In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar


Lester Vernon Shatford


Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class, RCN


Born: 04 Dec 1930, Halifax, Nova Scotia


Died: 11 Dec 2023, Halifax, Nova Scotia


SHATFORD, Lester Vernon - our beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away on December 11th, at Camp Hill Veterans Memorial Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Our family has come to the realization that it was Dad's wish to be reunited with his wife, Marion, whose journey came to an end just recently, on October 28th. As a family friend so aptly stated, "Sometimes there's beauty in sadness."


Lester was born on December 4th, 1930, in Halifax. Although he had close ties to the Hubbards area, he and his siblings grew up on a farm in Bible Hill, just outside of Truro.


He, his brother, and two sisters developed a strong work ethic via their farm chores. This experience led to later career success for the four of them. Dad spent his spare time hunting, playing hockey and making lifelong Truro friends.


Dad's curiosity and desire to travel saw him join the Royal Canadian Navy, in 1949. During training in Cornwallis, Dad realized he could join a Forces hockey team. He made countless lifelong friends through Armed Forces hockey. At age 79, he and a Navy group dubbed the 'Ancient Mariners', still played hockey 3 times a week! After Cornwallis boot camp, he honed his craft as an aviation technician, both at the Shearwater base and on various sea deployments, more notably on Canada's last aircraft carrier, the HMCS Bonaventure. Dad eventually retired as a Master Warrant Officer, in 1976, as senior supervisor of maintenance and research at CFB Shearwater. Dad parlayed his excellent Forces background and training into a second career as a machinist, at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, where he worked closely with marine scientists, to fabricate offshore sonar buoys.


While stationed at CFB Shearwater, he met the love of his life, Marion, who also worked on the base. During the early 1950's, they spent many weekends touring around on his Norton Twin 500 motorcycle. They married in June of 1953, and proceeded to raise six children in the family home at Ross Road, albeit with one interesting career turn:  In 1953, three months after marriage, Dad and Mom decided to veer off to Toronto, where Dad took a job working on the Avro Arrow supersonic jet project. While in Toronto, he sadly developed a liking for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and remained a lifelong (and suffering) fan! He always liked to bet $5 with one of his sons, each time Toronto played the Habs. A lot of 'fivers' ceremoniously exchanged hands over the decades!


Along with his father-in-law, John Holland, and good Navy buddy Al Guatto, Dad built and completed the family home in 1958. Once the landscaping started to unfold, Dad's farm roots took over. Our small backyard ski hill was eventually transformed into a lush garden, but not without years of hard work. Dad's mechanical ingenuity created a tractor and tiller that had 6 forward gears and 3 reverse! Lots of torque - no speed necessary! This meant he was able to teach one of his young granddaughters how to operate the tractor, so he could move on to the next garden duty!


Both he and Mom took great pride and passion in producing lush vegetables that fed both the family (and the neighbourhood!) year after year!


During the early family years, extra money was scarce. When it came to design or invention, Dad's immense talents were evident. Out of necessity, he designed and fabricated toys and gifts, including handcrafted wooden machine guns, to Barbie wardrobe cabinets, to handmade furniture. This was in between fixing our dilapidated cars (both body work and the engines). His ability to build, innovate and repair was unparalleled!


In 1962, Dad saw a need to reward the local pond hockey players with an organized team environment With Dad's efforts and liaisons with other local communities, the Cole Harbour-Bel Ayr Minor Hockey Association was formed. Cole Harbour became part of the Shearwater and District Minor hockey group. This coincided with the opening of the Shearwater Rink in 1963. Dad coached and mentored many players from 1963-1975.


He was recognized for his outstanding leadership and dedication to Cole Harbour Minor Hockey.


Unfortunately, in the early 60's, no competent skate sharpeners were available for the many newly-formed local teams. Out of necessity, comes invention. Dad designed and built not one, but three skate sharpeners! One for regular skates, one for figure skaters, and one for goalies. From 1965 to 2010, literally thousands of people had their skates done by a true expert. You always left with an extra "edge" before your game began!


Dad always enjoyed exchanging hockey stories, no matter where or what level you played.


During the summer, when it finally came time to rest and enjoy themselves, both Dad and Mom always cherished the backyard barbecues, bonfires and corn boils. He particularly enjoyed playing the guitar and singing with his family and friends. His famous line was, "Who's more fun than people?" We didn't quite get that but now we do.


Lester is survived by his sons Jim (Kathy Armstrong); Glen (Candace); daughters Carla Burns (Kevin); Brenda (Gary Le Bouthillier); Tracey Williams (Steve). Grandchildren Dawn McKenzie (Scott); Melanie Sparks (Richard); Carl (fiance Ryan Quinn); Leland and Carling; Rachel Arnott (George); Patrick and Brittany; great grandchildren Matthew, Emily, Maddison, Abigail, Julianne, Ainslie, Isaac and Quinn. Lester was predeceased by his wife, Marion Jean; daughter Susan; his parents, Lester Vernon and Rose (Cook); his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Sally and John Holland. Siblings - brother Earl (Laura), sisters Lucille (Vernon Westhaver), Lorraine and Violet (Don Orton).


The family truly appreciates the care and compassion that Dad received while at Camp Hill. As per Lester's wishes, there will be no visitation. A private, family graveside service will be held at a later date. If you are so inclined, please donate in Dad's memory, to his favourite charity, War Amps Canada.


Ships served in:





Lester Shatford


Quonset Point, Rhode Island with Firefly in the background - 1949





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