worth sharing from Dan : “Cull, cull, cull.” & “Rare Breed-problems are almost always people-problems,(not problems with livestock. Dan's faith was important to him, evident in how he treated those around him.
- Doug Law
Megan was passionate about the welfare of farm livestock, once writing that ‘the safety and welfare of our animals should be our first concern,’ requiring ‘a calm head’ and the capacity to make ‘informed, researched decisions about the maintenance of one’s flock or herd’. She continued to edit Genesis until the summer of 1999 when she left Northcote Farm, Ingleside and followed her husband, Peter Feldman, out west to Jasper, hauling her two beloved draft horses with her. Later, Megan and Peter relocated closer to her family in New Brunswick where Megan continued to raise poultry, nurture her ageing horses and rescue dogs.
In signing off as editor of Genesis, Megan wrote: ‘What makes Genesis such a good read is the contributions by our readers. It’s good to know what others are doing. It gives the rest of us inspiration and the courage to keep our barns running’. I hope Megan knew that for many of us she was not only an inspiration, but deeply admired for her own great courage. She will be extraordinarily missed by her many friends, family and beloved animals.
Special thoughts & condolences are sent from Dan Price Jones, Jy Chiperzak, Helen Knibb, Ruth Freeman, Valerie Kirkwood, Joan Rutherford, and Dana Whittle.
There was such an overwhelming response to Megan's untimely passing, that a Memoriam page is being set up on the Rare Breed website.
Megan and I hit it off immediately and remained friends long after our week of learning was done at Ruth's Draft Horse workshop. Megan decided (partly because she was vegetarian) to donate her whole flock of sheep to me... wild-eyed Jacobs, Finn crosses and a chubby Icelandic which I drove home to my Québec farm in my old Suburban, with her favorite, Bart, hanging his head and all six horns out the window over my shoulder as we crossed metropolitan Montréal, nearly provoking several accidents. As a lamb, Bart broke a leg. Megan brought him into the house where for three months he lolled on the couch with her dogs, watching TV. Bart also graced a cover of Genesis pulling a tiny sleigh driven by my then-small children. Megan always had a menagerie of “orphans”, including the sheep, and the local animal shelter knew exactly who to call when they had a tough case. Megan once told me she would have been a terrible parent, had there been children. My response was that anybody who took in a legless Muscovy duck was already a parent! She was a nurturing, loyal and completely unjudgemental friend. Always learning something new, she became an electrician and learned how to spin wool and plow her garden with a huge Percheron. Over the years, so many pleasures on my little “fermette” have been connected to Megan, and on sub-zero winter nights I still snuggle under a blanket she made from those sheep before they became mine. I think of her often. Megan made her mark. Dana Whittle
Sometimes our busy lives get in the way of staying in touch with each other but I thought of Megan often as I too have one of her cherished wool blankets that I use frequently. What a thoughtful gift from her before she and Peter moved out West. Megan was an inspiration to everyone as she just took on new challenges. For myself, I remember after the ice storm Megan was telling us about all the branches and trees that were down in her driveway and that by the time someone had come to help clean them up she had already done so with the help of her chainsaw. For some reason that really impressed me, that she could just do it herself. I wanted to be the same way and shortly after took a Chainsaw Safety course and bought myself a chainsaw. I have spent many an hour sitting out in the bush cutting wood and just plain enjoying the scenery. Confidence breeds confidence. Thank you Megan!
After thirteen years, earlier this year I reconnected with Megan via Facebook and am so glad now to have had that opportunity, not once did she mention what was happening to her health but she was still enjoying her animals and making the most of her life. Ride on Megan, we will keep you in our hearts and memories. Joan Rutherford
I met Megan back in the early 1980s when we boarded our riding horses at the same stable near Richmond, Ont. Megan competed in Horse Trials on her gelding, Sunny. Megan, in her teens at the time, took great care of her horse, and indeed, was frequently entrusted with the care of all of the boarding stable's horses when the barn owner traveled away from the farm. It was a small boarding facility, and we shared group activities such as hacking the horses out, traveling to shows, or preparing for in-house shows and clinics. We helped groom for each other at shows, cheered for each others' accomplishments, and helped out when problems arose. It never took much to get a smile, or a helping hand, from Megan.
When Megan briefly left the horse world to further her education, we kept in touch only sporadically until, in 1997, when we crossed paths at a Leeds County Draft Horse Club Field Day near Smiths Falls, Ont. I had not, until that day, had any hope that I might every be able to participate in that branch of horsemanship. But there was Megan, driving a team of Belgians hitched to a passenger wagon. I was awed, amazed, and eager to reconnect with her and to find out how she had managed to make her way into the world of working draft horses.
"I took the Eastern Ontario Workhorse Workshop", Megan told me. "Where do I sign up?" I asked, and thus, thanks to Megan, began my association with draft horses and the wonderful people who care for them, and the skills traditions of the working horse.
Our contact had strengthened over the past year with Megan's step into the Facebook world. I was shocked and dismayed to hear of her illness and untimely death this autumn.
Farewell, my friend. May you now be spending time with all of those you helped through the years, and who passed on before you -- all now free of pain, full of vigour and enthusiasm. I can picture your wonderful smile as you greet each one. Valerie Kirkwood
I first met Megan when she signed up the for weeklong draft horse workshop at Athens, Ontario. I was the co-ordinator of the workshop. Two other participants of this workshop were Dana Whittle and Joan Rutherford and we all became friends. We had several exciting adventures as we shared our love of horses. These included trips to Elmira to visit the horse shops, the annual Suffolk Punch Gathering that was held at St. Thomas, and the Leeds County Draft Horse Club field days. Megan and I traveled to Quebec to visit Dana and her family where we created special memories. Megan also helped me with the design work of Draft Horse Connection for a few years. I new Megan was involved with Rare Breeds Canada but I didn't know the depth of Megan's involvement until I saw the article on Megan's in this issue of Genesis. Megan gave me a wool blanket made from her Jacob Sheep's wool, which I still cherish. Megan was an inspiration to to all of us; being in her presence was a pleasure and a joy. Megan was selfless, when she found out I had cancer she was more concerned about helping me that she was with her own battle with cancer. She was such a special lady. Megan had such a love for her husband, family, friends and of course her beloved animals. Most Sincerely Ruth Freeman