John Francis Fitchett d. June 3, 2023

June 4, 2023

Hello, Bill.

Let me introduce myself.  I have been a friend of John Fitchett since we were in Grade One.  You and I met a few times years ago at John’s place.

John died yesterday in hospital in Richmond B.C. from pneumonia, a complication of failing health.  John was seventy-six.

John wanted there to be a party when this happened.  Consequently, there will be a party, location and date undetermined.  Possibly in the fall.  I think we will be a group of around twenty at a spectacular venue which I must find.  This may happen next spring.  At that time I will send an invitation to you and your guest.  It’s our hope that you can attend.

May John rest in peace.

Lynn (Kiely)

I can’t recall precisely when I last spoke with Johnnie.  It was probably well over a year or two ago. Maybe more.  I am so mixed up by this COVID-19 business. He was at the time in a convalescent home near Vancouver, British Columbia. I believe he had lately undergone a number of alcoholic skirmishes which necessitated his removal from his rental apartment in Vancouver to assisted-living. Whenever I called him on the telephone it was a hit-and-miss enterprise, never certain whether he would pick up or not.  We never once communicated by email (except perhaps when I did legal work for him, before he moved from Ottawa to Vancouver and fell off the edge of the social map). Within the past year I attempted on a couple of occasions to call him, until finally the operator reported that service was no longer available for that number. When we last spoke, it was a peculiar parley, not touching upon anything critical, a rambling chat.  I had the distinct impression he was uncertain where I was calling from, nearby or Ontario.  Oddly however everything else about our conversation was as polite as usual, with a conspicuous thread of humour throughout.

Not having any luck identifying my last chat with Johnnie, I am struggling as well to recall the circumstances of my first encounter with him. It might have been through two lawyers (with whom I have also since lost contact) or perhaps through Bruce Richard (who was connected with Johnnie through the Ottawa Board of Eduction). Eventually the repeated alliances surrounded Scott McKay and my independent associations with Johnnie. The predominant theme of any outing with Johnnie was social, normally involving a meal. The latter for example characterized a very memorable dining adventure on Commercial Street in Provincetown, Cape Cod involving Denis and “Bingo” Jenkins-Edwards among others.

There was another equally unforgettable venture at Carmen’s restaurant in downtown Toronto; others in Naples and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There was also an uproarious dining adventure at Johnnie’s condominium on Laurier Avenue West with several others including Julio (for whom Johnnie had unequivocal admiration with his characteristic and pointed resolve). Indeed Johnnie was notably indiscriminate about good-looking men or women. He knew how to penetrate the sinews of lasciviousness to the point of isolating the singular realms of applause.

I have to say that everyone whom I have met through Johnnie has proven to be of an exceptional nature as well. The indisputable fact about Johnnie was that he was intelligent. His wit had a buoyancy about it impossible to deny. I often reflected that when growing up as a single child to Diana Garrett (excluding her 2nd and 3rd husbands), Johnnie had been encouraged to speak his mind. He often did so with an acerbic though comic feature.

It is infrequent that I dissolve to any degree upon the news of the latest demise. Nor do I apply the callousness only to others. In my opinion, as I have so regularly touted, life owe’s me nothing! That means that I thrill to the recollection of what life has been so far; and, I haven’t any but the normal hesitancy about the future. Nonetheless – and notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained or hereinafter adopted either in whole or in part – I have to say I suffer a degree of remorse upon learning of Johnnie’s death. Certainly he too enjoyed the many advantages of life, but even that accomplishment is insufficient to quell my lingering distress upon his departure.