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Welcome to the memorial page for

Ernest Frederick WARR

September 26, 1934 ~ August 15, 2017 (age 82)

ERNEST FREDERICK WARR (Ernie)   (sometimes known as “Jeremy Cooke”)  Nanaimo, British Columbia

September 26, 1934 – August 15, 2017

Ernie has entered into his eternal sleep.  He died at home, at the time and place of his own choosing.  He very reluctantly leaves behind the love of his life, best friend and dearest companion for fifty-six wonderful years, Mary, his precious son Jeff, his sister-in-law, Pat Warr and many nephews and nieces.  To his two wonderful granddaughters, Maddy and Sadie Warr, of Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Gramps would like to say how much he loved them and how proud he was he was of their achievements.  Ernie was pre-deceased by his parents as well as his brother, Peter (2005), and his sister, Winifred (1996).

Born in London, England, Ernie spent his childhood in Ewell, Surrey.  When World War II started in 1939, his father, a reserve soldier, was sent to France, while his family endured the German bombing of London in 1940 – 41.  In true British spirit, they survived by huddling in a cupboard under the stairs.  Later, when the “doodlebugs” and rockets resumed their bombardment, Ernie was evacuated to Cornwall until it was over.  Following the war, Ernie emigrated to Canada with his parents in 1949.  After crossing the Atlantic on the S.S.Aquitania, their first sight of Canada was the historic Pier 21 in Halifax, from where the family boarded a steam train for Toronto. 

At the age of sixteen, Ernie went to work for The Dominion Bank (later The Toronto-Dominion Bank) as a junior clerk.  He liked to tell that among his first duties were changing the pen-nibs and filling the inkwells on the desks.  He progressed from those menial tasks, though, and was, variously, a ledger-keeper, teller, cashbook writer, Assistant Accountant, Accountant and, at last, was appointed Manager of a small branch in Willowdale in 1966.  He went on to manage several progressively larger branches in Toronto, was Management Training Coordinator in Head Office and then was sent to Calgary, Alberta as an Inspector.  He retired in Calgary as Manager of the Medical Centre branch at 8th Avenue and 8th Street SW.

As well as his banking career, former Boy Scout Ernie became a Scout leader in Markham, Ontario (one of his Scouter buddies had a sister named Mary who had just arrived in Canada and the rest was history).  His work for the Boy Scouts saw Ernie become Assistant District Commissioner for Scouts, and he was awarded The Wood Badge (Scouting’s highest award). It was through his Scouting work that Ernie was fortunate to meet Norm and Doll Renals, Peter and Jim Commins and his future brother-in-law, Dave Whetter, all of whom became close, life-long friends.  Among his fondest memories were of time spent with his friends in Markham and those wonderful weekends on Norm’s island in Northern Ontario.  Ernie and Mary were married in 1961 and lived in Toronto.  They were blessed to receive their chosen son, four months old Jeffrey Ian, in 1967.  Following Ernie’s retirement, they moved to Gabriola Island, British Columbia in 1990 and lived on Gabriola for many years until health necessitated the move to Nanaimo.

Ernie was an ardent, if reluctant writer and he wrote numerous short stories, poems and essays over the years, using the pseudonym “Jeremy Cooke”, a concoction derived from his family names.  For a short time he was President of The Writers’ Guild, associated with York University in Toronto.  A collection of his short stories was published with the title “Soft-Soled Shoes and Other Stories”, now no longer available.

Throughout his life, Ernie suffered from a very rare, incurable genetic condition called Alkaptonuria, the symptoms of which emerged in his late twenties and grew progressively worse as he got older.  The condition led, over the years, to numerous surgeries and procedures as well as, in his later years especially, severe incapacitation, discomfort and pain.

Cremation has taken place.  Ernie always hated funerals, and used to say that if one was held for him, he would not attend, so in keeping with his wishes, there was no service.  In lieu of condolences or flowers, a donation to the Alkaptonuria Society (www.akusociety.org) would be greatly appreciated.


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