Globe & Mail, December 14, 2013
Ian (Tony) Howard Hamilton Jennings
Passed away quietly late on December 10, 2013 surrounded by family, following a yearlong battle with para nasal sinus cancer, at Ian Anderson House hospice in Oakville, Ontario.
Tony was predeceased by his wife of 49 years, Maria Annette Jennings (nee: Gow), in April 2013. His warmth and generosity of spirit will be remembered and treasured by his children Tim and Kate, their spouses Truly (Tim) and Bernd (Kate), and his grandson, Zachary (Tim, Truly), and by Philipe and Valerie Grasman and their daughters, Sophia and Isabel. He is also survived by his siblings and their spouses and children: Douglas (Beverly – Chris and Derek), James (Lisa – Ainsley and Cassandra), Micheil (Erin – Andrew and James), Fraser (daughters Robyn and Brooke) and notably by his mother, Sarah Jennings (nee: Pepler) as well as by his in-laws and their spouses: Harry (Jacinthe – Andrew, David, Philippe, and Jeremy), Diana (John – Sylvia and Ben), John (Heather – Sherrill, Christine, David, Michelle, Fraser and Matthew), and Maria’s step sisters Rosamond and Maxine. Tony was predeceased by his father, Ian L. Jennings, by his father in-law, Harry Gow Snr, his mother in-law, Dorothy Vernon-Wood, and his second mother-in-law, Prudence (Morrison) Gow.
Tony was an avid canoeist and hiker, a generous philanthropist, and an involved and supportive father, often traveling to see his two children in their various schools, personal and work locations around North America. Tony will also be remembered as Mr. J., Pa, and Granddad J. by the many ‘adopted’ kids and grandkids that grew up enjoying wonderful times at Tony and Maria’s historic (1844) house ‘Willowbank’ in Georgetown, Ontario: Marshal, Christian, Anne, Keith, Emma, Leah, and Carolina, among others.
Born August 12, 1940, Tony grew up in Toronto with his mother and maternal grandmother while his father served as an active duty commander overseas. Following the war Tony was a student at Upper Canada College, and remained an only child until the age of 14 when he was followed, in quick succession by four rambunctious younger brothers who benefited greatly from his calm and quiet tutelage.
Tony attended the University of Toronto where he graduated with a BSCF (Forestry) and, like his father, became a member of Kappa Alpha society. Tony later pursued graduate studies in Biology, keeping with what would become a life-long interest in nature and natural resources.
A devoted civil servant with a passionate interest in nature, Tony initially worked for conservation authorities in various parts of southern, eastern and northern Ontario, and surveyed and recommended multiple properties that would later become part of the Ontario parks service. Tony married Maria in 1964 and she joined him in conservation work.
While in Napanee they welcomed their son, Timothy. They later moved back to Toronto where they had daughter, Katherine, and Tony served as Director of Personnel Administration (Resources Ministries, 1972-76). The family moved to Georgetown, Ontario in 1973 where Tony and Maria resided until this year (2013).
In 1976 Tony was appointed Director of the Administrative Services branch of the Civil Service Commission and the Management Board of Cabinet. His civil service career is highlighted by his final roles as Executive Coordinator and then Executive Director of the Ministry of Energy (1982-86), including brief stints as Acting Deputy Minister.
In 1986, Tony turned to serving Canada and the Commonwealth as the first Executive Director of the Governor General’s Canadian Study Conference, which was dedicated to ‘improving leadership and decision-making in Canada’. Following his term with the GGCSC Tony accepted the role of CEO of the Municipal Electric Association of Ontario. Tony’s time with the MEA culminated with his being named The Canadian Energy Person of the Year in 2000, shortly before he left the MEA in 2001.
Tony’s wide-ranging intellect and strong service orientation led him to become a Certified Coach through the Adler School of Professional Coaching, a certified mediator, and to launch Interalign Consulting Services Inc. through which he provided coaching, consulting and executive services. Returning to his original passion for forestry and conservation, in 2005 Tony accepted the role of Registrar and Executive Director of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA), which he held until just over a month before his death.
Tony also served on boards for numerous organizations including the Conservation Council of Ontario, Ontario Aggregate Resources Corporation, Ontario Professional Foresters Association (Blue Ribbon Panel and Editorial Board), Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference, American Public Power Association, and International Coach Federation.
In keeping with his wishes, Tony donated his body to the University of Toronto for further study of his rare cancer, continuing his legacy of service even beyond his life.
There will be a gathering to share memories the first weekend of March of 2014. Further details about Tony’s life and legacy, as well as details of the gathering in March, will shortly be available at http://ihhjennings.blogspot.ca/.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Cancer Assistance Services of Halton Hills (CASH), Ian Anderson House hospice in Oakville, or organizations supporting nature conservation or youth education, would be welcomed.