Diocese of Toronto St. Margaret home

Obituary for The Rev. Canon John Edward Speers

September 29, 1916 - March 29, 2012

The Rev. Canon John Edward Speers

Canon John E. Speers passed away peacefully at Hospice Simcoe on Thursday, March 29, 2012, in his 96th year. Born September 29, 1916, in Aneroid, Saskatchewan, son of the late Harry Speers and Florence McLauchlin. Predeceased by his beloved wife of 57 years, Gwyneth (Smith), in 2008 and their dear son Kevin in 1962. Loving father of Shelagh Speers of Cold Spring, NY, Maureen Doherty of Rankin Inlet, and Michael Speers of Barrie. Dear father-in-law of Gregory Gunder and Bryon Doherty, and loving Papa to Sean, Brendan and Liam Doherty and Laura Gunder. Beloved brother of Dorothy Pearson, Millie Rowlinson, and George Speers and his wife Ethelwyn. Dearly loved by his nieces, nephews and cousins. Predeceased by his brother Clarence (Curly) in 1944. A prairie boy, John graduated from Moose Jaw Central Collegiate and taught school in Lloydminster, SK, before coming east to attend the University of Toronto, graduating from Victoria College in 1945 with an Honours BA and Gold Medal in English. As a grad student he lectured in English at U of T and United College, Winnipeg, where he was also Dean of Men. In 1950 John was called to the Anglican ministry and left academia for the church, graduating from Trinity College with four prizes in theology. Ordained May 3, 1953, John embraced parish ministry and served with Gwyn at St. James, Sutton and St. George's, Sibbald Point; Trinity, Aurora; St. Stephen-in- the-Fields, Toronto; and Trinity, Barrie. After retirement in 1985 John assisted at St. Giles and St. Margaret's, Barrie, and taught numerous workshops, most notably on Celtic Spirituality. Apart from holidays, John preached steadily from age 18 to 95, and led ten parish missions. For many years he was Speaker at Camp Koinonia, tour host with Gwyn on pilgrimages to Israel and the Bible lands, the Oberammergau Passion Play and Great Britain, and Prophet-in- Residence at Willowbank, Bermuda. A lifelong avid gardener, John was known for the beauty of his award- winning rectory gardens and for his monthly horticultural column. A natural musician, John played piano until his final weeks. He was a poet, genealogist, and author, publishing his last book, Florrie, in 2011. In his own words, he ''never wasted much time''. He was a member of the World McLauchlin Society, a Life Member of the Barrie Garden Club, a member of the Irish Club of Barrie, and an Oblate member of the SSJE. A gifted preacher, compelling teacher, compassionate pastor and devoted friend, John touched the lives of thousands in his lifetime. Visitation was held at the Steckley-Gooderham Funeral Home, Tuesday April 3, 2012 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral Service was held at Trinity Anglican Church, 24 Collier Street, Barrie, on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. Donations may be made in John's memory to Hospice Simcoe or the Leprosy Mission International.

A Family Thank You

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13
Back to Previous Page