A model for all Miramichiers

Posted on July 8, 2007
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One of my heroes died last week. Jack Estey died on July 4. He was 85 years old.

All of us struggle to keep our lives in balance. We want to devote the proper share of our time to career, family and friends, spiritual development, health, community and fun. I never met anyone who seemed to manage that any better than Jack.

After graduation from high school in Fredericton in 1939, he joined the Royal Bank of Canada for a year before joining the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940. He served as a navigator, mentioned in dispatches, in WW II from 1940 to 1945.

He had a brilliant career in business rising to Executive Vice President of National Sea Products Ltd., while, at the same time becoming the president and owner of A & R Loggie Ltd., with extensive properties and interests up coastal New Brunswick.

A strong believer in enjoying life, he semi-retired to Loggieville at the age of 50. He still did more business in his spare time than most of us do in our lives. Just one of his ventures was to create and head, in 1975, the company that successfully brought cable television to the Miramichi.

He was tireless in his community service and his recreation. He was a kingpin at the Miramichi Golf & Country Club, leading the expansion of the facility from a conservative, old boys, 9-hole course to a dynamic 18-hole course where he drove the first ball in 1981. He sponsored his own golf tournament at the club.

His charity and leadership were at work everywhere from his church and community hall and water system in Loggieville to hospitals across the Maritimes and as a founding member of the Miramichi Regional Hospital Foundation. Several of his donations were for $100,000 including one to the Loggieville Centennial Park Senior Citizens Home.

The list of national, regional and local boards and councils he sat on ranges from the national Economic Council of Canada and president of the Fisheries Council of Canada to president of the Chatham Curling Club.

He scored a hole in one at the local golf club, and caught a 567 lb. tuna in Conception Bay, Newfoundland. He spent 10 days at a fisheries conference in Moscow, was all over the U.S., Caribbean and Europe on business and pleasure and spent winters in his Florida home for years.

He was a member of the Chatham Branch #3 Royal Canadian Legion with over 69 years of Legion membership. He was a past president of 252 Wing of the RCAF Association in Fredericton and long-time member of the 254 Wing in Chatham.

Every New Years Day and every Remembrance Day saw him among a group the included the commanding officer of CFB Chatham, Wilf Gorman, Vince Mitchell and George Whitty, among others, who visited the Legion, Wing and base before winding up playing cribbage at the Wing.

The list of his activities the family has only goes to 1985.

He never stopped. He was a founding member of the Miramichi Regional Hospital Foundation board, heading the committee to monitor the million dollar plus endowment investment portfolio passed on from the Friends of Miramichi Hospital.

With all of that, he always seemed to have time for anyone and everyone he met. At his funeral at Knox United Church in Loggieville, Rev. David Cleveland described him as a courtly gentleman.

He was certainly that. Along with successful, intelligent and generous, one of the most common ways people described him last week was as “down to earth.” He had a way of making anyone he spoke to feel comfortable and significant. He was also always witty.

When his daughter Carol and her husband John teased him that their house had a better view than his, he said, “Well of course it does! It has a view of my property. I spent 30 years making it a great view.”

His family and extended family have an unending list of his kindness, helpful advice and fun of their time with him. From Pass the Ace to snooker, games with him were always accompanied by laughter.

He was successful. He knew how to enjoy life. He was a model community citizen, He was constantly generous. He was a wonderful family man and friend. He was always a gentleman.

So, he was my hero and will remain an inspiration. Would that I could be a fraction of the model he was and is. If you are lucky, he is among your heroes and models too.

— David Cadogan

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