Remembering John Nyce

John with his good friend Shannon at Pearson’s 60th anniversary party in 2012
John with his good friend Shannon at Pearson’s 60th anniversary party in 2012

John Nyce was our friend and neighbour. He moved into Pearson when he was 16 years old. He passed away on Feb 27th, just 5 days after his 55th birthday. He is missed by many of us.

John was a caring fellow. He always asked you “How are you?” He had a speech impediment, so some people had trouble understanding him at first, but he was patient and would repeat himself until you understood. One thing we all remember about John is his laughter — he loved joking around and was quick to laugh. Another thing we remember is that he loved drinking Coca-Cola.

Teenage John sharing a laugh with a Pearson staff member.
Teenage John sharing a laugh with a Pearson staff member.

Nowadays, people of such a young age don’t move to Pearson. But in the 1970s, things were different. People remember John as a mischievous youngster with a great sense of humour, and that he would hide when it came time for him to go to ‘school’, like many children do.

John proudly showing one of his many soccer medals.
John proudly showing one of his many soccer medals.

John used to travel on his own up to Oakridge mall, about 16 blocks from Pearson. There was some concern at some point that he wasn’t safe doing that, and some people starting worrying him about going there. So John started going to Metrotown mall, which is about 60 blocks away, in the next City over (Burnaby), and involves taking public transit. He wasn’t afraid of adventure, that’s for sure!

Something else that John was passionate about was Soccer. He had a specialized attachment on his wheelchair that enabled him to play Powerchair Football, also known as Power Soccer. Here John had one of his many friend circles — Powerchair Football Canada wrote a blog post on March 16, 2016 in memory of him as well. He was their longest running athlete!

John Nyce’s memorial was on Saturday April 2nd. The family came to Pearson. Some live in Vancouver, but many of them traveled a long distance to come share this time with us. John and his family are from the the Nisga’a nation — their village is Gitwinksihlkw, and they are the “People of the Lizards.” It is about 100 km north of Terrace. Staff and residents really appreciated the family coming such a long way, so we could remember John together at his home of the last 39 years.

John’s memorial was attended by many residents and staff. The family presented GPC a handmade wooden plaque thanking staff for the care they gave John for the 39 years he lived here. The plaque will be located on Ward 6 for now, John’s local neighbourhood, and it will likely go into the Activity Wing at a later time for all to view.

John Nyce plaque
John Nyce plaque

Being part of the Pearson Community means dealing with a higher rate of death than the outside community. Some people who move here are in a more fragile health state, and it’s usually not surprising when someone with complex serious health issues passes away. But Pearson is also home to long term residents — and when they pass away it has a significant impact on the staff and other residents. We are glad to have known John Nyce and will remember him fondly.

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