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John Tisdale

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April 28, 1946 - April 20, 2023

John Paul Tisdale passed away the morning of April 20th, 2023. He was 76 years old.


John was born on April 28, 1946 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was the eldest of the four children of Elizabeth and Paul Tisdale. He was a strong but gentle presence in his siblings’ lives. Childhood days were spent with a mob of friends in open fields around the local golf course; summoned home in the evening by the ring of an old fashioned school bell. First hobbies included a carefully assembled bug collection and a budding interest in tropical fish. Later there was model plane building, leading to explosive demolition with firecrackers (WWII battle simulations?) to his mother’s chagrin.


During his early years, radio introduced John to The Goons, while television made him a lifelong fan of the Monty Python crew & John Cleese in Fawlty Towers; giving him an enduring love of things whimsical, satirical, and absurd. The Windsor School Band introduced John to the works of John Phillip Sousa, while piano lessons exposed him to the classical composers. Kelvin High brought Gilbert & Sullivan musicals, which left plenty of room for a range of rock & blues musicians in later years. 


John graduated from the University of Manitoba with a bachelor's degree in science. He went on to work with Environment Canada as a field chemist. This allowed him to see remote parts of the country and exercise his dedication to science and environmental protection. He knew all the best bakeries from Winnipeg to Thompson. One summer working on the Mackenzie River was particularly treasured. 


While working at the Freshwater Institute he met Nancy, and began a romance that would last the rest of his life. They married and had two children, Ellen and Stuart. Ever since they moved to St Norbert in 1989, their home has been filled with music, wine, great friends, and almost always a dog.


Following a full career with Environment Canada, John enjoyed spending his mornings and afternoons driving the school bus for First Student. He loved meeting all the young people, hearing their stories and sharing his knowledge. He was patient, kind, and dedicated to safety and reliability.


He made many lifelong friends through the sports he played: early days included baseball and rugby, later there was curling and hockey. He had a long and eventful career as a goalie, traveling to the USA and abroad while earning prestigious titles like Player of the Year & The Black Hole. He played for many different teams including the Jest, the Lakers, and ended his career playing for the dark team every Saturday morning until the age of 69. He was also a sports car enthusiast who liked to push the limits of English design with his brother, souping up their 1960s Sunbeam Tiger and racing it on different tracks around the continent. 


John was a loving husband, father, and friend to many. He was known for his love of sailing, which he shared with his family and friends, captaining many a voyage on the beautiful Lake of the Woods. Several times he competed in the annual LOWISA regatta, occasionally finding uncharted parts of Canada in the shallower areas of the lake. 


In the Winter you could find John in his favorite chair in the library room he designed and built, settling into another history book or great novel. When he wasn’t reading or listening to music, he was working on his ship and train models, or in the boy’s club on a woodworking project.


He had a special talent for bringing in all things that make life better: music, sports, and good conversations - “putting the world to rights" he used to say. He knew how to savour the beautiful things in life, from Oreo cookies to amazing sunsets at the lake.


We would be honoured by any donation to a charity of your choice in John’s name. 


“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows



Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St, Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 -

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