Obituary of John Emmett
EMMETT, John Albert Jephson (JAJE)
John was born in Townsville, in the northern part of Queensland in Australia on May 2, 1930. He was the eldest son of John Albert Emmett, surgeon and general practitioner of Ayr, some 60 miles away on the Burdekin River. The family home at Edward Street, Ayr, had spacious verandas on which John would love to play. His younger brother, Anthony James Jephson Emmett, was born on April 5, 1932.
As a schoolboy, he had a natural sense of athletics and coordination which gave him the opportunity to excel in several sports including; golf, tennis, table tennis, boxing, football, swimming, cycling, skiing & sailing. As time moved along, John developed a passion for crossword puzzles, chess, classical music, foreign languages, wine making, gardening, the study of world history, oil paintings & American Politics.
His social popularity exploded when he talked his father into giving him a new blue Hillman convertible in his last year of school in 1948. John was a very well-known social figure in Brisbane in the early 1950’s and had many friends in the music world there. Known to his family and friends then as ‘Jock,’ he was a great character on the golf course, the dance floor and at the Gold Coast nearby. John was the Australian version of the ‘King of Kensington.’
Both boys did medicine at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, and John graduated in 1954, doing his first year as an intern at Bundaberg Hospital, in the city of Bundaberg, Queensland.
John then worked for the Commonwealth of Australia for five years, examining migrants wishing to come to Australia from 1955 onward. He worked initially in Hamburg, Germany, where he bought a second-hand Volkswagen Beetle, taking it to the factory at Wolfshafen to have a new engine fitted. He then moved to Rome and later Trieste, Italy. It was there that he met his wife to be, French Canadian Johanne Hayden, who was travelling around Europe with her sister Madeleine, on a motor scooter they had purchased in Holland. The girls had planned to move on to Rome next; however, the romance with Johanne blossomed and John and Johanne were married in Trieste on November 29, 1958.
They moved to London in 1960 to do his Diploma of Public Health, as he decided to become an international health administrator in Geneva working for the United Nations. While in London living at Notting Hill, he left his VW outside an underground subway station one day and it was gone when he returned. It was lost for six months, then the police found it, outside another of the subway station entrances, undisturbed, with his golf clubs, tennis racquets, and clothes still inside.
There was no job for him in Geneva, so they decided to return to Australia via Canada, going back to Brisbane to see his parents. The Australian government contract was to pay for their return. Meantime, he stayed with his brother Anthony Emmett (Tony) near Salisbury for a month in the thatched cottage they were renting in the New Forest, near to the famous plastic surgery centre at Odstock Hospital where his brother worked for a few years.
Initially they were due to leave Southampton on the Liner Homeric; however, a mix-up in schedules meant they sailed later on the Rindam, and were mid-ocean when the US-Russian crisis over Cuban missiles occurred.
On their way through Canada John worked for nine months at the Moose Factory on James Bay, off Hudson Bay. They were snowed-in for half the time. He became interested in anaesthetics then, and the following year, after their return from Brisbane and the visit to his parents, they returned to Montreal and he began training for specialized anaesthetics at the Royal Victoria Hospital. They were in Montreal for four years, later moving on first to Scarborough, and then to the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.
He worked there as an anaesthetist until his at the retirement at age 64; then he worked in pain clinics in northern Ontario for the duration of his working life. He and Johanne lived in their home in Don Mills for almost 49 years.
Seven years ago ‘Johnny’ (Johanne’s nick name for him) was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Fortunately, it was a slow moving disease which allowed John to live a great life right up until the very end. John, who was a fighter in every regard, would ultimately succumb from multiple systems failure on Thursday, June 1, 2017 at North York General Hospital. A great man, with a wonderful sense of humour, John is survived by his wife Johanne and their sons Michael and Peter with their partners and wives Jacquie and Elsa, and their children Sydney and Raven. His brother Anthony Emmett (Tony) lives in Bowral, Australia, with his wife Ann.
The family will receive friends at the HUMPHREY FUNERAL HOME A.W. MILES – NEWBIGGING CHAPEL, 1403 Bayview Avenue (south of Davisville Avenue) for a reception in the Rosedale Room from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 11th. Condolences, photographs and memories may be forwarded through www.humphreymilesnewbigging.com.