Jack Charles, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
GAY PHILANTHROPIST, ATHEIST, ENVIRONMENTALIST, SOCIALIST,
1ST NATIONS AND ANIMAL RIGHTS SUPPORTER
Jack was conceived at his grandmother’s Haliburton, Ont. cottage on the Thanksgiving weekend of 1927 the only place where his unacknowledged lesbian mother and father retired to the bedroom at the same time. Born in Toronto in June 1928 he died on Salt Spring Island, B.C. on Nov. 14, 2015. He was predeceased by both parents in 1979 and his sister in 2004.
Jack graduated from Honour Biology at U.of T. with 1st class honours in 1952, obtained his M.A. in stream studies in 1954 and his Biology Specialist teaching certificate the same year. He taught in a grammar school in London, England, in high schools in Toronto and Montreal. While a Teaching Master at the Ontario Science Centre he completed and obtained his Ph.D. in Zoology from U.of T. in 1974. He concluded his teaching career in a Community College in Lindsay, Ontario.
Reportedly “saved” at Eglinton Baptist Tabernacle in Toronto at age 14, by age 20 in university he was enlightened and became a life-long atheist. Jack was well into his 20s when he finally accepted being gay. Since his mother, his father’s younger brother and two Hallam cousins were gay he was convinced of a strong genetic component in his being physically attracted to his own gender,
In Ontario he had a part-time antique business, a pet shop in Toronto, and in 1991 on Salt Spring Island he had a small art gallery, a B&B for several years then a succession of tenants.
He would like to be remembered as a caring and compassionate gay man who always felt sympathy for minorities and the disadvantaged. At university he helped organize a petition against racism. On Salt Spring Island he spent many hours working on two petitions seeking clemency for Robert Latimer, the loving father who ended the incredible suffering of his daughter Tracy. He was a supporter of Omar Khadr.
In mid 2006 he received a substantial bequest from his sister and was able to indulge his philanthropy. Later that year he gave over $10,000 to “Positively Africa” an organization established by two islanders. That was the year he donated more than the minimum to establish a named fund at Salt Spring Island Foundation, the “Jack Hallam on behalf of GLOSSI (gays and lesbians of S.S.I.) In 2007, through the Lambda Foundation, he provided funds for two annual Human Rights awards for grade 12 students at Gulf Islands S.S. In 2008 his endowment at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay was for two entrance bursaries for needy 1st nation students. In 2009 his largest endowment $100,000, was for graduate and undergraduate scholarships in the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at his alma mater, University College in U.of T. In September 2010 he endowed two Animal Rights awards in the Sociology Department of Brock University.
Jack was an ardent animal lover. Over his whole life he had six dogs and 17 cats. On his Salt Spring hobby farm he had a nuclear family (midwife to one) of donkeys (now at the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada south of Guelph), two pigs, one potbellied and a number of pygmy goats. Jacks’ last dog Blaze a Lab/great Dane cross was the “love of his life” incredibly intelligent and affectionate. She was euthanized with Snugger, one of his part Siamese cats in Dec. 2008. Bart, Snugger’s half brother, Jack’s last companion animal, was euthanized at age 19 in December 2011.
Several years after arriving in B.C. in 1990, Jack was a founding member of GLOSSI, gays and lesbians of Salt Spring Island. He was on its executive for three years, a co-grand marshall for its second Pride Parade in 2008 and again in 2009.
Jack leaves behind his cousin Rick Hallam and partner Mike Mitchener, gay activist friends Gerald Hannon and Edward Jackson, animal and human rights activist Norman Taylor all in Toronto. On S.S.I. Jack will be remembered by his many Glossi friends Gordon and husband George, Scott and partner Bruce, Caffyn and Melanie and James as well as dear friend Zelly Taylor.
Jack directed that his ashes, mixed with those of Blaze and three of his cats, Snoopy, Snugger and Bart be scattered within the 19 Cusheon Creek acres that his and hundreds of other’s donations to The Land Conservancy, helped save from development. Jack would like his favorite charities to be known: Amnesty International, Oxfam, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Stephen Lewis Foundation, UNHCR, UNICEF, Egale, Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, World Animal Protection, The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, Zoocheck, David Suzuki Foundation and Ecojustice. In July 2011 he became a member of the Farewell Foundation for the right to Die. He was also a member of Dying With Dignity and looked forward to their possible support in providing information for his final exit. He supported a number of Salt Spring organizations. In addition to the Salt Spring Island Foundation, the Island Wildlife Natural Care Centre, ArtSpring, S.S. Library Foundation, SWOVA, Senior Services Society, the Japanese Garden Society and the Salt Spring Forum.