The Telegram (St. John's)
Burin native killed after explosion rocked Iqaluit
John Manning is being remembered for his big heart and love of life
John Benedict Manning, 57, a businessman originally from Burin, was one of two men killed after there was an explosion on a boat parked between two houses on a street in downtown Iqaluit July 6.
A third man was injured and recently released from hospital. Manning died July 9 after three days in an Ottawa hospital. The cause of the explosion is unknown.
Manning was a true family man, with relatives in both Iqaluit and Newfoundland. He built the family home from scratch and is sorely missed by his wife and daughter, his father, brother and sister in Newfoundland, as well as his nieces, nephews and cousins in both provinces where he had roots.
“He was true Newfoundlander, kind to a fault, with a big heart; and a wonderful husband and father,” says Geneva Chislett, Manning’s widow, who was reached by phone at home in Iqaluit. “He loved his family, that’s one thing for sure.” While his family was at his bedside in Ottawa, their Iqaluit home was broken into and carvings that had been collected by Manning and his wife were stolen. The RCMP charged 53-year old Christine Ammaq earlier this week with breaking and entering. The art has not been recovered.
“We can replace the items that were stolen, but we can’t replace John,” said Chislett.
It was in Iqaluit that Manning and Chislett met. She moved there from northeastern Quebec a year before he arrived, after graduating from university. They have a daughter, Katie Chislett Manning, after whom Manning named his company, KCM Maintenance and Construction.
Chislett said of Katie, “She’s a real daddy’s girl” who was supported by her father in anything and everything she wanted to do and achieve.
Manning cared deeply about both Iqaluit and Newfoundland and supported a lot of causes in the community. It’s for this reason that the family has asked for donations in his memory to the food bank in Iqaluit.
“He always wanted to give back,” says Chislett. “John was a businessman, but also a kind man and he was happy to lend a hand to anyone who needed it.”
Manning had a great love of the outdoors and enjoyed spending time at his cabins in Burton Bay, Nunavut and Carbonear, where he would go Ski-dooing, boating, hunting and fishing.
Despite having spent over two decades in Iqaluit, Manning was a Newfoundlander through and through. He loved traditional Newfoundland music, and one of his favourite songs was “Molly Bawn,” a Celtic tune he would always request at the local pub if anyone from Newfoundland was playing.
“He loved to hear his brother Henry sing ‘Big Strong Man,’” Chislett added.
She was never the cook in the house, she says. “John loved to cook up big old meals — Newfoundland meals.” He would order lobsters to cook for his family and friends, filling their bellies with a good scoff.
Since his passing, Chislett and her daughter have received support and compassion from friends and strangers in Iqaluit and Newfoundland, a true testament to how much Manning was loved.
Chislett says she has had some contact with the family of the other man who lost his life as a result of the explosion, and they have shared love and sadness, connected by the tragedy.
A memorial service for Manning was held in Iqaluit Friday and a memorial will be held in Newfoundland at a later date.
Donations to the Niqinik Nuatsivik Food Bank (PO Box 2085, Iqaluit, NU X0A 0H0) are greatly appreciated.