For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project


In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar


John Boyd Matchett


Lieutenant-Commander, O-47070, RCN(R)


Born: 19 Jun 1923, Hamilton, Ontario


Died: 27 Apr 2020, Tucson, Arizona


MATCHETT, John Boyd - Sadly, John Boyd Matchett died peacefully in bed at 96 years old in Tucson, Arizona on Monday, April 27, 2020, with Rose, his dear wife of 66 years sitting by his side. Born June 19, 1923, in Hamilton, Ontario, he lived a long and varied life with a unique determination. Boyd was a gentleman of impeccable character who met the challenges of his times with grace and fortitude. He grew up in Moore Park, Toronto, during the depression, the son of Lloyd Leroy Matchett and Marian Kathleen (Boyd); his sisters, Margaret Wold (Ragnar), Elizabeth McClelland (Jack) all predeceased. During Boyd's school years, he excelled in sports and academics becoming Head Boy, School Captain, and Colonel of the Cadet Corps at UTS (University of Toronto Schools) graduating in 1942 with two scholarships. As the war raged he was quickly accepted at 18 into the Royal Canadian Navy becoming an officer in short order. Trained at King's College, Dalhousie University, in Halifax as a specialist in sonar and depth charges, at just 20 years old, Boyd was assigned to the Corvette Kenagami which assisted a flotilla escort of merchant ships across the Atlantic. Initially as a midshipman, he was promoted to lieutenant commander over his three and a half years at war, serving on numerous ships including the frigate Kokanee and river-class destroyer Chaudière. Post-war, Boyd completed his education at the University of Toronto and London School of Economics. Securing employment with Massey-Harris, the agricultural tractor company, he soon moved to Paris, France in August, 1948, as District Manager of the West-Central Loire area to Nantes and the coast. Having little French at the time, he recalled the difficulty of his first year, but in his tenacious way became fluent, learning to both read and write, immersing himself in the French culture. Before he left for Europe, he signed up that summer as a charter member with the fledgling Osler Bluff Ski Club, though the club didn't open until the following year, 1949, and he didn't ski there until a few years later, where he met his beloved Ottilie Rose (Huycke). Back in Canada for a year, Boyd and Rose were married on the 13th of March, 1954, and lived in The Lonsdale, an apartment building his father had built in Forest Hill. Their children John, Robin, and Rosalie (Richard Miller) were born over the next few years, Robin and Rosalie back in France, where Boyd and Rose lived in Paris then Garches, a western suburb. Returning to Canada in early 1960, Boyd became a consultant with Urwick Currie in Toronto. While there, he was assigned to Cara Operations, a family-owned national food company, and soon made the decision to join it, eventually becoming its CEO. For twenty years, Boyd stewarded the expansion and direction of the company from its mainly national transportation catering in rail and airlines to franchise restaurants. Throughout those years he was active in the Toronto business community as company director to Book & Periodical Acquisitions, Simpark Lands, Cairn Capital Inc., Boots Drug Stores, Sunnybrook Medical Center Institute, Council on Drug Abuse (CODA), Board of Governors of University of Guelph, President of the University Club and for a time sat on the board of OBSC. A member and sometime director of the Badminton & Racquet Club, he pursued his love of squash and tennis. He also belonged to the Royal Automobile Club Pall Mall in London, UK, and later the Ventana Golf & Racquet Club in Tucson, AZ. During the summers, he would spend as much time as possible in Temagami, North Ontario, where his father acquired Island 989 in 1914. Temagami was the lodestone of Boyd's heart since early childhood. He loved the pristine purity of its ancient glacial waters and rugged archipelago of the Canadian Shield. An avid swimmer, and when a tennis court became available on his good friend George Small's island, they formed an informal club. In private, he read ceaselessly, often in French, and liked to discuss world events, culture and history. A canoe enthusiast, he was keen to take his young family on canoe trips, as he had been a camp counselor at Camp Temagami in his youth. Later, he refurbished an authentic indigenous birch bark canoe his father had bought in 1912 before WWI. Throughout the years skiing at Osler he also took his family to numerous ski areas in North America and Europe, and in August of 1971 organized a memorable six-week road trip in France and London. He often travelled to the Caribbean, where he rented villas large enough to accommodate family. Retiring at 61 in 1984, Boyd returned to France and while travelling in the South, he decided with Rose to take on a new challenge by purchasing the 12th century Château de Fontarèches near Uzès, which had ramparts, drawbridge, turrets, forest maze, and even a small vineyard. With their usual resolve, Boyd and Rose spent a year renovating and for twenty years entertaining in their pièce-de-la-résistance. He built a beautiful tennis court, large Romanesque pool complex and waterfall. Anyone who visited them there would never forget the experience. Between Temagami and Fontarèches, Boyd had achieved a lifestyle well-rewarded from many years of hard work. Later, he added a new home in Tucson, Arizona to escape the Canadian winter, where their good friends Howard and Jacqueline Thomas resided. Ultimately, now with numerous grandchildren, Jonathan (Lara Chatterjee), Leo (Emilie Palamides), Jesse (Marta Borges), Katya, Robin Boyd, Anarie Rose, Victor Short (Irene Atimango) and Ottilie Short, and great-grandchildren, Kasper, Ella and Jasper, Boyd prided himself with this great brood and helped generously where he could. As well, there are his nephews from the Norwegian issue of his sister, Margaret: Eric Wold (Bente), Michael (Mary) and David (Elisabeth); and the Canadian clan: nieces from his sister, Elizabeth, the McClellands: Susie Drinkwater, Carol McCabe (Bob), Sarah McClelland (Ron), Annie McClelland (Bay Weyman) and nephew, Rob (Ingrid) and all the grand-nephews and nieces, too many to name. In view of all he had achieved, and ironically a man of simple tastes, Boyd was cut of a strong moral probity. A serious man, he believed in the eternal wisdom of a healthy body and mind, yet he had a funny side, a wry humor that often went unnoticed. Anyone who knew him would be surprised by his knowledge of natural medicine which he subscribed to almost religiously. A leader in ways, back in the sixties, every morning he could be seen jogging, something uncommon at the time; he owned one of the first British Jaguar cars in Canada; his annual trips during the seventies and eighties helicopter skiing in the Bugaboos; open to ideas, he could think outside the box. Politically liberal and fiscally conservative he applied himself diligently to that end. Absolutely, he was his own man, but one who no doubt was transparently honest and tremendously gifted as an enlightened being. He will be sorely missed by all, many of whom are not mentioned here. It gives us joy that such a man was born and lives now with us in spirit. (Globe and Mail 29 May 2020)


