John Alexander Chivers: Dalnavert restoration architect Aug. 10/09-Jan. 19/04.
Aug, 10/09-Jan. 19/04
John Chivers, Dalnavert's architect during the restoration phase, passed away peacefully at his retirement residence in White Rock, BC. John was born in Winnipeg, and graduated in Architecture (University of Manitoba) in 1931, after which he spent a summer touring Britain and France. His artistic ability clearly became evident by the beautifully rendered classical buildings that he sketched while there, an interest that he continued as a member of the Winnipeg Sketch Club. John also loved music. His colleague George Walker remembers how he once spontaneously sat down at a pump organ in a small church on Hecla Island, bringing forth beautiful music from memory. John's family regularly enjoyed sing-songs, as they called them, at home. He loved the out-of-doors, and worked tirelessly at the community club where his family grew up in St. Vital.
During WW II, John served for three years at the front with the Royal Canadian Engineers in Italy and Holland, but spent most of his working life in Manitoba. Late in his career he took up restoration work: Lower Fort Garry (1967 to 1970), Dalnavert (1970 to 1974), for which he received an award, Hecla Island and St. Norbert Heritage Park (1973 to 1976). He enjoyed this work most of all, even taking a course in Icelandic to be able to better understand that culture.
John was respected by all who met or had an opportunity to work with him for his honesty, kindness, and positive attitude. John retired in 1979, and moved with his wife Alberta to Mill Bay, BC. They had 62 years together. He is survived by his brother, C. Douglas in Vancouver, three children, Doug, Ila, and Tara, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.