John Trahey



 

John Trahey was a faithful member of the Newfoundland Club of California. He would show up for the parties even though he was ailing. He was know for his homemade mustard pickles, sweet demeanor and knowledge of Newfoundland.

His mother passed away when he was a youngster and Mt. Cashel was his home until his sister finished rearing him. John lost his only son when the boy was a teenager. His daughter Elizabeth was his pride and joy as well. She will make John a grandpa soon.

Santa Monica was his home for 43 yrs, he told us he missed the sea so much. We all miss him terribly. Rest in peace John.

— Your fellow Newfoundlanders from the club.


John Trahey - A Tribute

17 July 2004

My first contact with John Trahey, after forty five years, was when, on the 3rd February 2003, he sent me an mail enquiring about my book, Before It's Too Late, B4its2l8 : A Sailor's Life 1920-2001. I didn't recognize the name nor the Email address, however having replied to say that I would welcome further contact, it wasn't more than a day later when the phone rang.

A strong voice, with an undeniable Newfoundland accent , said, "It's me John Trahey. Do you remember me? I was in charge of the motor cutter when you were the Captain of Sioux.

Well, there had been previous contacts regarding my book but none as startling and fascinating as this one. Whereas I had to admit that I didn't remember him as a member of the ships company, I most certainly recalled the efficient operation of our motor cutter.

This was the beginning of a new and cherished friendship. I learned first that he was not in Newfie but living in Santa Monica, California. He had been there with his family for many years and had been the Chief Engineer for as an Environmental Systems Management and Engineering company until his retirement in 1993. Also, I learned that he had been in declining health with a lung disease requiring him to be on both medication and oxygen to assist his breathing.

I admired his unquenchable spirit and sense of humour so typical of Newfoundlanders. Always cheerful, he regaled me with his stories of going to Las Vegas to play his favourite craps. I, in turn, recalled our time in Sioux—a very happy and efficient ship—and spoke of my family as he did of his, always with love and respect.

We pledged to keep in touch with one another, and so over the many months until today, I have phoned every couple of weeks to see how he was getting along to give him an update on our activities here in Sidney on Vancouver island. He too, would call to tell me and my wife Helen of his latest turn of events. In recent weeks he told me of his last and final visit to Vegas, where in a fifteen minute run he came away with a $1,000. This was a source of great and enjoyment and satisfaction, he surmounting the great difficulties of getting there and returning home.

After his last setback and rush to hospital he, to the continuing amazement of the medical profession, bounced back, as I could well attest when he phoned to tell me.

Now, in spite of his courage and strength of will his dear daughter Elizabeth informed me today that her dad is home again and under hospice care.

When the time comes, he will pass on into the loving arms of angels, peacefully and without pain. Although we never met face to face, we had formed a friendship bond that was warm, strong, enduring and with abiding mutual respect. We were sailors in the same ship and it meant everything to both of us.

Good night John, my friend. God speed you with his blessings.

Peter Chance
Commander RCN
Commanding Officer, HMCS Sioux, 1987/88


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