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SPEARIN, Christopher John

1972 – 2019

Chris to the many who knew and loved him – was a “good soldier” in the full and varied sense of the term.

A good soldier, as usage allows, need not necessarily wear a uniform or bear arms. A good soldier, be it in rig or in mufti, earns that accolade by distinguished service to country, community and family, service defined by loyalty, devotion and sound judgment, a quality that at best embraces compassion.

That’s the kind of soldier that Chris Spearin was, in all aspects of his life, and in the eyes of all who knew him.

He was born April 25, 1972, in Windsor, Ont., to Judy (nee Newbold) and George Spearin. He died all too soon at age 47 on September 13, 2019, felled by a relentless cancer. Foremost among those he leaves behind are his mother, his loving wife Kelley and children Abigail, Matthew and Audrey. Also brother Kyle, though not, alas, brother Kevin who predeceased him, as did his father.

He set on a military career from the earliest, first in cadets and then in reserves. He worked his way up through the Windsor detachment of the CFRC reserve corps to officer candidate school to Royal Military College, from where he graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Engineering degree and later, from Canadian Forces College with a Masters in Defence Studies.

His active service career spanned 27 years and four months. In that time he was an airborne Combat Systems Officer with the Royal Canadian Air force, flying in Sea King Helicopters and deployed with Royal Canadian Ships and other units domestically and abroad. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the course of a career that included numerous command distinctions, including service as Exchange Officer with the Royal Navy in Cornwall, U.K., a role in which his sterling professionalism and dedication made him an outstanding ambassador for Canada and the RCAF.

On a lighter side, he was an avid bagpiper who enthusiastically played with the 12 Wing Pipes and Drums, a service that enhanced the regard in which he was held by his comrades in arms.

Beyond his outstanding professional qualities, those he unstintingly displayed in private life made his deeply cherished by family and friends, Humble, caring, gentle, understanding and respectful of women are aspects commonly cited by those who knew him, along with an endearingly quirky sense of humour; to the end he even managed to crack wise about his cruel affliction.

The geographic and spiritual centre of his adult life was the civilian community of Chester, N.S., where he met Kelley , the love of his life, and saw the birth of his children, and where he maintained a home even as duty caused him to uproot to temporary quarters elsewhere. Chris was also an avid sailor.

There’s an old song that holds that “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away. In fact, all soldiers ultimately die, be it old or too young as was the case with our Chris. But good soldiers, as Chris was in exemplary fashion in all aspects of his life, do not just fade away in short order. He will vibrantly live in the memory of those who knew him for the exemplary being he was; in that of his friends and brothers in uniform.

And above all of his family and especially of his children. And hopefully their children, will be imbued with a knowledge and guiding appreciation of the qualities that made him an all-around good soldier. These further include parents-in-law Robyn McNicoll (Hubert Bauch) and Ronald Gratton (Patricia Pipon); sisters-in-law Paulette and Danielle; nephews Ryan, Aaron and Jack, and niece Molly. Also brother-in-law Tyler (Hillary Duncan and daughter Eleonore). Beyond that, many aunts, uncles, cousins and other in-laws.

Through them his wonderful spirit will live on as they recall him for the caring, loving and accomplished man he was in all aspects of his life.

Memorial service on

Thursday, October 10th, service at 11am at 423 (MH) Squadron Hangar, 12 Wing Shearwater. With reception to follow at 12pm at the Seaking club at Shearwater

In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Spearin family may be made to :


55 responses to “SPEARIN, Christopher John”

  1. Martin Voyer says:

    My deepest sympathies to all his family and especially his wife and his children. I met a Chris in Toronto on JCSP few years ago. I didn’t know him much but from what I knew, he was a great man, and an excellent officer who what helpful for other. I’m deeply sorry for your loss.

    Martin Voyer

  2. Chris Devita says:

    Chris was a great shipmate and wing man. My deepest condolences.

    Chris Devita

  3. Stephen Cahill says:

    Kelly, Abigail, Matthew, and Audrey, thank you for sharing your husband and dad with us all. Chris was a genuine, kind soul, such a stand up guy. He’s gone way too early but take solice knowing that he’s touched so many lives in his short time and we are all better for it. Hold his memory close. I will always remember the laughs we shared during JCSP, you guys have my deepest condolences. Stand-Easy Chris.

  4. Kirk St. Pierre says:

    Deepest condolences to the family and friends, as well to his CAF family.

  5. Dave Duric says:

    May you Rest In Peace and when looking down upon Kelly and the kids just know they will be taken care of from the many brothers in arms that will be there for them. Say Hi to your Dad and give Kevin a hug for me as the days go by I will never forget you guys!

    Mama Soearin and Kyle as far as I am always there for you too.

  6. Cary Anne Conder says:

    Oh crap! So wholly unexpected! Served with him at 443 Squadron. Fly high, John. You will be sorely missed.

  7. Debby McBride says:

    I worked with Chris’ mom for many years, listening to stories of him and his brothers as they grew. I remember how proud she was when he enlisted and then became a pilot.
    My deepest condolences to everyone in Chris’ life, I am so sad to see this. Gone too young.

