Canada's last known Veteran of the First World War, John "Jack" Babcock, passed away on February 18, 2010, and Minister of Veterans Affairs, The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, said, "As the Prime Minister noted, the passing of Mr. Babcock marks the end of an era."
Minister Blackburn went on to say, "We as a country feel a tremendous sense of loss with the passing of our last known First World War Veteran, but we are committed to remembering the sacrifices of all those who served in the Great War."
On April 9, 2010, a national commemorative ceremony, “End of an Era,” will be held to honour all of Canada’s First World War service men and women.
In the early 1930s, Babcock moved to Spokane, Washington, where he operated a heating business for 26 years. Babcock became a naturalized U.S. citizen when he was 46 years old, and didn’t earn his high school diploma until he was 95.
Well wishes for his 109th birthday in July 2009, were sent from Queen Elizabeth II, and the guest list included the Canadian consul from Seattle.
Babcock is survived by Dorothy, his second wife, and other survivors include his son, Jack Babcock Jr., of Spokane; a daughter, Sandra Strong, of Hamilton, Mont., stepsons Eric and Mark Farden, 16 grandchildren, and numerous great-grandchildren.
A private memorial service was held in Spokane, WA, and you are invited to pay your respects to Mr. Babcock and family in a virtual book of condolences provided by Veterans Affairs Canada. Together, we will remember the sacrifices of Canada's Veterans and their fallen comrades.
With Babcock’s passing, Frank Woodruff Buckles, 109, of West Virginia, is believed to be the only surviving North American First World War veteran.