Ships served in:

HMCS YORK - Appointed to York 19 Jun 1942 as a Prob SLt, RCNVR (Navy List Sep 1942)

HMCS KENOGAMI - Appointed to Kenogami 24 Jul 1943 (seniority 19 Jun 1942) (Navy List Aug 1943)

HMCS CORNWALLIS - Appointed to Cornwallis, A/S School 03 Apr 1944 as a Lt (a/s), RCNVR (seniority 19 Jun 1943 (Navy List May 1944)

HMCS AVALON - Appointed to Avalon, Staff of Captain (D) as a Lt (a/s), RCNVR (Navy List Jan 1945)

HMCS RUNNYMEDE - Appointed to Runnymede 10 Feb 1945 as a Lt (a/s), RCNVR (Navy List Mar 1945)

HMCS CHAUDIERE - Appointed to Chaudiere as a Lt (a/s), RCNVR (Navy List May 1945)

* Retired List as a Lt, RCN(R) (seniority 19 Jun 1943) (Navy List Apr 1946)

HMCS YORK (Retired List) as a LCdr, RCN(R) (seniority 19 Jun 1951) (Navy List Jul 1952). Last noted on the retired list in he Navy List of Jan 1960 at York as a LCdr, RCN(R) (seniority 74 days)




Crossed the Bar Index