Obituary of John Frederick Fielding
John died peacefully at Kingston General Hospital on August 7, 2022. He leaves his loving wife of 58 years, Dianne Mary (Sheehy), daughter Jennifer and son Brendan (Melissa Brule), grandchildren Abigail, Aaron (Erin), and Violet, as well as surviving siblings William, Ann, Robert, James, Barbara and David. John was predeceased by siblings Ruth, Jean, Leslie Jr, Marie and Donald. John will be greatly missed by his numerous friends, neighbours, students and extended family.
John was born in 1942 to Mildred and Leslie Fielding, the 8th in a family of 12 children. He attended schools in Paris, Ontario, and Western University in London, where he met his great love and life partner Dianne. At Western he began the political work and community building that took him from student politician to city councillor in Brockville, to provincial NDP candidate. His teaching, coaching and community service in Brockville began in 1967, where John taught at Thousand Islands Secondary School, and was Chair of the city’s 1982 Sesquicentennial celebrations.
John loved ideas, stories and people, making the study of history a natural fit. His classrooms were unusually active places filled with John’s passions for Canadian history and social justice. His open mind, generous spirit, humility and endless curiosity made him a true life-long learner, risk-taker, and enthusiastic embracer of change. He travelled to teach in a Chinese college, took stints in Australian classrooms, and never turned down an opportunity to explore and learn. John’s active engagement with the world and his dedication to ideals of good citizenship motivated his service on community boards and citizen groups. And everywhere, John made friends for life.
In 1989, John arrived at Queen’s Faculty of Education – the next step in his distinguished career. He taught history pedagogy, won a prestigious teaching award, and embarked on projects that took him across Canada to share his ideas. His goal was always to improve learning. A significant initiative was the CRB Foundation’s Heritage Project, on which John worked as a curriculum developer with the Queen’s Team. He attacked this new challenge with delight: working hard was natural for him, and the project encouraged him to try out many innovative strategies. At National Heritage Fairs, John collaborated on developing and implementing programs for students brought from across Canada to Charlottetown or Kamloops. His enthusiasm and creativity – and famous top hat – graced the proceedings.
John was undaunted by the vagaries of changing technology during his career – his thick fingers pecked at his keyboard as he wrote his tales, textbooks and curriculum projects. He shared many personal stories, publishing autobiographical collections and making frequent contributions to the Kingston Seniors Centre magazine.
Despite a heavy workload throughout his career, John always found time for fun, as a gourmand, raconteur, tennis coach, friend, skier, and world traveller who continued to perfect his Thai noodle recipes and publish his tales long after retirement. John’s devotion to his children and grandchildren was complete. And he continued to tell his stories to the end of his days.
John Fielding lived his life with passion and noble purpose. His energy, humour and generosity touched all who knew him. His family and friends extend sincere thanks to the Palliative Care Team at KGH, Dr Wu, Rob and Kara. The John F Fielding Memorial Bursary has been established at Queen's University to honour his teaching legacy. In his memory, donations to Partners in Mission Food Bank are welcomed.
There will be a celebration of life at a date to be announced on the James Reid website.
"Now cracks a noble heart. Goodnight, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” Hamlet
A celebration of John's life will be held on September 24th 2022 from 1pm - 4pm at the Renaissance Event Venue at 285 Queen Street, Kingston ON, K7K 1B7. There is a handicap accessible ramp at this location.