From: Laurie Fagan
Date: October 15, 2020 at 4:34 PM
John Holliday a longtime resident of Champlain Park passed away on October 11 just shy of his 98th birthday. Jack as he preferred to be called lived at 198 Keyworth Avenue in a small white bungalow where he and his wife Winnifred raised 5 children. They were married for 75 years before Winnifred passed away almost a year ago. They lived their entire married life in the house on Keyworth Ave. After her death Jack went to live in a retirement home. He was according to his obituary a “bomb aimer” with the RAF Bomber Command out of England during the war and worked in the federal government when he returned to Canada.
But Jack’s real passion was the natural world, especially gardening. His front apple tree had several bird feeders and clumps of seed studded suet. In his garage he raised several types of moths and butterflies. He one day invited me over to see a Cecropia moth, North America’s largest native variety. It had a wingspan of about five inches. It was incredible if not a bit creepy since I had recently seen the movie Silence of the Lambs.
His side garden was ablaze with bright orange and yellow poppies every year but it was his backyard garden that was his real pride and joy. I live behind his home and Jack and I would swap flower and gardening tips quite often on spring and summer days. He had a giant patch of indigo blue delphiniums one year that was so tall that if you closed your eyes for a moment you felt like you were in an English garden. Another year he had about a dozen Asiatic Lillies (Casa Blanca) with a mass of trumpet white flowers almost 6 feet tall. As I sat in the backyard near dusk with a glass of wine the beautiful scent wafted my way. Jack shared his garden with neighbours, especially children as he often left free pots of Johnny Jump Ups and other perennials at the end of his driveway – usually on Mother’s Day.
This summer as his family prepared the house for selling, his son John very kindly gave me a clump of Jack’s irises that I will treasure in my garden and think of that lovely, gentle man.
A more formal obituary is at https://ottawacitizen.remembering.ca/obituary/john-holliday-1080426016