John Dick – former Seigneur of St John – dies aged 85

John Dick Picture: ROB CURRIE. (36962119)

THE former Seigneur of St John and the Island’s Honorary Consul to Rwanda, John Dick, has died in California aged 85, surrounded by his loved ones.

Canada-born Mr Dick moved to Jersey in the early 1980s and called St John’s Manor his home until 2020.

He would often open the manor’s gardens, which raised thousands of pounds for good causes.

The manor was also home to an extensive collection of cars which Mr Dick would warmly display to enthusiasts and the public.

Mr Dick had over 50 years of experience as a founder, director and chairman of public and private companies globally in a variety of industries and business areas, including real estate, automotive, manufacturing, telecommunications, mining and oil exploration, and international shipping.

As part of his charitable work, Mr Dick spent 12 years as a board member of Youth for Christ International, an international faith-based organisation headquartered in Singapore, ministering to high school teenagers in over 100 countries, including the USA and Canada.

Since the early 2000s, Mr Dick was heavily involved with helping to rebuild the post-war infrastructure in Rwanda. His work included initiatives to help with medical and hospital services, dairy production, and educational programmes.

He received the National Order of Outstanding Friendship from President Paul Kagame, and was appointed Rwanda’s Ambassador at Large.

In 2004, Mr Dick arranged for Mr Kagame, who remains President of the Central African state, to visit the Island, which began an enduring relationship between the country and Jersey’s most famous export, its hardy and productive breed of cow.

Mr Dick also served as a director of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Programme, a joint venture with the University of California Veterinary School that operates an extensive programme caring for the health and welfare of gorillas in the mountain region connecting Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo.

In later life, Mr Dick became embroiled in a legal dispute with his daughter, Tanya, and her husband over the alleged theft of family trusts, a claim he vigorously disputed.

Mr Dick was born on 9 January 1938 in Kitchener, Ontario, into the Mennonite faith.

He graduated from Wheaton College, Illinois, with degrees in Political Science and Economics, the University of Toronto School of Law and Osgoode Hall Law School.

Long-standing family friend Arlene Maltman told the JEP: “I saw John last when he visited the Island in August.

“My mum and I enjoyed his enduring humour, sharp wit and his take on life over lunch at St Brelade’s Bay Hotel.

“His son, John Jr, called me a few days ago to say he had passed away on 30 October at his home in Newport Beach, California.”

She added: “He was a very spiritual man and a devout believer. Many will fondly remember his charitable open garden when he opened the glorious grounds of the Manor, which he had lovingly tendered, to all.

“There was never a dull moment with John; he truly was one of the most uplifting, interesting and positive men I have known.

“He captivated all who spent time with him and my thoughts are with Tanya and the whole family at this time.”

Mr Dick is survived by his wife, Mickey LaBarthe Dick, and leaves behind a large family, including grandchildren, to whom the JEP extends its sympathy.

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