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I age myself when I can say I was a young NCO when this guy was the Prairie Militia Area commander out of Thunder Bay. R.I.P.
It is with profound sadness that the family of Brigadier General (Ret'd) John Litt announces his passing on Saturday, November 28, 2020 at the age of 81, due to contracting Covid-19.
A proud lifelong resident of Thunder Bay, John was born in Fort William in 1939, the second of three boys to Michael and Mary Litt. He always spoke fondly of his childhood years in the East End and of his memories growing up in such a diverse multicultural neighbourhood.
A brilliant thinker and orator, John graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 1963 with a Business Administration degree. He spent the following year in Toronto obtaining his teaching certificate before returning to Thunder Bay to marry the love of his life, Patricia, and start a career as a high school teacher (as assistant commercial director at Hammarskjold and commercial director at Churchill).
Military history and the Canadian Army Reserves were a passion of his. In 1968, John joined the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment, advancing over the years to become Commander of the Prairie Militia Area as the first Brigadier General born in Thunder Bay.
Throughout his life, music was an ever-present backdrop. He especially loved jazz and once recalled how he was moved to tears the first time he watched The Benny Goodman Story at age 15, returning to the movie theatre four more times before the film left that year. Decades later, when the opportunity came to open a Sam the Record Man store with Patricia in 1976, there was no question John would accept it, setting aside teaching for 10 years to seize this new adventure.
In the 1980s, John returned to teaching as an instructor at Confederation College, all the while continuing to share his love of music as host of a weekly jazz and blues show on CKPR Radio.
By 1989, however, John was looking for a new challenge to sharpen his mind. He left teaching for good to became a realtor, serving as president and past president of the Thunder Bay Real Estate Board, as broker with Royal LePage Lannon Realty, as an instructor for the Ontario Real Estate Association, and as a certified residential appraiser, which he did up until two years ago when Parkinson's disease brought his final career to a close.
Throughout his life, John's positive outlook, his faith in humanity and his courage to meet every challenge never wavered. Nor did the core values that guided him: integrity, kindness, and forgiveness. His greatest joys in later life came from being Dedo to his grandchildren -- always available to them for hugs and cuddles, watching John Wayne westerns and playing Skip-Bo.
As family friend Dan Voitel recently wrote, “He was a kind, dignified, engaging and interesting man. He lived a life that mattered and is worth remembering. … What more can any of us ask.”
John is survived by his wife Patricia, son David (Rena), daughter Catherine (Ronnie), grandchildren Ryan, Kaitlyn, Jordan and Kristen, nieces Lisa, Stephanie and Paula, and nephews Michael and Kevin.
In lieu of flowers, and if friends so desire, memorial donations may be made to Parkinson Canada or a charity of choice ...