Under the Cowboy Hat: A Story of Love and Legacy

Donate to Danielle's Run Here!

John Masson was a quiet and reserved man with a love for westerns and a penchant for cowboy hats. Born on May 12, 1930 in Ottawa, he lived a life marked by love, family, and duty. 
John’s granddaughter, Danielle McCarthy, Administrative and Stewardship Coordinator at the Perley Health Foundation, fondly remembers her “Pépère” sitting quietly at family gatherings, observing the chaos and relishing in the noise of his children and grandchildren. 
“It always made him laugh,” recalls Danielle. “He was a pretty chill guy, but he always got such great joy watching the family chaos going on around him.”

It was in 1950 that John met the love of his life, Jeanine Martin, whom he proposed to upon his return from service as a machine gunner in the Royal 22nd Van Doos regiment during the Korean War. They were married in October 1952, and went on to raise seven children, creating a bustling and vibrant family. Following his service in Korea, John found employment as a government messenger in the House of Commons, with many jobs in-between including heavy equipment operation and airport maintenance crew.

Sadly, in 2001, Jeanine passed away, leaving John to navigate life without his beloved partner. In February 2019, he moved into Perley Health, where he received exceptional care from the staff, who went above and beyond to ensure his comfort and well-being. Despite the challenges of early onset dementia and macular degeneration, John found solace and joy in the activities offered at Perley Health, particularly the Therapeutic Recreation and Creative Arts’ studio and music programs. He remained steadfast in his love for his family and for John Wayne movies, and was often seen sporting his signature cowboy hat. It was at Perley Health in June of 2020, surrounded by the love of his family, John peacefully passed away. 

Reflecting on their family’s experience, Danielle expressed “'We are eternally grateful for the compassion and support from the Perley staff, who made it possible for us to say our final goodbyes. They allowed us to dress in full PPE and be with my Pépère in his last moments.” Though John has left this world, his legacy of love, service, and quiet strength continues to resonate in the hearts of all who knew him.  
Danielle wants to ensure other Seniors and Veterans to be able to get the same care that her Pépère received while living at Perley Health and carries this with her in her work every day at the Perley Health Foundation. This spring, she is taking her mission one step further and joining Team Perley Health for Ottawa Race Weekend, running for her Pépère, John Masson.  

Help support Danielle in her run by donating today and helping Team Perley Health go the distance for Seniors and Vetetrans! Your support ensures that residents receive excellent resident, comfort, safety and services that ensure their highest quality of life. 

Donate to Danielle's Run Here!