Obituaries

John Joseph McCloskey

June 09, 1945 - December 30, 2020

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Obituary For John Joseph McCloskey

John Joseph McCloskey, resident of Grande Prairie, AB, formerly of Dungiven, Northern Ireland, passed away on Wednesday, December 30, 2020, at home, peacefully at the age of 75 years.

He was born on June 9, 1945, in Limavady, Northern Ireland, to Mary and John McCloskey. John finished his university education in Derry, Northern Ireland, and taught for a couple of years before moving to London, UK. While working at a shoe store in Piccadilly Circus, he saw an advertisement offering teaching positions in the County of Grande Prairie in 1967. He made his way to Northern Alberta in January of 1968 to take a teaching position in the Hamlet of Teepee Creek, AB and was not prepared for the harsh, cold Canadian winter that welcomed him. As he told his children many times, “I had never felt a cold like that in my life”! In order to get accustomed to his new Canadian roots, he often practiced driving on the right-hand side of the road in the back wood country roads of the area.

In September of 1968, John started at Harry Balfour School in Grande Prairie, where he worked as a teacher and a Vice Principal until he retired in 2000. During this time, he also completed his Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Alberta in 1981. He was always an advocate for education and teachers and served as a District Representative of the ATA for Northern Alberta from 1997 – 2005. He touched many lives in his career, and his children are still approached from time to time when their last name is mentioned, to hear a story or memory like “Mr. McCloskey? He taught me in Grade 7!” or “He was my favourite coach!”

John met the love of his life, Leslie Ann Roach, at the Park Hotel in Grande Prairie, where all the local teachers gathered every Friday evening in 1970. They were married in August of 1971. John and Leslie Ann were to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in August of this year.

John continued to be active throughout his life. He golfed nearly every day he was able and was always eager to hand out golfing advice to anyone that would listen, regardless of their handicap. He was extremely well-read and could talk knowledgeably about almost any subject. He was an avid traveler and had been all over the world with his wife and family. He frequently went home to Ireland, so much so that he had his own set of golf clubs at his mother’s house. He was very proud of his international family that have roots here in Canada, Ireland and Australia. He enjoyed yard work and tending to their massive garden with his wife and family. He was devoted to his grandchildren and much of his spare time was spent with them and their families.

He will be remembered as a devoted husband to Leslie Ann for 49 years; father to Robert (Trisha), Jennifer (Chris) and Andrew; grandfather to Cohen, Theo, and Isabella; brother to James, Charlie (Anne), Vincent (Bee), Christine (Brian) in Ireland, and Anne in Australia; uncle and great-uncle to many nieces and nephews in Canada, Ireland and Australia; and as a friend and mentor to us all.

John was predeceased by his father John Joseph McCloskey, and his mother Mary McCloskey in Northern Ireland.

Cremation has taken place.

A Celebration of Life in Grande Prairie will be determined at a later date when COVID-19 restrictions do not prevent us from gathering the way John would have wanted us to.

A Celebration of Life in Ireland will also take place at a later date when family and friends can gather safely.

If you wish, memorial donations may be made to the Grande Prairie Golf and Country Club (711040 Resources Rd., Grande Prairie, AB, T8V 3A7) on behalf of John’s passion for golf. All donations will go towards supporting future young golfers in Grande Prairie who share the love of the game.

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Condolences

  • 06/24/2021

    Mr McClosky taught me at Harry Balfour. He was stric, fair, honest and a great sense of humour. I have the utmost respect for this man. May he Rest In Peace.

  • 06/24/2021

    Deepest condolences, Les, to you and your family on John's passing in December. I'm afraid I've been so out of the news loop in the last few months I had no idea of your loss until Peter informed me yesterday. I was very, very sorry to hear. I didn't know John well but did know how close the two of you were as a couple. I remember a spry debate with him about the pronunciation of 'Javert' from Les Miserables at your place a few years ago. I was there for some rehearsal or other. I always got the feeling he was kindly tolerating the crazy theatre people who tended to pass through your place. I, of course, bowed down to his well researched opinion on the matter. All the best to you and yours. Lorraine, Peter and Emily Cook.

  • 06/24/2021

    Leslie Ann, I am so sorry for your loss. John will surely be missed by so many, as well as by you and your beloved family.

  • 06/24/2021

    Always enjoyed Mr McKolsey...

  • 06/24/2021

    Please see above message.

  • 06/24/2021

    Leslie Ann. We are so sorry to hear from Dennis about John. We remember having fun at lots of New Year's Eve parties at their house. Also remember how John helped us to plan a trip to Ireland. Our hearts go out to you and your family. May your memories be a comfort at this sad time. Sylvia and Bob

  • 06/24/2021

    Our Condolences and prayers to the family, John( Mr. McCloskey ) was a kind, fair, and well respected man. He was always Mr. McCloskey to us. Rest In Peace dear friend.

