In Passing: Jonathan Pemberton Miller Yardley

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who loved life as much as Jonathan Pemberton Miller Yardley Architect AIBC did. Whether learning a new piece of music for one of the many choirs he sang with, painting a foggy rain-soaked horizon, or helping to restore some of Canada’s most cherished heritage buildings, Jonathan always committed himself fully to everything he did.

Born in Lichfield, England, Jonathan made his home on Salt Spring Island with his wife Sue (née Wall) in 1974, renovating their beloved Southdown Farm, growing a massive veggie garden, and raising sheep, goats, cows, pigs, chickens, geese, horses – and three children.

In his life on Salt Spring, Jonathan always shared his warmth and joie de vivre with everyone around him, from hosting live Christmas nativities in the barn, to dancing the grapevine on the lawn to celebrate friends’ birthdays, to taking midnight dips in the pond just to see the stars.

A graduate of the Birmingham School of Architecture in England, Jonathan managed to quietly carve out an extremely successful career on the western edge of Canada. Though he was too humble to ever announce it, he received dozens of provincial and national architectural awards (including recognition as “Life Member of the AIBC” in 2008 for 30 years of continuous membership with the Architectural Institute of British Columbia), and had a hand in the preservation of nearly every renovated heritage building in downtown Victoria and Vancouver (not to mention some of our most cherished ones here on the island – Ruckle Provincial Park, Mahon, Beaver Point and Fulford Halls, to name a few).

An avid traveller, he and Sue have explored many parts of this world, taking equal pleasure in the sublime (soaring cathedrals) and the simple (a baguette and wheel of hard cheese). Venice was a special spot they shared with their closest friends on a number of trips, but walking the Camino de Santiago across France and Spain in 2003 with eldest son Thomas was a life-defining experience.

Taken by prostate cancer too soon with still so much life to live, Jonathan will be desperately missed by wife Sue, sons Thomas (Michelle Yardley) and Ben (Jessie Carlson), daughter Emma (Daniel Squizzato), granddaughters Lucy, Lila and Grace Yardley, and sister Jennifer Chapman, as well as many relatives in England and the U.S.A.

The family would like to thank Dr. Manya Sadowsky and all the nursing staff at Lady Minto Hospital for their compassionate care. A private ceremony will be held for family. Please send your good memories of Jonathan to 316 Isabella Pt. Rd., S.S.I., B.C. V8K 1V4.

To honour Jonathan’s memory, the family requests that you speak to your health professionals and government representatives about Dying With Dignity (dyingwithdignity.ca), in the hopes that Canadian law will be amended to eliminate unnecessary end-of-life suffering.

The information was sourced from an article written by by L. Sullivan for the Gulf Islands Driftwood on April 28, 2015.

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