John Benjamin Alexander passed away on March 17, 2007 at home in Koolewong, NSW, Australia soon after being diagnosed with cancer. He is survived by wife Margaret, children Catherine Alexander and Mathew Alexander, and brother Gordon Alexander.
John was born in North Vancouver on May 9, 1930. After joining the PGE Railway at the age of 18, he moved to Lillooet B.C. and then transferred to Williams Lake several years later.
John spent his early years in Williams Lake living the life of a confirmed bachelor. He exercised his passion for books by becoming an integral part in the development of the town’s first library.
A favorite family story tells of the time he won the Irish Sweepstakes and used the money to buy the library its first set of encyclopedias and himself a brand new 55 Chevy Bellaire convertible…perhaps one of the greatest cars ever made.
The car, by the way, came to a tragic end many years later when it spontaneously burst into flames outside the volunteer fire hall.
John’s bachelor days ended when he met Australian nurse Margaret Challinor. Williams Lake was Margaret’s first stop on an extensive around North America traveling adventure; it proved to be an extended first leg.
John and Margaret married in Jan. 1965 and began their family. John took to family life the way he did most other things he felt were important, with complete dedication.
John loved his job as a railway engineer on the BCR. He was one of a very few men in BC who maintained a steam engine ticket and was therefore able to operate the Royal Hudson when it made its trips through the Cariboo. He despised being late and hated receiving the train behind schedule. Under his operation, this problem was often rectified and the train usually made it to its next destination on time, thus garnering him the nickname Johnny the Jet.
In 1995 after retiring from the BCR with 47 years of service, John and Margaret moved to New South Wales, Australia. John said he never again wanted to see another snow flake. He spent the next 12 years of his life doing what he loved best; walking, reading, hanging out at the library, hanging out at the beach, and riding the trains.
Cards of condolence may be dropped at Alexander Clothing at 41 South First Avenue and will be forwarded to Koolewong.