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John Almstrom

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Unexpectedly of medical complications, John died on Friday, 11 March 2016, in the Ottawa General. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Neilam, whom he met while on an education tour in India in 1968, and who has it on record that she has never known anyone quite like him. Also left behind are his three brothers Chris and Eric both of Whitehorse, Yukon, and Jim of Duncan, BC. John was born in 1948 in the Yukon, went to UBC where he studied History and International Relations and joined the Regular Officer Training Plan of the Canadian Forces, being commissioned into Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) in 1970. He completed a Masters degree in Military History at Rice University, Texas, and then began his army service, leading to his command of First Battalion, PPCLI 1985-1987. As a Colonel he was a key senior operations staff officer in the army headquarters during the Oka Crisis in 1990. In 1994, while on operational duty in the former Yugoslavia, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross for his unstinting humanitarian work. He was recruited by the United Nations on the ground in that theatre, and left the Canadian Forces, spending the next 16 years serving on missions, mainly in Africa and in Iraq, and fulfilling important roles in the Headquarters in New York. He separated from the UN in 2010 after a worklife of significant, selfless contribution. John was of a curious intellect; a bright and incisive thinker who had a way of finding common ground to solve issues and problems; and possessed of energy and enthusiasm against all odds. Interment has taken place in Brockville, Ontario. A memorial gathering will be held later in the spring in Ottawa.

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