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John Allan MacQuarrie


John Allan MacQuarrie

MacQuarrie, John Allan, age 70, of Mulgrave passed away peacefully in St. Martha’s Regional Hospital on February 1, 2020.

Born in Antigonish, he was the son of the late Allan Dan and Margaret MacQuarrie of Queensville.

John will be greatly missed by so many. He was always there to lend a helping hand and had a wealth of knowledge on how things worked. If it was broke, John could fix it. He was a man who did not know the word "no" or the phrase "I can’t". He touched the lives of everyone he met and in many cases changed them for the better. He was a man who loved to laugh and make anyone around him do the same. He was a long time member of the Seven Communities Volunteer Fire Department and served as a mentor and knowledge base for a large number of people in a variety of trades. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion for over fifty years and involved with the Salvation Army for over forty years.

John had a long and varied career. At the age of 16 John started a band called The Exiles and played all over Cape Breton, Guysborough and Antigonish Counties. At the age of 17 he joined the Canadian Armed Forces (Air Force), and shortly after took Gloria Hendsbee as his wife. In the Forces he became certified in mechanics and electronics trades and reached the rank of Corporal, Upon retirement, he returned home and worked at Colin R. MacDonald Construction as a heavy equipment mechanic and operator. This is where he met his best friend Alfie DeLorey. Following a stint with construction, he and Alfie found jobs on the oil rigs with Rowan Drilling. John went to the rig as a general laborer but it turned into a position in the engine room. During this time he also managed to find time to be an integral part of starting the first fire department in Goshen. After leaving the oil rigs, he and his wife Gloria moved to Sault Ste. Marie where John found employment at Algoma Central Railway working as a certified diesel mechanic, heavy equipment mechanic and propane gas fitter working on the large diesel train engines. When the railway went on strike, he and Gloria moved back home to Nova Scotia where John started his own business (John’s Small Engines) which was successfully run until he and his partner had a falling out. He then began working at Mount St. Bernard College as a stationary engineer in their boiler room. When Mount St. Bernard closed, John worked with the Coast Guard as a lighthouse keeper, bringing his wife and newborn baby boy to White Head Island when John-Curtis was only 5 days old. The family spent seven and one half years on the island, looking after the lighthouse and all it entails, until the Coast Guard closed the light keeping operation and he and his family moved ashore where John and all of his 14 licensed trades were eagerly accepted to remain as a Coast Guard employee. He became an INM Tech where he was able to repair and work on all the nautical aids the Coast Guard still controlled. From this position he worked again as a diesel engine mechanic and electronics tech. along with getting his certification in electrical and solar.

After working for many years for the Coast Guard and nearing age of retirement, he became an instrumental part of the opening of "Out of the Fog Lighthouse Museum" and helping his wife form keepers of the beacons. A job he was able to pursue with much more passion after his retirement.

Sadly, ill health and misfortune came his way. He suffered burns and became ill with a heart condition. He had to have an artificial valve and eventually developed liver cancer. A gradual decline ensued and in 2019 his health began a steeper decline where he saw several long hospital stays and then being bed ridden. The beginning of 2020 saw the worst of his health and eventually he was hospitalized with kidney failure. John passed away peacefully in his sleep on February 1. 2020.

He will be greatly missed by his wife, Gloria (Hendsbee); son John-Curtis (Sherrie), grandchildren Amie, Aiden, Kyra and Kael; brothers Wayne, Charlie and Donald, sisters Marie and Margaret-Ann.

Cremation has taken place. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Donations in memory may be made to The Salvation Army, 2011 Diamond Street, Westville, NS B0K 2A0. Online condolences:


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Service Location
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Requested Charity
The Salvation Army, 2011 Diamond Street, Westville, NS B0K 2A0