January 17th, 1922 to December 1st, 2003
An Ojibwe Man Who Moved to BC Decades Ago.
An Elder Who Endeared Himself to Many on Vancouver Island
"I'm blind and I'm sick, but I'm going to keep on going.
We're on our way up and it thrills me.
We're on our way out of the woods.
There is great hope for us."
Leonard Simcoe, Ojibway Veteran
CFB Esquimalt's Aboriginal Day Celebrations
Leonard Simcoe was born in Orillia Ontario on January 17 1922. His parents were Wally and Alma Simcoe. In time he was part of a big family. His siblings were Geraldine, Murdock, Alice, Mary, Lloyd, Elmer and Glenna.
In 1939 he joined the arm to assist with Canada's efforts in World War II. His time in the military was very important to him.
In 1945 he became a Christian. This shaped the rest of his life. He spent 12 years ministering in remote communities in Manitoba. Later he traveled all around Canada and the northwestern United States to share the word of God. His special calling was for this own people. During his last decade as a minister he traveled to many places including: England, Scotland, Ireland, Estonia, Israel, Malta, Germany, New Zealand, Spain, New York City and Nashville. His love of travel and meeting people was legendary.
Leonard was a family man. He married Doris Evans in 1946 and was heartbroken to lose her in 1985. He was the very loved father of Mary, Janice, Carole, and Jerome and Grandfather of Turridu, Frankie, and Zofie. He leaves behind his children, their spouses, his grandchildren, his sister Glenna and many, many friends.
We thank you for sharing this time with his family and with him.
A memorial gathering was held at 2pm, December 4th, 2003 in the Sands West Funeral Home in Goldstream. Over 100 friends and family members filled the chapel to standing room only. It was clear by the strong presence of over 30 members of the Aboriginal community that Leonard and his family are very well respected and loved. Among Veterans attending were Victor Flett and Leo McGillis of the Vancouver Island National Aboriginal Veterans Association, with whom Leonard was a member.
The ceremony began with a kilt-wearing soldier, slowly marching through the chapel, playing Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. A fitting song to march past Leonard's war bonnet and World War II medals and other war memorabilia that were on display at the front of the chapel.
The service presented Leonard's life from the perspectives of a close friend, family and a Minister of a Christian fellowship. We heard that Leonard was a warrior and that he was proud of his time serving his country during WWII, and of his ancestors who supported the British wars back as far as the War of 1812. He followed the footsteps of his father and uncles who fought in WWI.
We heard of his love for God and the journey that love took him and his family on for the rest of his life. His war cry became, "PRASE THE LORD!" something he loved to shout out often, and everywhere! That love lead him to many remote communities in Canada bringing God's work to those in need, often in Aboriginal communities. His travels around the world were as rewarding to him as they were to the people who came to know and love him. Not only was he serving a Christian fellowship but also his Ojibwe and other Aboriginal people. He always brought his rich cultural pride with him wherever he went.
In 2000 DND awarded Leonard and other veterans with the Aboriginal Millennium Medal.
The funeral service / memorial ceremony for Leonard, closed with an unseen soldier playing Taps on his bugle in the entrance of the chapel. Another standing ovation accompanied Leonard Simcoe on his journey.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
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