Suffered Seizure at his Home in Toronto Tuesday Afternoon - Came to Grimsby in 1923 to Become a Member of the Old Champion Peach Kings.
With a suddenness that startled the whole town of Grimsby and the Township of North Grimsby came the news late on Tuesday afternoon of the death at his home in Toronto of John Ritchie McVicar, better known to thousands of people throughout Ontario as Jack or "Old Pop".
As a hockey player, as a businessman, as a citizen in private life, Jack McVicar could have been equalled, but never bettered. He was a gentleman in whatever strata of life you met him. He loved his family and his home; he loved meeting people, and, above all, he was loyal to the firms that employed him.
I well remember the stormy Sunday night in the middle of March, 1923, that Jack landed in Grimsby. At that time what was to become the famous Peach King hockey club was in the state of formation. He was our first arrival. Others followed. He was a fair kind of a ball player, too, and played with the local team. It was not long before he had adopted Grimsby and Grimsby people had adopted him. So much that this writer took him under his wing. He always called me "The Lad", although I was a lot older that he, hence the "Old Pop".
"Pop" was born in Renfrew on June 4, 1903, and educated in the schools of that town. Early in his high school life he showed great promise as a hockey player and as a result was picked up and taken to Iroquois Falls to play junior hockey on the team sponsored by that town when they were a mighty power in the hockey firmament of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association.
He played with that team for two seasons and in both sessions they were in the finals for the Memorial Cup but just couldn't land on top. He then went to North Bay Trappers on the junior team which they had organized and once again was in the Memorial Cup playoffs but just didn't win out. It was during that winter (1923) that the Peach King executive was on the look-out for young hockey players and the late Lou Marsh recommended "Pop" to us. In Lou's own words: "You'll not only get a great hockey player but you'll get a gentleman and that is what you people are looking for". Lou Marsh didn't make a mistake and neither did the hockey club executive.
In the winter of 1924 the Kings didn't do so good. But "Old Pop" did. He proved to the public that he was a battling hockey player and yet a gentleman on and off the ice.
Then came the winter of 1925. A few minor changes were made in the team and everybody knows the history of that winter. The uncalled-for abuse that "Pop" took that winter was terrible, but he took it, for his theory was "I am playing for the Peach Kings. I have the will to win. My team has the will to win. We are going to win and at the same time keep within the regulations of the OHA". What a will! What a heart!
"Pop" carried that same will and same heart into the professional ranks. First with the late Eddie Livingston and the Chicago Cardinals, the first pro hockey team in Chicago; then Quebec; then Providence, and from there to Montreal Maroons, where he played for three seasons on defence with such men as the Three "S" Line in front of him - Smith, Stewart and Seibert. Then back to Providence once again before hanging up his gear.
For four of those professional hockey years he was an employee in the summer months of the VanDyke Sightseeing, Limited, of Niagara Falls and Buffalo, acting as their Canadian manager. He was just as conscientious on that job as he was playing hockey.
During later years he became a salesman for National Breweries of Montreal and then became a supervisor, and for the past two years had been Assistant Sales Manager for the Province of Ontario.
As a hockey player, as a coach, as a private citizen, no man could have done more for the town that he adopted than "Old Pop" McVicar did. He was a member of the Grimsby Lions Club and an adherent of Trinity United Church.
In June of 1925 the nuptial knot was tied which made Dorothy Norton, youngest daughter of Edwin and Mary Norton, his partner for life. To that union were born two lovely daughters, Mrs. Thos. (Margaret) Prestney, Hamilton, and Shirley, at home. Also surviving are two grandchildren; his father, Jack McVicar, of Renfrew; two brothers, Wallace and Stewart, of Renfrew; and two sisters, Mrs. F. Snow, Detroit, Mich., and Mrs. H. Baker, Southampton, England.
The remains are resting at the Stonehouse Funeral Home where services will be conducted on Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Interment will be made in Queen's Lawn Cemetery, Grimsby.
Grimsby Independent 28 Feb 1952: Final rites for the late John Ritchie McVicar were conducted by Rev. R.K. Lemkay of Trinity United Church at the Stonehouse Funeral Home and graveside on Friday afternoon last.
The obsequies were attended by a very large gathering of friends and business associates, many of the business associates coming from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and many other points.
The great profusion of floral tributes attested to the high esteem in which the deceased was held by all with whom he came in contact.
Interment was made in Queen's Lawn Cemetery, Grimsby. Casket bearers were Messrs. Gerald Carson, Earl J. Marsh, T. Herbert Jarvis, Archie M. Alton, William Hewson and Edward Rex, of St. Catharines.