Joseph Nathan SLYTH

Joseph Nathan SLYTH

“Guiseppe” passed away on February 21, 2008, at Mount Edwards Court, Victoria.

Joe leaves behind his only daughter Pamela; ‘favourite’ son-in-law Alan Penty; beloved granddaughter Katie Penty; niece Maureen (England); and the Bourke family in England and Ireland.

He will be greatly missed by his many good friends here and around the world, especially Mary Mouat, Don Miller, Maureen Holland, and Darrell Cardinell. Good friends, the Newton family, will also miss “Joefish.”

Joe was predeceased by his wife Kitty (1968), his two sisters Ada (1979) and Maudie (2004), brother George Mercado, and his niece Daphne Kovar (2007).

Joe was born on St. George’s Day, April 23, 1914, in London England. He was the youngest of four children, and at the age of eight he was enrolled at the Central London District School, Hanwell (the “Cuckoo School”), for poor children. He was extremely fortunate to be taught the trade of music, and left the school at the age of 16 to join the British Army as a Boy Bandsman in the Gloucesteshire Regiment.

His WWII experiences included being wounded and captured near Dunkirk; three and one-half years as a prisoner of war in Stalag VIIIB and Blechammer; and losing his best friend in the Burma conflict. After the war he spent 10 years with the Welsh Guards, where he played his clarinet at the Trooping of the Colour, the Queen’s Coronation, and the Festival of Britain.

In 1952, he married Kitty Bourke, an Irish nurse, and their daughter was born in 1953. The following year, Joe joined the Canadian Army when the military bands were being formed across Canada, and he brought his family to Chilliwack, B.C., where he was posted to the Royal Canadian Engineers Band. He was eventually promoted to WO2, was well-liked and was respected by his fellow musicians. He was much involved in the Chilliwack arts community and hosted a classical music radio program there.

After retiring from the Military in 1966, Joe and family moved to Victoria, where he embarked on a series of careers that made him many friends and afforded him many adventures. These included a brief stint as a Commissionaire, furniture refinishing, owner of “Reliable Used Furniture” on Johnson St., and relief lighthouse keeper with the Canadian Coast Guard. His lighthouse years on Race Rocks and Trial Island, among others, were very thrilling for him. In the 1970s, he embraced ham radio, and was so proud of getting his morse code ticket and his ham radio call sign, “VE7 DVE.”

Joe came from a life of poverty and experienced many hardships but, despite this, he was forever a gentleman, always good company, generous to a fault, and had a mischievous sense of humour. His greatest loves were his family, music, dogs, Jaguars, and all children. We will always be grateful for his help in raising his granddaughter Katie, whom he adored. He was a familiar sight on the Uplands School playground for five years.

Joe was a member of the Monarchist League of Canada, the Monterey Centre, Westcoast Amateur Radio Assn., Victoria Shortwave Club and the Retired Guardsmen Club. He was a volunteer at Glendale Lodge, the CNIB, and the Provincial Emergency Program. In recent years he dearly loved the monthly luncheon with the retired Guardsmen at Uplands Golf Course.

Joe’s family would like to thank all his friends for their care and concern over the years, and for including Joe in their activities as long as it was possible. We are very grateful to the wonderful staff at Mount Edwards Court, where Joe was so lovingly cared for since 2004. Also thanks to his faithful caregiver Kelly.

In lieu of flowers, donations to (Foster Parents) Plan Canada, 95 St. Clair Ave. W., Toronto, ON or the Westcoast Amateur Radio Assn. Tower Fund, P.O. Box 48047, Victoria, B.C. would be appreciated.

There will be no service, but a celebration of Joe’s life will be held on his birthday, April 23, 2008, at the Esquimalt Legion, 622 Admirals Rd., Victoria, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. All family and friends are welcome to attend.

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