James Carl Dow

January 13, 1936 - May 14, 2021

Obituary For James Carl Dow

After an extraordinary 85 year adventure filled with love and happiness, James Carl Dow passed away on Friday May 14, 2021 bequeathing family and friends with a rich legacy of fond memories and brighter smiles.

Carl, as he is known to all, was born in 1936 as the youngest of two boys to parents James Dow (1895-1963) and Madeleine Dow (1898-1997). Carl attended high school at St. Michael’s College in Toronto followed by post-secondary studies at Ryerson. During his youth, Carl’s numerous interests in athletic competition created the foundation for his lifelong love of ice hockey, horses, golf, skiing and tennis.

Carl’s hockey career was astonishingly prolific in tenure having played as a youth until shortly after his 84th birthday at which point, he scaled back his playing time to ‘only’ three days per week until the Covid pandemic closed ice rinks forcing him to retire his skates. Throughout his own hockey career, Carl remained a devoted Maple Leafs’ fan blindly optimistic that they would surely win the Stanley Cup each year. Carl also became an avid fan of the Carolina Hurricanes, the hometown team where his daughter Tara and her family have resided for the past 20 years.

In terms of competitive sport, Carl’s passion for hockey was perhaps only superseded by his love for horses. First introduced to equestrian sport through part-time work and competition at the Eglington Pony Club in his teens, Carl went on to work as a riding instructor/counselor at Taylor Statten Camps in Algonquin Park. Carl would later compete with the world’s best at the 1963 Olympic trials for a position on Canada’s 3-day-event team (show jumping, cross-country & dressage), for which he earned a reserve position. It was during this time that Carl forged an enduring bond with his favorite horse “Moonraker”, a bond that would grow during the many years of family fun thereafter as an active member and honorary secretary of the Toronto & North York Hunt Club. Carl also took great pride in his volunteer work with the ring committee of The Royal Winter Fair equestrian competition, often being the ringside voice of CFRB radio with nightly recaps of show jumping competition. A longtime enthusiast of Hollywood westerns and the rugged wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, Carl enjoyed his final horse ride in Montana just 3 years ago traversing stunning mountain trails with family members. And while his own riding career may have ended, he thrived until his final days seeing his daughter and 2 granddaughters share his passion for horses in their own pursuit of equestrian competitions.

Carl’s interest in golf came later in life but, like all of his endeavors, he pursued it with vigor, class and humility. Despite being left-handed with a swing more rooted in baseball mechanics, Carl amassed 3 hole-in-ones and enjoyed a lengthy 25+ year golf career with memberships at Aurora Highlands Golf & CC and The Summit Golf Club. Golf also provided an excellent excuse for numerous travel adventures throughout Canada, the US, Scotland and New Zealand playing many of the world’s most famous golf courses. Carl also eagerly pursued other athletic endeavors including skiing and tennis which provided many of their own excellent memories with amazing friend groups too numerous to mention.

Carl’s professional career began at age 22 with the Prudential Assurance Company of England as a life insurance agent. Armed with optimism, a tireless work ethic and warm demeanor, Carl was quickly recognized for his leadership potential and promoted at just age 29 to be the youngest branch manager tasked with opening the brand new Eglinton Toronto branch for Prudential Assurance. During his 43 years with Prudential Assurance and its subsequent namesakes (Mutual Group, Clarica and SunLife), Carl went on to attain numerous leadership awards and positions including: “Manager of the Year Award’, ‘President of Toronto Life Underwriters Association’, ‘Chairman of the Ontario Sales Congress’, and ‘Chairman of Ontario Manager’s Congress’, among others. Carl was equally active and generous with his time in volunteer leadership positions including: past President, Chairman & Director with the Canadian Cancer Society (Metro Toronto and Ontario division), past Director for Scarborough General Hospital Foundation Board, past Chairman of the Don Mills Foundation, and a former youth hockey coach with the Aurora Minor Hockey Association.

