John McKinnon was born on Sunday, June 18, 1933, in Sullivan Township to parents Warren and Marjorie (Calhoun) Sinclair. The Sinclairs owned and operated a mixed farm where John joined siblings Carl, Judson, Marion, Bob, and Ruby. Life was busy around the farm and John and his siblings provided a great deal of help! He attended a rural public school and high school locally, before moving to Meaford, and boarding with his sister Marion, to attend general College. Given the times, John was extremely lucky to have been given this opportunity.
Following his formal education, John found work at a nursery in Owen Sound making a whopping $0.25 per hour. It was during this time, in the early 1950’s, that he attended an outdoor dance in Harrison Park. John loved to dance, and as fate would have it, he was introduced that evening to a young woman, Marjorie Evelyn Sowerby, who appreciated dancing and him just as much! 🙂 The two soon began dating and were later wed on Saturday, July 17, 1954, at St. George’s Anglican Church in Owen Sound.
The newlyweds settled in Owen Sound where they both worked in the NOMA lights factory. In time, John moved on to RCA Victor, where he made stereo cabinets. By this time, the Sinclair family was beginning to grow with the arrivals of Nancy (1956), Marlene (1959), Bob (1962), and last but not least Bill (1973). Although successfully providing for his family, John was tired of factory life and went on the search for his next career, whereby he found Correctional Services. At the age of 28, John began his very long and distinguished career in Correction Services that spanned the next 37 years. He began this period at the Guelph Correctional Centre and soon moved to Durham where he was a Sargent supervising minimum security inmates at Camp Oliver, a work camp. In 1977, he transferred to the Stratford Jail as Superintendent which was the highest rank an officer in Corrections can obtain. In 1989, he was transferred to Walkerton where he finished his career at the Walkerton Jail, acting as Superintendent, until his retirement and its closure in 1998. Professionally John was known for running a tight ship but also being firm but fair in his dealings with the inmates under his care. He was well-respected by all his peers throughout his career and never wavered in his commitment to the job.
Although spending much of his life very committed to his work, John found a little downtime. During such occasions, he thoroughly enjoyed reading, with mystery and war novels being favourites, as well as anything written by David Baldacci. John was a true history buff and could tell you about any war or major conflict that ever occurred. It shouldn’t be a surprise that this passion led him to get involved with the Legion where he held memberships in Owen Sound, Stratford, Walkerton, and Mitchell through the years. In later years, his appreciation of history led him to the Turner Classics whereby he spent countless hours taking in old movies. John was also an avid golfer, right up to the age of 85. He loved every opportunity to get out on the links and play with his kids and grandkids. He was an active member of the Mitchell Golf & Country Club and Walkerton Golf Course where he was best known for hitting it consistently right down the middle. He was a great partner to have in golf tournaments!
After retiring, John and Marjorie moved to Mitchell to be closer to their family. Although quiet, and often keeping to themselves, they enjoyed spending additional time with their family, particularly their grandchildren. As many of you might know, John was a fabulous storyteller. He loved to reminisce about the days gone by, his younger years and would tell a few tales of his experiences in his long and distinguished career in Corrections. Not only did he enjoy sharing these experiences, but he was also good at it, even to the point whereby he was not afraid to share the same story with you more than once! (:
John was a smart, caring man who was empathetic and encouraged his children to stand up for themselves and what was right. As you can appreciate given his work history, things were often black or white for John, and he was always willing to give his opinion when asked by family or close friends. Sadly, life forever changed for John in 2011 when Marjorie died rather suddenly. Understandably, this was a big blow for John and with the support of his children and grandchildren, he tried to make the best of each day. Sadly, the pandemic did not help, but in recent months John was enjoying a bit more freedom and the opportunity to meet and spend time with all his great-grandchildren. Thankfully, the Sinclair family recently celebrated Christmas together whereby the family had gathered once again, providing John with a great day. Sadly, this was their last time together as John passed away at Stratford General Hospital on Thursday, December 15, 2022, in his 90th year.
Loving father of Nancy (Warren) Gethke, Marlene Sinclair (Mark Trethouen), Bill (Annette), all of Stratford, and Bob (Kelly) of Kitchener. Cherished grandfather of Al (Tara), Lisa, Shaun (Kaleigh), Natasha (Sean), Scott, Brad, Taylor, and Jordan and great-grandfather of Aubree, Hudson, Lucas, Aaliyah, Olivia, Hadley, Liam, and Leo. John will be fondly remembered by his sister Ruby White of North Bay and sister-in-law Viola Sowerby of Berkeley. He was predeceased by his wife Marjorie (2011), grandson Stephen Sinclair, sister Marion (Keith) Loucks, brothers Carl (Caroline), Judson (Dorothy), Bob, brother-in-law Doug White and his parents Warren and Marjorie (Calhoun) Sinclair.
Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Wednesday, December 21, 2022, from 12 noon until the time of the funeral service at 1 p.m. Interment in Chesley Cemetery.
Memorial donations to the charity of your choice would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.