This week would be my Dad’s birthday. How we miss him. I ran a proper obit in the Globe and Mail, but wanted to print something more about my amazing Father, since the original obit at time of death was basically just to announce the service.
I have her permission to print what Mom wrote about him for his funeral eulogy. Over to you, Mom…
“John Fess Pangman was born April 9th in Toronto while his Dad was away at the business of war.
So, John was the only child of an itinerant army family. (His father was a Brigadier General)
He lived everywhere in Canada it seems and could remember something about each of those “army houses” and towns. When his Dad went to England to serve, John and (his mother) Cynthia followed and he suffered in private schools for several years. He was so happy when his Father was transferred as a final station to Winnipeg where John could at last make some lasting friends (which he certainly did) and have a little fun in life.
Not all fun and games of course, and he spent the summers at army camp and earned his commission in the Canadian army.
He attended the University of Manitoba and got his bachelor of commerce and this took him to job in the trust industry and finally sent him to London Ontario.
In London, John lived in a highrise building and he and his little Triumph sports car caught the eye of a gal who happened to know a gal who became John’s wife, Connie. The warm and funny way this was achieved is a story not to be forgotten easily, but in fact they met on a blind date.
John thought his wife-to-be must have another beau as she was always “riding her horse.” Greatly relieved was he to actually see there actually was a horse. They were married a year later in 1968.
There was a couple of years with the horse, and a Porsche John bought second-hand and ADORED, but that came to an end with the arrival of their first child Jennifer Elizabeth (there is no back seat in a Porsche!!)
Four years later their second born red-headed daughter Alexandra Ruth arrived and changed many things in their lives. Alex has Cystic Fibrosis and had to be looked after very diligently. Jennifer was her best frie3nd and the two of them delighted John no end.
When Alex got about 8 or 9 years old she started a campaign to get to ride a pony. After saying “No” many times, John and Connie relented and there was the beginning of some of the best days of all our lives. Jennifer couldn’t do ballet and horse, so she went her separate way on the hobby scale. john supported it all — the riding and the ballet and loved it — just loved it all.
To draw us back together we had a family skiing membership up in the Hockley Valley for a number of years and that was good — very good.
Skiing had always been John’s winter “thing” but it soon took a backseat to riding lessons. He drove the horse trailer to shows for Alex, but he rode himself. He said that, “you couldn’t think about your business life and worries when you were charging around a jump course on the back of a horse.” The highlights of all that learning to ride was two riding holidays, one to Ireland, and the second to France. Perfect — perfect times. John loved to travel, so this pulled all his favorites together.
Speaking of that business part of John’s life — he worked early on as a trust officer, but soon got interested in the investing side of things. As he had a natural talent for “managing the market” he excelled.
Eventually he was a well respected money manager for people of high net worth. He worried for their money instead of them and they loved him for it. We even had an annual visit to the East coast to visit special clients (sometimes he took Connie!!!!)
Because of his military background I suppose John became a student of military history and how the different uniforms were represented. He began painting 30MM figurines and then collecting — and his kept him happy over many cold winter evening.
As our girls grew, we had many treats seeing Jen dance and Alex sing. And we have to that that singing for bringing Tom Parker into Alex’s and our lives. He was also a good friend to John, and his only son in law.
So, how to you summarize a man like John Pangman. He was a dutiful song, a great friend, a superb and handsome father. He was kind, passionate, shy, clover, handsome — a gem of a man!!”
Thanks Mom. And now, here’s what I wrote about Dad, before winnowing it down for the Globe…
b- April 9, 1941 in Toronto, and raised in many Canadian cities including Winnipeg, Ottawa, and also England, John was son of Brigadiere JEC Pangman, & Cynthia (nee Fess). As a boy he loved toy soliders, & as an adult amassed a large collection of military figurines, which he enjoyed painting, indulging a life long passion for military history, & art (he was a naturally gifted artist.) In his father’s footsteps, he tried army camp, but found his calling in the world of finance. He began at National Trust in London ON, in which city he met Connie Sawyer on a blind date, and married in 1965. Following the birth of Jennifer Elizabeth (1971), the family relocated to Mississauga, ON, and John joined MK Wong & Associates and became a sought after investment counselor. In 1976 the family welcomed Alexandra Ruth. John was a great provider to the girls and encouraged the family to ski, another of his passions. He wound up more often at ballet classes with Jennifer and the stables with Alexandra. (Where he too became an avid Equestrian). After taking care of his lawn and the pool, or after work he enjoyed a cold beer, and some good cheese. He enjoyed talk radio, bagpipe records & 1950s music. Connie beautifully nurtured the kids and was always up for a canoe paddle, or a vacation to a place of John’s desiring. If not for her MS and Alex’s CF John would have traveled even more, for he had a great wander lust. John was always very supportive of his family, putting their needs first, even when a career boost was offered to him on the west coast. He declined, knowing the move would be difficult on the family. He simply was always there for his girls. While not a talkative sort, what he said really mattered. Even more special were the times he’d get the giggles, and couldn’t stop! He had a great sense of humor, and made some very good friends in life, known to some as “Johnny Fever”. He moved to HSBC Bank to finish his career, always up early on the train absorbing the newspaper to steer his clients right. Always the protector! We have lots of wonderful memories of Dad; playing tennis, BBQing, giving piggy back rides, shining dashboards, taps, boots, giving up his sports car to pull a horse trailer, & proudly attending Jennifer’s ballet and Alex’s jazz shows. On retirement John did not let Parkinsons stop him from traveling, and puttering around the house and tending to the yard of his dreams, looking out onto a leafy ravine. He would sit and read books and watch the seasons change in the woods, where he is now laid to rest. How we miss him, but how blessed we all are to have had him.
xo Dad, we miss you