  • 06/24/2021

    I was very saddened to hear of the passing of John. Being a college and friend of mine, I always enjoyed seeing John at the golf course, and the time he took to offer advice to our junior golfers. Simply put, John was respected and loved by all, whether as a college in the teaching profession, or on the golf course as a friend. Rest in peace John, thank-you for your many years of friendship. Dan and Cindy Bishop

  • 06/24/2021

    Very sincere condolences to you, LA, on the death of your dear John.

  • 06/24/2021

    I was in the first class that Mr McCloskey taught at Harry Balfour, grade 6. I enjoyed being in his class and even learned how to speak French with an Irish accent lol. RIP John, you will be fondly remembered by the many students whoâ??s lives youâ??ve touched.

  • 06/24/2021

    You don't know me, but I knew Mr. McCloskey from when he was principle at Harry Balfour school. He always had a kind, and joyful smile and he made a lasting impression on many kids lives. I remember feeling sad when he decided to retire. I would run into him over the years, once I was older and working in GP, when he drove for a few years for a local dealership. He always had a bright smile and friendly chatter and it was always a delight to see him. I'm so very sorry for your loss and I pray for comfort for everyone during this extremely hard time. -Rebecca

  • 06/24/2021

    John was always a force to be reckoned with - whether on the golf course, having a political discussion or promoting education in the area and province. I will always remember golfing in Fairmont when his driver ended up in two pieces after a mighty drive and then retelling the story endlessly that evening over a salmon BBQ that was washed down with copious amounts of wine. John was a great ATA representative for Northern Alberta and will be remembered by so many students and staff. My condolences to all of the family. May your many great memories bring you peace and comfort.

  • 06/24/2021

    I just want to express my deep condolences to you and your family on the loss of John. I was so sad to hear of his unexpected passing and cannot imagine how painful this must be for all of you. I am thinking of you and praying for you and hope that this will somehow help. If there is anything that I or Bob or the Grande Prairie Golf and Country Club can do to help, please reach out. Sincerely, Nicole Martens

  • 06/24/2021

    Condolences for your loss. I was one of many students blessed to have had your husband & Father as a teacher. I played sports so there was always that extra time in his Energy. I still remember a snow ball fight we had as we waited for our ride home after a road trip. I believe he retreated behind close doors. May your hearts be filled will amazing memories and cherished moments to heal from your loss. Karen Matheson, Calgary

  • 06/24/2021

    I met John through our ATA activities. He always provided me with great advice and guidance when I was the Local ATA President of G.P. Catholic Teachers. When I moved on to be the ATA District Rep for Northern Alberta after John decided to step down as our representative, he taught me how to successfully handle it. While serving in this position, I constantly heard extremely high praise about John from the teachers he had represented while serving on the ATA Provincial Executive Council. Rest well, John. You will be missed.

  • 06/24/2021

    Dear Leslie & Family We would like to send you our heartfelt sympathy. Very saddened to hear of your loss. Our thoughts are with you. Don & Margy Kober

  • 06/24/2021

    Dear Leslie Ann and Family, I am so very sorry for your loss...Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you during this trying time. I am sending you a big hug my friend.....my deepest condolences. Susan

  • 06/24/2021

    So sorry to hear of Johnâ??s sudden passing. Always such a nice gentleman and with a good sense of humour. Ran into him often at a golf course. I havenâ??t seen you for quite awhile Leslie Ann but just wanted you to know Iâ??m thinking of you and hope your good memories help the sorrow of losing John. Sending you hugs, Alanna Boyer

  • 06/24/2021

    I was very fortunate to have had John as my teacher at Harry Balfour School - especially in Grade 7. The transition from Grade 6 at Penson School in Grovedale to Grade 7 at Harry Balfour in GP felt like a big one at the time, but teachers like John, Joe Quinn, and Wendy Crispin made it a lot easier. He was one of the giants. All of these years later, I can remember being instantly fascinated by John - he was probably the first Irish person I'd ever met at that point in my life. He also had the neatest cursive writing I'd ever seen. And I'll always picture him in full Harry Balfour-branded regalia - windbreaker, golf shirt, and black PaceSetter pants with the yellow-and-white stripes down each leg. I also feel fortunate that I was able to keep in (occasional) contact with John later in my adult life when I was a Daily Herald-Tribune reporter and he was a local contact for the Alberta Teachers Association. He always provided intelligent and thoughtful insight for my stories and we also used those times to catch up with each other. My condolences go to Robert and his family.

  • 06/24/2021

    Leslie Ann, So terribly sorry to hear of Johnâ??s passing. Sending love and hugs to you and the entire family.

  • 06/24/2021

    Leslie Anne and family, Iâ??m offering my sincere condolences for your loss of John. We had a lengthy career together from teaching to curling and coaching. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this difficult time. Barb Greentree

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