  8. Rebekah Orr says:

    My deepest condolences Judy to you and your family. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  9. Christine Salt says:

    What a beautiful tribute. He truly was a gentleman and I’m sure set a wonderful example for his children to emulate as they grow.

    The world needs more people like Chris.

  10. Shelli Weintraub -Vick says:

    Dearest Kelley, we send our sincere condolences to you Kelley and your entire family. We are very sorry for the !oss of your beloved husband and your children’s daddy.

  11. Claire Mulder says:

    My deepest condolences Judy and to your extended family. Sad to see such a great young man taken at such a young age.

  12. Adrian Bent says:

    It was such a lovely day when we came down to Chester with the Cyclone. Im so happy we got to see Chris, for me it was nice to reminisce on all the years since I fist met him at RMC. Chris has left us far too soon and I will remember him.

  13. Gary and Shelly Webster says:

    Our deepest sympathy to the Spearin Family. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.

  14. Kirby and Abby Barker says:

    Our hearts and prayers go out to all the Spearin family. Chris gave us all a lesson in love, sacrifice and courage. May he rest at peace in the arms of angels and may his family find strength in the legacy of love he left behind. God Bless you all.

  15. Chuck Skrok says:

    Chris was a true gentleman who would always greet people with a smile and his positive attitude. I am happy to have known him and I was fortunate enough to work with him on several projects. He made everyday brighter and I was proud to call Chris my friend.

    Chris will never truly leave us, he will always live in our hearts. My condolences. I am truly sorry.

  16. Wayne & Lynn Joy says:

    Our condolences. Chris was an exceptional human being. He will be missed. So sorry for your loss.

  17. Pat and Laurel says:

    So sorry for your loss. It is never easy. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, his family and with all his friends. May he rest in peace.

  18. Rob Warren says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I sailed with Chris quite a few times with 423 MH Sqn. He always had a great outlook on life. Always had a smile , kind words and usually a joke or two to pass onto those around him. I am glad Chris and his family were able to go flying on the cyclone. God Bless.

  19. Carla Sartin says:

    My sincere condolences to you Judy and all the Spearin Family

  20. Steve and Trina Whitehurst says:

    Chris was a great friend that will be truly missed. Condolences to Kelley and the kids as well as to Judy and Kyle.

  21. Pete Saunders says:

    I sat with a heavy heart and blurred vision as I read this most apt and eloquent tribute to one of our finest. Chris lived his life with passion and gusto. He defined all that is good about our Naval Air community and typified that rare combination of professionalism whilst living life to its fullest. We are diminished by his passing yet blessed for our time spent in his company and the lasting impact he has made on us all. Though Chris has joined the Delta, his exuberance and zest for life remains indelibly imprinted in my memory.
    Rest in peace my friend.

  22. Heather and David Mills says:

    Chris you have been a great neighbour and dear beautiful friend. You have touched our lives and enriched them will so very much live vibrantly in our memories. Our hearts are with you Kelly Abigail Matthew Audrey and Robin.
    Rest In Peace

  23. Darren and Donna says:

    Our deepest sympathies go out to the Spearin and family friends! So unfair to lose another amazing young man!

  24. Maureen Hagman says:

    Judy and family, I’m so sorry for your loss. I always enjoyed the stories about Chris and his accomplishments. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.
    Maureen Hagman

  25. Patti Venning says:

    An incredible tribute to an incredible man!
    A man of service to our country.
    A man of loyalty and sound judgement.
    A man of honour.
    A caring, humble, respectful man.
    A man who through unwavering devotion to family and friends displayed the definitive definition of “family” and “friends”
    A man to emulate—-as this truly is the type of human who makes the ones fortunate enough to know him…. better, and thus in turn, makes a community better, a world better.
    And that dear Judy is the wonderful man you and George created, nurtured and inspired with your values.

    Through the grief and unbearable pain you are experiencing I hope you can gain comfort in reading the heartfelt accolades from his comrades and friends. These sincere testimonials show the love they have for “A true gentleman….and a gentle man” I know how proud you are of “your Chris”…and know how proud he was of “his Mother”
    Bob and I send to you our deepest sympathy and love
    Patti Venning and Bob Speroni

  26. Erin & Rebecca O’Toole says:

    Chris was the type of friend you wanted to have. Thoughtful, loyal, fun and honourable in every way. He loved and served his country with great distinction and this was only eclipsed by his profound love and devotion to his family and friends, which makes his passing at a young age even more difficult. We were friends at the RMC but became even closer as Squadron mates and roommates in Halifax. Rebecca and I cherish the fact he piped at our wedding like he did for many friends. I often thought about Chris whenever I heard the skirl of the pipes and that will always be the case henceforth. Our heart goes out to Kelley and the children as well as his family and friend around the world.
    Erin & Rebecca O’Toole

  27. Don Philip says:

    A true solider and a good man. I will miss him…my condolences and sympathy to the Spearin family.

  28. Véronique Brassard Lavoie says:

    My dearest condolences to the family, I will remember your wonderful husband, father, son, brother. I was brother in arms with him in Shearwater and the first thingsthat comes to mind is his positive mindset and smile. So very sorry for your lost

  29. Susan Harte says:

    Sincere condolences to you Judy and to Chris’ wife and children as well as the entire Spearin family and friends. Such sad news.