Of course, the most important aspect of Carl’s journey and the one that provided him with the most joy was the fact that he shared and co-authored much of it with his wife and soulmate of 57+ years, Joyce Anne Dow. Together, Carl and Joyce travelled the world and raised a family with two children and six grandchildren. City kids born and raised in Toronto, Carl and Joyce were married in 1964 then boldly chose to leave the big city behind to build a farm in Vandorf, Ontario in 1969 that they named “Whispering Pines”. It was at Whispering Pines on the outskirts of Aurora they raised Todd and Tara, instilling in them a strong work ethic, a passion for hockey and horses, and an appreciation of the importance of unconditional love and support in shaping a family. Carl and Joyce’s adventures together would later see them reside briefly in Oak Ridges and Aurora, then finally settling in the Ballantrae Golf & CC community of Stouffville, Ontario. Widely popular with too many close friends to mention, Carl and Joyce’s social calendar and travel schedule were often a challenge to navigate for those wanting to spend precious time with them. When not visiting their daughter’s family in Raleigh, North Carolina or their son’s family in San Francisco, California, they could often be found cruising the world exploring new places and meeting new people. Favored repeat destinations over the years with family and friends have included Longboat Key, Florida for US Thanksgiving and Maui, Hawaii for Christmas.

Carl’s generosity, warmth and adventurous nature lives on in the memories of all who knew him and in the hearts of his very grateful family members. Carl is survived by his wife Joyce (née Sanderson), their daughter Tara Dow-Rein, Tara’s husband Mark Rein and their 3 children, Carly (18), Cassidy (17) & Carson (17), as well as Carl & Joyce’s son Todd Dow, Todd’s wife Christine and their 3 children, Samantha (22), Casey (19) and Davis (17). Over the years, Carl was known for his positive disposition and his embrace of the parting phrase, “keep smiling!” Few things in life made him smile more than spending time with his grandchildren as their “Poppa” and passing along his mostly true stories and infectious positivity --- watching his grandkids riding horses, playing hockey or hitting golf/tennis balls gave him profound joy. To honor his legacy, he would want us all to pursue our own journeys with kindness and generosity in our hearts and, importantly, to “keep smiling” --- bringing a smile to others just as he did. Thank you for giving us so much to smile about Carl --- you were an extraordinary son, husband, father, grandfather, and friend.

Per Carl’s wishes and his family, no funeral or celebration-of-life event will be held. In lieu of flowers or gifts, please instead consider donations to the Canadian Cancer Society.

