John Aubrey Riddell on Thursday November 2, 2023, peacefully at home. Jack was born in Toronto on October 31, 1927. Son of John Aubrey Riddell Sr. and Ida Catherine MacLeod, brother to Gloria (Trow), predeceased. Predeceased by his loving wife of 65 years, Jacquelyn (Jackie) Maureen Riddell (nee Hagarty). Devoted father of children John Geoffrey (Bradley), Catherine Mary (Jonathan Knowles, Sarah, Jonathan), Lisanne (John, James).
Jack grew up in an environment that encouraged leadership, sport and independence. At the young age of 3, little Jackie was off to summer camp with his trusty dog Rusty, and he never looked back. Eager to play team sports, Jack will forever be known as an individual who was able to make his life work feel like a sport that he loved to play. Although not an academic at heart, Upper Canada College and Western University were places where Jack felt deeply connected and made life-long friendships. The halls of U.C.C. will forever be filled with team photos of Jack, his friends, and the sports that encouraged his leadership and camaraderie skills. At Western University he met the love of his life, Jackie. They were married on May 15, 1954 and were sadly separated in 2019 by her death. Geoff, Cathy and Lisa are their three children.
As a family they made their cottage in Algonquin Park, farm in King, and their love of all animals a shared passion. Horses, both racehorses and show horses, formed a long chapter in their lives together.
Jack’s independent streak fostered a strong entrepreneurial spirit and early in his career he founded Sun Pac Foods Limited where he pioneered the early citrus juice business in Canada. Always open to new opportunities, Jack broke into the pet food business with Derby Pet Foods and became a leading manufacturer of Purrr cat food with the cartoon cat, Garfield as it’s mascot. From there he branched into Tortilla chips and other Mexican products, with McDowell Ovens. He didn’t stop there as he acquired control of an oil and gas company, Canadex Resources and later a school bus division, Parkview Transit. All the while Jack was proud to be known in the business world as ‘honest Jack’ whose handshake was pure gold. Jack had a very strong moral compass and he let it guide him throughout his life. In his world, deeds spoke volumes. He treated those around him with a great deal of autonomy just like he would want to be treated himself and trusted that this would bring out the best in everyone.
Jack will be remembered as optimistic, patient and generous by nature. He was always there to quietly lend a helping hand to friends and those who were struggling. He knew what was right and without judgement of others he anonymously helped countless people. Always the strong leader, making decisions easily and working tirelessly to make them work out. Jack created a pension plan that is still looking after many of the people that meant so much to him. He was truly one of those ‘good men’, steadfast in his loyalty, strong and kind. For those whose lives he touched may we try and follow in his shadow. Show unconditional love to those around us and embrace the game of life with confidence, kindness and internal fortitude.
The family would especially like to thank Stephanie and her group of compassionate care workers from Headwaters Home Care who helped make Jack’s final days as comfortable as possible.
Memorial Service to be held at a later date.
Arrangements by Egan Funeral Home, Bolton (905-857-2213).
Condolences for the family may be offered at www.EganFuneralHome.com