John passed away on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 3:22 a.m. at home, surrounded by his family. He was born in Welland, ON, in 1947 and was the son of the late John and Helen (nee Gondek) Kopinak, with his life ending in Chatham-Kent in his beloved community of Mitchell’s Bay.
John was married to his wife Beverley (nee Taylor), the love of his life for fifty years. He is survived by his children, son John Kopinak (Karri) of Wheatley, ON and daughter Kelly Calvert (Tyler) of Calgary, Alberta. He was the proud grandfather to Emma, Erin and Allison Kopinak, his beautiful granddaughters.
His career began in 1968 with the Port Colborne Police*. Progressing through the ranks, he was a member of the Niagara Regional Police force; worked for the Solicitor General department; spent tenure with the Canadian Police College and graduated from the FBI Academy in Quantico. After leaving the government sector he was the Deputy Police Chief for CP Rail, and then retired in 1998. Three months into retirement John was recruited as the new amalgamated Chief of Police for Chatham-Kent, ON.
After five years as Chief, John retired and accepted a position on the tri-board Hospital and Children’s services board. He taught at St. Clair College and also was the head of corporate security for Union Gas in Chatham-Kent. John was a member of CACP and OACP alumni and FBI alumnus. His exemplary career was a true testament to the dedication and professionalism he brought to his community.
John loved the game of hockey and was the owner of the Port Colborne Sailors Hockey franchise for many years. He also had the distinction as the Chair of the Board and member of the Ontario Hockey Association. Implementing and instituting various new progressive on and off the ice programs that bettered the game today.
In his final years, John was an avid fisherman, a pastime he loved. He will be missed by his good friends of the Dover Rod and Gun Club and the Mitchell’s Bay coffee crew. Liver and pancreatic cancer took his life quickly, though he dies comforted by the knowledge that his values and traditions will be carried on through his children and grandchildren. He will be remembered always as Chief, a title which gave him so much pride.
The family will receive friends at the Funeral Home, 459 St. Clair Street, Chatham, ON, on Thursday, August 30, 2018 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m.
The Funeral Mass will take place at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 180 Wellington Street West, Chatham, ON, on Friday, August 31, 2018 at 1:30 p.m., with Fr. Don Pomputis, Celebrant. Reception to follow at Links of Kent, 120 Indian Creek Rd. W, Chatham.
Cremation to take place with interment at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, he wished for donations to the Chatham-Kent Children’s Safety Village.
Online condolences may be left at http://www.mckinlayfuneralhome.com
McKinlay Funeral Home, 459 St. Clair Street, Chatham, 519-351-2040
*Click here for a photo of of John when he belonged to the Pt. Colborne Police (1969)