John Howard-Gibbon

Howard-Gibbon, John

Nov 22, 1931-Aug 26, 2011

John passed away on August 26, at Nanaimo, B.C. John was highly accomplished in many fields. He began his working career in Williams Lake, his birth place, where he worked in the woods and later apprenticed as a printer with the local newspaper, all the time terrorizing the citizenry with his Harley 74. On moving to Vancouver he worked at Evergreen Press, and became a journeyman printer. Starting at UBC with some trepidation, he did extremely well in all his courses, and won the annual prize for his essay. He began his studies in Chinese there, then moved on to Stanford University, whose branch in Taiwan he attended for a year. Next came study in Leeds University, and in Austria, where he worked on Russian and Mongolian languages. After touring Europe on a more civilized bike, he returned to Canada and began his teaching career at Vancouver City College (now Langara College) where he was a valued member of the English Department until his retirement in 1993. He took leave to teach in Beijing for two years, and later returned for another years teaching. After retirement he worked there for several years on the English language China Daily newspaper as copy editor, polishing the translations done by the Chinese staff. John was a world renowned translator and Chinese literature scholar. Until recently he held the position of deputy-editor-in-chief of China Daily which is the largest and most authoritative English language newspaper in China. He has translated many works from Chinese, notably Lao She’s Teahouse and Chen Ran’s A Private Life in addition to an illustrated history of the Chinese workers on the CPR line. John was an avid swimmer and swam year round in the ocean and he loved to play his harmonica and other accomplishments (and how he found time for them all heaven knows) included expertise in woodworking, complex rope work, sailing, chinese cooking and limerick writing. John is survived by his loving sister Elizabeth Abbott of Williams Lake, many nieces and nephews of Victoria and Prince George and a wide circle of friends, all of whom will miss him greatly. He leaves a big hole in our lives. A Celebration of Life will be held in early October. A Student Scholarship Fund in John’s memory will be established with details to follow.


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