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Dear Joyce and Family.... Though Bud McLean had kept us posted as to Carl's cancer diagnosis we were so hopeful that Carl would sail through his treatments and would be well in no time. Words can not express how sorry we were to hear of his passing. We well remember all the fun times we had with you and Carl at your home for super bowl parties, skiing, tennis, etc. We will miss not seeing his smiling face and his warm, friendly presence. Take care Joyce.... You are in our thoughts and it is comforting to know that you are with Tara and Todd and their families in this sad time. Our condolences to you and yours. Love, Ron and Denise Crabtree
- Ron and DEnise Crabtree
Joyce, I was so sad to read of Carl's passing. While it has been many years from Vanderhoof days, I will always remember your friendship and kindness. My best memory of Carl was spending time at your home and my introduction to Cointreau! Adding a purple candle for our newest grandchild, Violet. All love from Oakville. Bonnie Findlay Gill
- Bonnie Findlay Gill
dear joyce i was sorry to hear you lost a great life time partner. only time will heal, best Ann Welland (partner with Bill Bryson)
- ann welland
Joyce and family - We are very sorry to learn this sad news. I remember Carl as a class act, always a gentleman, family man and subtle quiet wit! Together you and Carl were quite a team and Tara and Todd and their families have wonderful memories which I hope support you all through this sad time. Hugs to you all, Katherine & Jay Rein (and family)
- Katherine Rein
Dear Joyce Annette and I are saddened to learn of Carl's passing. Our sincere condolences to you and your family. Gary and Annette Hodder
- Gary Hodder
My deepest condolences to Joyce and family, will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
- Maureen Lawson
Dear Joyce. We were so sad to hear of your loss. Carl led a wonderful life. We will always remember your kindness and generosity to our daughter Sue. Carl's encouragement and instruction, helped her enormously in her riding enjoyment and ability. Our condolences go out to you and your family. With love. Monica and John
- Monica Cocker
Dear Joyce. We were so sad to hear of your loss. What a wonderful life Carl led. We will always remember your kindness and generosity to our daughter Sue. Carl's encouragement helped her enormously in her riding ability Our condolences to you and your family. With love, Monica and John
- Monica Cocker
Dear Joyce, Tara, Todd & families, Please accept my heartfelt condolences at this sad time. My thoughts & prayers are with you all. Most sincerely Carol Runstedler
- Carol ann Runstedler
Carl was top of the class in every way. He was a wonderful athlete, a successful business man, but best of all he was a family man par excellance. Elaine and I were privileged to be part of his life and to have so many good times with Joyce and him. Simply put, he was a great guy and will be missed by so many. Don McVicar
- Don McVicar
It is with great sadness that we heard of Carl's passing. We send our condolences to Joyce, Tara, Todd and their families. Sincerely, Richard Isaacson & Kathryn McMillan
- Richard Isaacson
Our condolences. Barbara M. and Ian R. McClelland
- Ian R. McClelland
We send our sincere condolences to Joyce and the family for their great loss. Enjoyed golfing with Carl on many occasions. Eva & Jay Adams.
- Eva & Jay Adams
We were all blessed with your humble spirit, and although we knew you for a short time, you left an impression that will last for years to come. Teresa Cherry
- Teresa Cherry
We were all so saddened to hear the news of Carl's passing. For us, Joyce and you were an inspiring example of soulmates (57 + years, wow!) who supported each other to the fullness of life's experiences. We count ourselves blessed to share vivid memories with you - from Myrtle Beach days to Family Weddings to the Royal Winter Fair to meals and engaging conversations in the backyards of any of our houses or in Arizona or California or Florida. You were a true Host! Your humour never failed to make us feel welcomed. It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to know you and see what a beautiful family you and Joyce have raised. Hugs and Love Jennifer Sanderson and Scott Garbe and Julia and Jeremy and Margaret.
- Jennifer Sanderson
A very sad loss of a fine gentleman. We had many fun times with "the Dow's". Carl was a great 'buddy' for Joyce-they made an excellent pair that exuded friendship,knowledge,caring ,camarderie--just plain old good fun. huge hugs for his dear family. We will miss him. Al and Erma Roeder
- Erma Roeder
I was blessed to know Carl for most of my life having first met him in 1962 when I was about to join Prudential as an agent in Hamilton. Both Carl and I were appointed as mangers at very your ages, and we always had many concepts and creative thinking in common. We were management colleagues for 38 years and we remained friends throughout our retirement to the very end. Bev and I always enjoyed our relationship with Carl and Joyce attending many conventions in different countries over the years. When you read his obituary you realize how full a life he enjoyed, how much he contributed to the lives of others, and had the support and love of a close family and friends. Carl had it all, and did it all, and we were all privileged and blessed to have known him. There is no finer a gentleman I've ever known and I thank the good Lord for our lifetime of friendship. With much love, John Barton
- John Barton
What a wonderful life he had and we are so happy to have had a part in it. We met Joyce and Carl at Summit and always had so much fun together not only on the golf course but at dinner parties and other social events. Playing both Mexican Train and Euchre was great fun. And I will always remember an evening we shared with several friends in our large swim spa. So many laughs.He was always so positive and ready to smile-a very classy gentleman. We will miss him so much.Hugs for all his lovely family. Sandra and Glenn
- Sandra Hills
I chose a white candle, the same color as my first cat Aspen who along with his brother Vail came from Whispering Pines. I remember coming to the farm to choose him and being in awe of living amongst all of the animals. Just as Aspen became a beloved part of my childhood so too was Carl's gentle presence in our family circle especially on our travel adventures across Ontario and even down to Buffalo for hockey tournaments (and some sneaky shopping). Carl was truly a model of a family man and I'm grateful to have known him. Wishing love and strength to Joyce, Todd, Tara and family at this time. Be at peace Mr Dow 🙏🏼
- Kelly Eide
Thank you Dad ... I am filled with gratitude that words simply cannot express --- you set the bar so high on many fronts for us to chase ... three holes-in-one, playing hockey until age 84, trail riding in your eighties! Importantly, you taught us how to work hard, have fun and be a family. You are a role model for what a great father should aspire to be. Love you Dad, rest well and check-in on the kids now and then ... we will see you soon. Love, Todd
- Todd Dow

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