For those unaware , John Holdstock , the creator of the Totalrecoil Blog passed away very suddenly on Dec.25th.
He will be sorely missed by all his Family and friends .
John was a remarkable man and with a wide range of interests and opinions
Below is eulogy His son Kevin gave at his service.
To simplify that off the top. Throughout this, I will be referencing him as “John” “Dad” or “ Father”. Depending on when or where you knew him from, please insert “Jack” “JB “ “John John” or “Johnny”at your convenience.
The signature on my Fathers Emails is “The world is run by those who show up.” So you have done your part now.
I think my Father would be very pleased with to see how many of you have come today. He used to say he was sure he would be the only one to be here on this day, and promised for years to write his own Eulogy. He figured at least that way it would be right. I will try my best to do him justice.
I had the great gift of not only having John Holdstock as my Father, but I can truly say I had a rare pleasure amongst Father and Sons to say he was my best friend. I loved being with him and just talking to him. Throughout the last several years several people I know have been surprised over the frequency that I was in contact with my Father and when I was asked what we talk about, I could always say “ everything”. I knew I could pick up the phone, and no matter what, we had something to talk about.
He was a man of many true gifts and talents and I would like to, at least try, and celebrate some of those today.
He was an Avid golfer. That may come as a surprise to many of you but he was also had a great interest in the history of the sport and he loved watching Golf. The Golf channel was a staple at the house. Even when He would stay with me on one of his trips through to Saskatchewan, the golf channel would always be on. He knew everything about the PGA, and when some lesser know player would win a championship; I could always count on Dad to tell me their histories. At one point our mutual cable TV providers were changing their channel line up and moving the Golf channel to a specialty package you had the option of buying. I wasn’t sure I was going to add the package to my lineup. However, when taking to him about the matter, I was told, while he was not happy about the change he was, of course, `going to pay the extra fees for the channels. He then went on to tell me, if I didn’t have the Golf channel, he would have to stay at hotels on future trips through Calgary. Needless to say, I upgraded my cable.
He was an explorer, not in the traditional sense, but he loved to travel, and he loved to find new things. He was well travelled. He I took a trip to Scotland, so he could Golf, and we could drink whiskey. He, Morag and Steven had his favorite trip to Greece, and there were many more but mainly, he loved to get in his truck and drive the backroads to his next destination. See the sights less seen, golf the smaller courses. He always had the most fascinating stories about the little towns he would go through and the people he would meet. He and Morag travelled down to the Masters in Georgia. And a Marvelous adventure But it wasn’t just the small town experience he liked. He loved poking around in Washington DC on his trips there and the same when they went to New York. He just likes to discover things.
. Morag, Dad loved having you as a travel companion. For all the times in his life. At home and on the road.
He was a singer. In one of his yearbooks they say he sang like Johnny Ray…you can look him up on your Google machine when you get home. After High School, he didn’t sing for anyone but family and mainly himself. As children, on long car rides he would entertain us with songs of gunfighters and women in white linen. Often when Dad found a song he thought had interesting lyrics he would sing me a verse or two. He had eclectic tastes in music, so you never knew what would catch his fancy. We were visiting in the fall, and I happen to be passing by his office area while he was singing along to a Blues artist he had discovered. I had to stop and listen for a few minutes and be reminded of those long car trips made a little easier by my Fathers easy Baritone.
He was a Reader. He, literally, has a library of books, which I am sure he had read most of… He read a vast array of online newspapers and blogs He was always up on current events and had strong views on most issues. He read everything. He loved science fiction and Fantasy books, and TV. He loved the Harry Potter series, and turned a bunch of us onto the Bone series of graphic novels. He loved to give books… Over the years several book my Dad thought were of interest were sent to me, probably to broaden my horizons. And he should never be doubted. The last one he sent to me, the Outliers , was been read by myself , my partner Corrie , my next door neighbor and recommended highly by everyone else I talk to about it. At one point, He believed I should read more of the classic and the complete adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and the collected works of Edgar Allen Poe found their way to me over the period of my birthday and Christmas. later when asking if I had read the Poe stories and poems ,I said I had read most of them and while the poems were of course classics , I had to admit they were too Gothic for me and I enjoyed more “manly “ poetry of Rudyard Kipling, for a collection he had sent me on an earlier date. With little hesitation, dad just started…
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!
My apologies to Mr. Kipling for editing his work.
He was a writer… One day, I receive plain manila envelope in the mail from Dad. And inside is a copy of a B.C. hunting magazine. The Post it note in his handwriting said. Thought you might enjoy this….and inside, there was his first published article. He had others over the years but, I think we will all remember his Blog, Total Recoil. When he started it several years ago, I admit to thinking…That’s so great, my retired Dad, trying his hand at this, relatively, new medium. I thought he would post a few times and that would be the end of it. Of course, I could not have been more wrong. He maintained Total Recoil on a regular basis until just a few days an ago. It gave him an opportunity to give his take on a variety of subjects, from Movies, to the political issues he was interested in to sometimes just the absurdity of life.
During so many conversations he would say he had posts he had been working on that he needed to get up. I never wanted to know what it was about, I would just wait until he posted his very well written thoughts, and enjoy it when the time came.
He enjoyed technology and the gadgets they availed him too. Maybe it was the years of reading Science fiction that allowed him to so easily embrace the digital age. `He always loved photography and immediately embraced the digital version, sitting at his desk I see his computer, a mini video recorder, a hand held digital camera, and a small voice recorder. And that just on the top of things. I wrote this on his net book. He loved these things that he found “neat” and never shyed from trying anything new.
He was Funny….So many have commented on his Dry humour, and his somewhat sarcastic wit, and that is true, he a quick mind and always had a quip at the ready but there was a silly, goofy side that could often manifest itself. He could bring me to tears with his stupid voices and ridiculousness. But he also loved to laugh. His sense of humour was broad but I think he got the most joy from the people around in. His brother Wayne always had a way of amusing Dad. He greatly enjoyed their frequent phone call and his trips to Saskatchewan to visit our family in Weyburn. My cousin Marnie, whether taking to Dad, or sending him emails would just Break him up. Marnie, I found an email folder that he has saved all your correspondence. He had always threatened to collected them all and publish them. But before that goes to your head, he also has a folder titled “Idiots”
…and he was young…. For 74 years old he was the youngest man I knew. I thanked him and my mother on several occasions for the good genes. He didn’t look or act his age. Upon meeting him, one of friends remarked, “I know he’s retired, so he’s at least 65 but I can’t believe that.”
This leads to the greatest lesson my Father never intentionally taught me, that to stay young, stay young at heart. Embrace the light in life, and the joys it brings, as he did. But also never stop moving forward; Dad never said “I can’t”. He was not afraid of new ideas and technologies and made use of everything at his disposal. He saw benefits in the digital age, and never looked back and bemoaned “It was better backing when” The past existed and could be accessed anytime but the Future …..That was the adventure.
I am Kevin Holdstock…and I am my Fathers Son.