It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of John Paul Desjardins, 75, of Minden Hills, who, after a brief illness, departed this world peacefully on February 6th, 2024 at Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay, Ontario with his wife and best friend Barb by his side. John was the loving and treasured dad of James (Leandra Turpin) and Kelly (Marc Collins), and the cherished “Papa” to Reed, Nate, Ewen, and Charlotte. John is survived by his brothers Joe and René, and his sister Paula Lawson. He will be sorely missed by his 7 nieces and 2 nephews. John is predeceased by his father, Raymond, and his mother, Marion.
After graduating from McMaster University in Hamilton (BA/BPHE) and the Ontario College of Education (BEd), John worked for Steinberg’s in Human Resources and Valdi Foods as a Regional Manager. Later in life, John ran a golf caddy business with his brother, Joe.
John was a kind, patient, and gentle man with a deep faith. An altar boy in his childhood and a Minister of the Eucharist and The Word in adulthood, John felt drawn to serve the Church - a call he answered throughout his life with both humility and grace. John was honoured by Thomas Cardinal Collins for his volunteer work with Barb for over 35 years in the Retrouvaille ministry, helping thousands of hurting married couples restore their marriage and rebuild a loving relationship. He was passionately committed to serving this noble cause. John was also formally recognized by The Canadian Blood Services as an ongoing blood, plasma, and platelet donor, having made hundreds of donations over the years.
After retirement, John and Barb travelled extensively. It was always John’s goal to “hit” every continent and he and Barb came extremely close, visiting six of the continents throughout their treasured journeys together and coming within less than 600 miles of Antarctica while on a cruise around Cape Horn, Chile. Despite his passion for travel, John’s most treasured place was at the family cottage, passing the time sitting peacefully with Barb by the lake, enjoying the rumble of thunderstorms from the shelter of the porch, or else chatting endlessly with his neighbours. He felt blessed to call this special place his permanent home for the past few years after he and Barb moved there full time in 2022.
John especially cherished his friends and the time spent with them. A group of five couples from his university days remain special friends to this day. John’s loud and infectious laugh was easily recognizable to all. He, along with his siblings Joe, Paula and René also always remained extremely close. They looked forward to spending time together at what they called their “Sibs Dinners”, sharing lots of memories, stories, and steak. After their mom passed away in 2006, this became a four-times-a-year gathering during each of their birthdays.
John was a devoted dad who dearly loved his children, James and Kelly. He was extremely proud of the amazing adults they became and the positive decisions they made in their lives, especially with the choices of their respective life partners, Leandra and Marc. In later years, however, it was John’s grandkids that became his greatest joy in life. Lovingly called Papa, his happiest times were with them, whether watching Reed fly on the “Swurfer”, playing catch with Nate, pulling Ewen along in the wagon, or pushing Charlotte in the swing. Papa will always be a part of their lives.
Our heartfelt gratitude is extended to the many doctors who guided John through the numerous health challenges he faced and to the amazing staff at Ross Memorial Hospital.
Friends and family are invited to gather at Turner and Porter Funeral Home at 2357 Bloor St. W. Toronto for a visitation on Thursday, February 15th from 2 to 4 p.m., or from 6 to 8 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be held at Our Lady of Sorrows R.C. Church, 3055 Bloor St W, Toronto, on Friday, February 16th at 11am followed by a reception and celebration of life at which James, John's son, will deliver his father's eulogy. The service will be live streamed for friends and family who are not able to attend in person (see the link below). John’s remains will be cremated and later scattered at his favorite spot.
LINK TO WATCH THE RECORDING OF JOHN'S FUNERAL MASS FROM FEBRUARY 16TH, 2024 (please cut and paste into browser): https://youtube.com/live/JGJpn2oI2zI
In lieu of flowers, donations in John’s memory can be made to the Canadian Lung Association, the Canadian Cancer Society or to Toronto Retrouvaille by Interac e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Paypal to Rediscovery Christian Experience to Alleviate Marriage Breakdown.
Rest in peace our loving John, Dad, Papa. You will be forever in our hearts.