Cover photo for John Wilson Quail's Obituary
John Wilson Quail Profile Photo
1936 John 2023

John Wilson Quail

March 19, 1936 — October 14, 2023

With heartfelt sadness, we announce that Wilson passed peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Saturday, October 14, 2023, at the age of 87.

Wilson was born in Brooklyn, New York and at the age of twelve moved to San Francisco. En route to California in 1948, Wilson passed through Fernie, British Columbia, where he met for the first time his many cousins and his future wife, Florence.

Fernie became Wilson’s happy place, and he visited every summer. He attended Fernie High School for grade 13 and the University of British Columbia for his Bachelor of Science (Honours) and Master of Science in Chemistry.

Wilson and Florence married in 1959, in Vancouver, and moved to Hamilton, Ontario, for Wilson to pursue his Ph.D. in Chemistry at McMaster University. They moved to Saskatoon in 1964, where Wilson began his 39-year career as a Professor at the University of Saskatchewan in the Department of Chemistry. He enjoyed a long career as an inorganic chemist and crystallographer, studying everything from metal fluorides to proteins. He retired in 2003 but continued his work as an emeritus professor in the Saskatchewan Structural Sciences Centre for over a decade collaborating with researchers in the department.

During his career, he collaborated with scientists across Canada and the world. His sabbaticals took him to England (University of Cambridge, Birkbeck College, University of London) and New Zealand (Massey University, Palmerston North, University of Auckland). A career highlight was being part of a research team that sent protein crystals into space to grow in zero gravity aboard the Discovery Space Shuttle in 1994. He published over a hundred scientific articles in various chemistry, biochemistry, physical chemistry, and molecular biology journals, and also served as crystallography editor of the Canadian Journal of Chemistry.

Wilson leaves Florence and their children Douglas (Beverly), Kevin (Elva), Eric (Vera), and Jacqueline, his grandchildren Matthew (Kristin), Paul, Jade, Jaylynn, and Adam, his step-grandchildren Cory, Lyndon, Wesley, Kevin, and Tamara, and a great grandson Graysen.

Wilson’s family thank the staff at Diamond House Personal Care Home for their exceptional caregiving, kindness, and compassion to Wilson in the last year of his life.

A private family memorial was held, to honor Wilson’s wishes of no funeral service.

Martens Warman Funeral Home is honoured to be entrusted with the care and arrangements of John Wilson Quail.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Wilson Quail, please visit our flower store.


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