Harry Nixon passed away on June 5, 2022. He is survived by his son Blair (Kim), and daughters Wendy (Grant Abbott) and Barbara (James Smith), and eight grandchildren (David, Robert, and Jill Nixon; Colin and Michael Abbott; Bond, Taylor, and Hunter Nixon-Smith). Harry was predeceased by his wife, Hazel, in 2017.
Harry joined the Canadian army during World War II at the age of 17.
After the end of the war, he attended business college and subsequently joined the RCMP in 1950. After being posted to Nova Scotia for a brief period, he was transferred to “G” Division in February 1952. At that time, “G” Division encompassed the Yukon and Northwest Territories (including what is now Nunavut).
He met and married Hazel in Whitehorse, Yukon in 1955. She traversed the north with Harry as he was transferred throughout the territories.
During most of the next 31 years, he was stationed in various places in the north including Whitehorse, Yukon; Iqaluit, Nunavut; and Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. While he had short postings in Edmonton and Ottawa, he always migrated to the north when the opportunity arose.
During his years in Fort Smith, he traveled constantly throughout the north. At that time, he was the Officer Commanding of an area that included the lower McKenzie District, all of the Keewatin District and part of the Franklin District. This posting was in the 1960s and early 1970s, which was a time of great transition in the north as it shifted from dog team travel to snow mobiles and other forms of mechanized transportation.
In 1974, “G” Division was split. The Yukon was designated “M” Division. Harry returned to the Yukon for the third time to become the first Commanding Officer of “M” Division, a position he held until his retirement in 1983. During his tenure in the Yukon, he strived to develop working relationships between the RCMP and communities, other government branches, and Alaskan law enforcers.
The retirement event for Harry in Whitehorse in 1983 was attended by friends and colleagues from across the north, including guests from the Alaska State Troopers, the FBI, Officers of the Canadian military, RCMP members from across “G” Division, and Yukon First Nation friends. This event became so large that the organizers had to hold it in an aircraft hangar at the airport in Whitehorse.
After his retirement in 1983, Harry focused on family, fishing, travel, and reading. He enjoyed taking his children and grandchildren fishing.
While they retired to Vancouver Island, they returned to the north on a regular basis because of long standing friends and family (particularly the grandchildren). He and his wife, Hazel, also traveled to Europe, New Zealand, and Australia.
Harry was also involved with other activities during retirement. He was the first president of the Union Bay Historical Society on Vancouver Island, and one of the key players in the designation of two National Historical Buildings in that community. He was an active member of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons for over 30 years and a long-time member of Rotary International and the Canadian Legion.
Harry suffered a couple of strokes. He needed care during the last few years of his life. The family is grateful for the excellent care he had at home, especially that provided by Tessie Lupadit.
A Celebration of Life will take place in the summer on Vancouver Island. His ashes will be interred in Regina, Saskatchewan at the RCMP Depot facility.
If anyone wishes to make a donation in Harry’s memory, please consider your local Foodbank.
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