Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Tribute to ‘Jack’ McIntosh (1940-2019)

John Duncan Lawrence "Jack" McINTOSH
Born: September 19, 1940 — Whitewood, SK
Died: May 29, 2019 — Richmond, BC — Age 79, cancer.

This shy bibliographer from the University of British Columbia (UBC) was a brilliant and generous scholar that many of us will miss. He was a friendly soul who wished the best for each of us regardless of our religion, politics, or education.

He was born in Saskatchewan and raised in the Castlegar area of British Columbia among Doukhobors, where he began to learn Russian from classmates at Stanley Humphries Secondary School. After studying Russian for two years at UBC, Jack studied in Russia where he attended Baptist meetings with former Molokane.

Upon returning to Canada, he got ‘great on-the-job training’ translating for government, journals and the Soviet press. He entered the Librarian program at UBC, where he was employed, excelled, retired in 2001, and continued to volunteer. He managed the UBC Doukhobor Collection.

Jack and I exchanged historic materials on the Doukhobors, Lev N. Tolstoy, and peace-making since the 1960s. He gifted me a copy of his Expanded Bibliography on the Doukhobors that he hoped to get published, but never did. The Bibliography served me well. Whenever I needed some important source, he always mailed me a photocopy, and later emailed a file.

In the early 1980s, Jack was invited to interpret and participate in the Expanded Kootenay Committee on Intergroup Relations (EKCIR). We trusted him due to his honesty and many years of personal exposure to and knowledge of Doukhobors. Recently, Jack was impressed with Ashleigh Androsoff's observations and conclusions of the hearings. See her 2011 PhD thesis: Spirit Wrestling Identity Conflict and the Canadian “Doukhobor Problem,” 1899-1999 (pages 386, 390-392; and search for 'EKCIR').

In the early 1990s Jack was our guest during a Learned Societies conference here. He soon was in our basement looking over my history collection, and I recall how elated he was to find material for his current study.

It is remarkable that a Scottish-Canadian lad learned Russian so well, and that he boldly shared insights that others did not. In the special issue of the Canadian Ethnic Studies in 1995 about Doukhobors, he challenged the accuracy of George Woodcock’s publications.

Jack was sensitive to the oral history of the Doukhobors, and drew on his wide readings to distinguish fact from fiction. His transliteration skills were precise: borshch, pirogi, sobranie, Petrov Den’, stikhi, etc. He wrote with dedication and thoroughness.

When I needed help with the creation of a CD version of Plakun Trava: The Doukhobors, Jack volunteered corrections and suggestions.

Jack McIntosh was a dear colleague whom I could trust in time of need. I don’t know of anyone who can fill his void.

Obituary: 'John McIntosh’, Vancouver Sun, June 8, 2019.

'Witness to the Resurrection: Celebrating the Life of Jack McIntosh, June 22, 2019'.

By Jack about Doukhobors

Unfortunately, none of his work is online, open source.

‘Jack McIntosh — Bibliographer (1940-2019)’. In forthcoming eBook by Koozma J. Tarasoff and Andrei Conovaloff, Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers and Friends. Submitted 2018. Proposed publication 2020.

‘Maintaining community among a small, dispersed people: Canadian Doukhobor periodical publications on the wall, in the mail and on the Internet’. In Andrew Donskov, John Woodsworth and Chad Gaffield (eds.), The Doukhobor Centenary in Canada (2000): 277-289.

‘Rarely-Cited “Gems” in the Doukhobor Bibliography: Why So Obscure? What Can be Done?’ In Canadian Ethnic Studies, vol. XXVII, No. 8, 1995: 262-269.

‘Update 1973-1993: Excerpts From the Doukhobor Bibliography, Expanded Updated Edition’. In Koozma J. Tarasoff and Robert B. Klymasz, Spirit Wrestlers. Centennial Papers in Honour of Canada’s Doukhobor Heritage (1995): 187-216.

Horvath’s Doukhobor Bibliography (in Progress). Revised and Expanded. Unpublished 1989 version, 428 pp.

Unpublished papers:
  • ‘Maintaining community among a small, dispersed people: Canadian Doukhobor periodical publications on the wall, in the mail and on the Internet', at The Doukhobor Centenary in Canada: a multi-disciplinary perspective on their unity and diversity, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario. 1999 October 22-24. — Jack generously gave half of his time to 2 guys not on the program, Jonathan Kalmakoff and Andrei Conovaloff, to show their new web sites.
  • ‘The Doukhobor Migration That Never Was’. Panel: ‘Doukhobors in Canada — 100 Years and Beyond’. Canadian Association of Slavists Meeting, Ottawa, Ontario. 1998 June 1.


  1. Greg Nesteroff11 June 2019 at 20:36

    Sad news. Jack was extremely knowledgable and very generous with that knowledge.

  2. Sorry to hear about the passing of your good friend. The peace and justice movements need more scholars of his stature.
    Ed Lehman, Cupar, Saskatchewan

  3. I'm very sorry to hear this sad news. Jack was a tremendous help to me when I was researching Doukhobor history for my 1999 documentary, Soul Communion. He was a kind and insightful man who made an important contribution to Doukhobor and Canadian history through his meticulous work. He will be greatly missed.

  4. Svetlana Inikova, Moscow12 June 2019 at 17:41

    Прочитала твоё сообщение о Жаке Макинтоше и очень расстроилась. Хотя последнее время мы с ним не переписывались, но я всегда о нем вспоминала с чувством симпатии и даже нежности. Он был очень обаятельный человек. Не верится, что его больше нет на этом свете. Я думаю, что он навсегда останется в памяти всех тех, кто знал его.

    К сожалению, уже почти не осталось тех людей, с которыми мы встречались в 1990-м году.

    Несмотря на то, что мне приходится заниматься разными темами, духоборцев я не бросаю. Духоборцы - это целая неизведанная планета или лучше сказать айсберг, большая часть которого скрыта под водой. Ученые видят только то, что на поверхности, и не пытаются заглянуть поглубже, поэтому духоборцы до сих пор не изучены.

    I read your message about Jack McIntosh and became very sad. Though we have not recently corresponded with one another, I always remembered him with a sense of sympathy and even affection. He was a very charming man. I cannot believe that he is no more in this world. I think he will remain forever in the memory of all those who knew him.

    Unfortunately, only a few people whom we met in 1990 [in Ottawa] are still living.

    Despite the fact that I have to work on different subjects, I have not forgotten the Doukhobors. Doukhobors are a whole unexplored planet, or better to say they are like an iceberg, much of which is hidden under water. Scientists see only what is on the surface, and do not try to look a little deeper, therefore the Doukhobors are under explored.

  5. He sounds like a wonderful man, who has left a tremendous legacy. Blessings to his family and friends at this time...

  6. Thank you for this tribute to my old friend Jack. He and I first met in 1949 when we attended elementary school in Kinnaird (now Castlegar). We then went through secondary school and UBC together. We stayed in touch for 70 years!

    I am still in shock over his passing. Our last email exchange was on May 12, 2019--just 17 days before his death. He never said a word about being terminally ill. Probably didn't want me to worry. Sigh.