John Norman BEAR, 62, of Campbell River, died on March 17, 2007 at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria. His presence among loved ones ended suddenly due to heart disease.
John was born on August 8, 1944 in Kinistino, SK, the youngest of 14 children of Douglas Birtie Bear and Lucy (McLeod) Bear. Much of his childhood was spent in Flin Flon, MB.
From a very young age he learned the art of playing pool, and became a hustler by trade. His hustling took him all over Canada and the United States, but after meeting Carol Quocksister, and marrying in Campbell River on November 7, 1970, they settled in Vancouver. They celebrated the birth of two sons, Douglas George and William John. John became a journeyman roofer, fished commercially and also operated his own taxi while Carol worked in various executive secretarial positions.
John’s hustling eventually turned into a profession. He was a champion snooker player holding multiple BC championship titles, and was the runner up in the 1988 Canadian Snooker Championship. He traveled all over the United States and Canada in competition, and he toured England as well. His game trademark was his “soft touch,” “smooth stroke,” and good nature. Unfortunately he became a diabetic later in life, and the toll on his eyesight ended his professional career.
When Bill C31 was enacted in 1985 John was, for the first time, able to obtain his Indian Status. His father, Douglas, (who had been born into the Muskoday Band) had served in the Canadian Army in WWI, and in doing so had his Indian Status enfranchised (stripped) in order to make him (and thus his children) a Canadian Citizen. Although John had never been without his Native beliefs, this small right of a huge wrong was a milestone in his life.
In 1999 John and Carol became foster parents to two young boys, and they seized the opportunity to move into a new home on the Campbell River Reserve. The second phase of his life journey was spent raising another family… As he regularly required medical attention in Vancouver, he would often spend time with his family there, his only regret being that the trips to visit his family on the prairies were too few and far between.
John loved to play poker and his opponents could not have found an adversary more humorous to play against. His jovial personality and story-telling abilities will be sorely missed all around the table.
For the past six months, John and Carol were devoted to the raising of their grandson, and we know he will fiercely protect and guide her down the rest of this path from his celestial abode.
He is survived by his loving wife Carol; son Doug (Sonia) and grandsons Nathan and Taylor; son Bill and granddaughters Janet and Aaliyah (Jennifer) and grandson Levi (Crystal); sons David and Alex; brothers Edward, Jimmy and Bobby (Violet), sisters Clara Bear, Rita Switzer, Katherine Bartlett (George), and sister in law Ruth Bear. The fate of his sister Mary is unknown.
He is now reunited with his parents Douglas and Lucy, brothers William, Stanley & Baby Bear (twins), and Roddy; sisters Vickie Bear and Margaret Arkiss; and brothers-in-law Kerry Switzer, and John Arkiss.
As he left us so unexpectedly, there will be a final chance to say goodbye at Sutton’s Funeral Chapel on March 23, between the hours of 10 and noon. There will be a celebration of his life at 1:00 p.m. at the Thunderbird Hall with refreshments to follow. His wish was to be cremated; part of him will be taken to the birth of his roots in Kinistino, SK, and the rest will be placed where his soul is so firmly entrenched in Campbell River, BC.