GORE BAY—Jack Whyte was an iconic local artist from Gore Bay; he was also a friend, father and mentor to many. His art, which was a gift to the world, and the love of creation that he passed on to others will continue to brighten our hearts and homes now that he is gone.
Jack’s first acquaintance with Manitoulin was in the 1940s during a family trip to Northern Ontario from their home in Toronto. He spent his summer vacation absorbing everything he could learn about the outdoors and formed a kinship with Manitoulin Island that lasted his lifetime.
Jack made regular visits to the Island throughout his childhood and, during the 1950s, his family purchased property in Gore Bay—that became their home decades later.
In his adult years, Jack’s trips to Manitoulin followed the tide of available employment; meanwhile, he sketched and created works that captured his surroundings including family homes, farms, businesses and the natural beauty on Lake Huron. Later in the 1960s he returned to Manitoulin and settled in Gore Bay on his parents’ property where he built his life-long home.
Although Jack was well-known by trade for his paintings and paper collages, he was also skilled in several other practices including gardening, writing, photography and stained glass. For him, art wasn’t just a line or brush stroke, it was a way of living.
Through his work, Jack enriched many lives and contributed to the preservation of Northern Ontario heritage by capturing the natural beauty of rural areas as well as the character and essence of being part of a small community.
Jack always created with what he had and through his practice he became an expression of how the world affects us and, in turn, how we affect it. His legacy will forever be that of an artist and teacher as well.
Jack Whyte lived into his 80th year and passed peacefully with his family by his side on Tuesday, November 13 at the Manitoulin Health Centre in Mindemoya. At his request, cremation has taken place and no service will be held. A celebration of life for family and friends will take place at a later date.
Jack and his family would like to thank everyone involved in his care including the Gore Bay Medical Centre, Home and Community Care, the Manitoulin Lodge and Manitoulin Health Centres for their support during his time of need.
Charitable donations in memory of Jack Whyte may be made to the local non-profit Manitoulin Conservatory for Creation and Performance (MCCP), through the Simpson Funeral Home in Gore Bay or online at www.simpsonfuneralhome.ca