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"McBI" 2007 Obituary


McBIRNIE o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-09-26 published
McBIRNIE, John Edward
By Gaelah McBIRNIE, Page L10
Brother, husband, father, grandfather, surgeon, music lover, friend. Born November 14, 1922, in Hamilton, Ontario Died April 7 in Alliston, Ontario, of a stroke, aged 84.
Dad was an impressive figure. As a little girl, I vividly recall his imposing presence; the deep voice, the towering bulk, the distinctive sound of his large sandaled feet crossing the driveway in the summer. He presented a stern exterior, but underneath was a beautiful man with a heart of gold.
John McBIRNIE was the eldest of three children born to Norman William and Sarah Winifred (McCARDLE) McBIRNIE.
John attended Davisville Public School, then North Toronto Collegiate for his high-school years. His aspiration for medicine led him to the University of Toronto.
John spent time during his medical studies in San Diego, California., and it was there he married Nadine BEARDMORE on December 2, 1948.
They lived in Toronto while John was completing his internship, and during this time their four children were born.
John was soon offered the position of chief of surgery at Port Colborne General Hospital in Ontario.
He liked the town and the job appealed to him, so in 1955 the family moved to a beautiful, white house on the lake, across from the hospital.
The sight of John walking to work in the winter, characteristically wearing his hospital whites and sandals, was a familiar one in town.
In 1973, John remarried to Patricia Arnold CORLESS; he continued at the hospital and ran a private practice until 1980.
At this time, he and Pat moved back to Toronto where he became an associate staff member at several hospitals, assisting with neurosurgery until he retired in 1999.
John was passionate about the arts, particularly music. Although he did not play an instrument, he had an exceptional ear and loved jazz.
John frequently drove to Buffalo to listen to musicians play. After befriending the likes of such jazz giants as DIzzy Gillespie, Junior Mance and Chick Corea, he would invite them back to the house in Port Colborne for Sunday afternoon chili parties and jam sessions.
The pride and joy of John's personal life was his farm near Mansfield, Ontario, which, over the years, became his sanctuary. His love of nature and solitude was evident from his attachment to this secluded piece of land and by the periods of time he spent there (with his dog, Chandler, and in the company of his colleague and friend, Griff PEARSON.)
It was at the Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston, Ontario, where John suffered a massive stroke; it was there that he spent his last days, surrounded by the people closest to him and from whom he drew comfort.
Gaelah McBIRNIE is John's daughter.

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