  30. Mark Amos says:

    Had the privilege of working with Chris in Shearwater and what a pleasure it was. A very professional person with a great sense of humour. I am very shocked to hear of his passing my sincere condolences to the family

  31. Todd Ring says:

    My deepest condolences.Chris was a true gentleman and great colleague.

  32. Russ & Shelley Mino says:

    Judy and the entire Spearin family,
    Please accept our sincerest condolence. So very, very sorry for your loss. Love, hugs and prayers…

  33. Michael E. McShane says:

    Such sad news.
    Such fond memories.
    So long Chris, you will be missed and remembered.

  34. Colin Murray says:

    Thoughts and prayers………heartfelt. We served together. Great guy! My privilege.

  35. Steve Donaldson says:

    My heart is deeply saddened to hear that Chris has crossed the bar to the sea he loved so much. My sincere condolences to his family.

  36. Frank Boschin says:

    Our condolences to the hole family!
    The world lost a true gentleman!
    It was a privilege to know him!

  37. Kelly Marentette says:

    My dearest condolances on your loss. I recall how proud Judy was of Chris when we worked together. My heart goes out to you and the family. This is a terrible end to a distinguished life..thank you for your service Chris may you fill heaven with the sound of the pipes.

  38. Tom and Terrie Nantais says:

    It is with a sadden heart that I read this . I remember the stories of Chris when he was young and when he joined the military . Our sincere sympathy to you Judy and all the family. Our thoughts and our prayers are with you .

  39. Jason Zehr says:

    Incredibly sad news, Chris was an excellent MH warrior and will live on in the memories of those that were fortunate enough to have met him.

  40. B McCallum says:

    ‘Tis maybe an old tire worn cliche for some Judy, but I really do thank Chris for his service to our country for the freedom and lifestyle that I am able to enjoy.
    My brief and minor stint in Cyprus with our troops under UNFICYP sure brought this appreciation to light all the more.

  41. Darin Sweet says:

    I’ll never forget that windless day in Chester. The race was postponed. Both the skippers of Fubar and CorkScrew(Chris and myself) tried to convince our fleet to raft up and enjoy the day. In the end, we had the entire 12 boat fleet lashed together, floating wonderfully in Mahone Bay. God Bless!

    Sir Francis Chichester: “Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk.”

  42. Marilyn Malenfant says:

    Dear Kelley, my condolences to you and your family for this heartbreaking loss. I only met Chris once but he immediately struck me as a kind and gentle soul.

  43. Jennifer Skinner says:

    My heart goes out to you Kyle and your family. I am so sorry for your lost.

  44. Don & Sue Phillips says:

    Oh my God! Please accept our condolences on the loss of Chris, one of the nicest men we ever knew.
    Chris was in our pipe band here in Cornwall when stationed at R.N.A.S Culdrose. Always a great character, tutor and friend. His photograph still hangs on the wall of our home to remind us of happy times gone by.
    He will be sadly missed by all who were privileged to meet him

  45. Rosanna Crognale says:

    What a beautiful tribute- Judy be comforted in knowing that Christopher sharred so much of himself with the world. May he rest in peace.

  46. Pipe Major Dave King says:

    Sorry to hear the sad news today of Chris, he was truly a gentleman, our heart goes out to his Wife and Children he will be sadly missed by us all. Chris was in our Pipe band when stationed at R.N.A.S Culdrose we had lots of good times with him he was a brilliant piper he will never be forgotten. Rest in peace Chris

  47. Roly Morrison says:

    Chris was a valued member of the Shearwater Scuba Club. On behalf of the club I wish to express condolences to his family.

  48. Christine Scott says:

    My deepest sympathies to you, Kelley, and your three young children. I was very saddened to hear of Chris’ illness and passing. Although I never knew you, I knew him and Kyle and Kevin from way back in Windsor when a big group of us used to hang out. So much tragedy on one family in such a short amount of time.
    You and your whole family are in my thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.

  49. Greg Croft says:

    Sorry for your loss, I’ll be praying for you

  50. Carol longard says:

    Kelley and family, so very sorry for your loss.

  51. Judy Zivanov says:

    I worked with Judy and also had an older son and twin boys. We would often sit together and on the phone would be one of the boys asking for Judy or If we said our name, they would start talking to Mom. Invariably we would hand the phone to the other-“wrong Judy”.
    My deepest sympathies to everyone
    Judy Zivanov

  52. Cheryl Baker says:

    Judy and family. My very deepest condolences.

  53. Bernice Schindler says:

    My deepest condolences to Judy and the family. Chris was pure joy. What a pleasure to have known him. We loved his smile, his caring & loving nature.

  54. Keri Kettle says:

    Chris and I piped together for 3 years at RMC. This is just terrible news. My thoughts are with Chris’s family. Rest in Peace. Semper Rectum Bustus.

  55. Sean O'Brien says:

    My experiences with Chris were during those formative years as squadron mates at RMC. He was a fine human being, well suited for anything he put his mind to. Deepest condolences to his family.

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