It’s no easy task describing Dave Jewett, or Doc, in a few hundred words. He is a musician, a traveler, a community supporter and a man with a zest for life. He is definitely not a shrinking violet. And while not a Bruce County native, Jewett has the soul of a local.
Born in the steel city, Hamilton, Ontario, in December 1951, Jewett’s connection to this community started early, as his parents rented cottages around the Inverhuron area for many summers when he was a boy. He has a great story about how his dad’s 1955 Chevy was rear-ended in 1956 by a late-night speeding driver, swerving right to avoid driving into the lake at Lake Street and Bruce Road 15.
As a young boy, Jewett had many interests, including music, sports and girls. In fact, he met his future wife, Patsy Goetz, from London, in Inverhuron in 1964, when he was just 12-years-old. Goetz later worked summers there at McKellar's (later Anderson's) legendary beach store. Their paths would cross years later and the couple eventually married in 1977.
One thread that runs through Jewett’s story is his love for music. In 1963, he began taking trumpet lessons at Waddington's Music Store in Hamilton, setting him on a path he would follow all his life. As a student at Westmount High School in the late sixties, he played in school and community bands, and was a member of a rock band, Johnny Coleman and the Weight, from 1968 – 1970. He even turned down a job picking tobacco in the summer of 1969, to continue playing in the band.
After finishing high school, Jewett attended McMaster University, first studying natural sciences then switching his major to commerce. In 1971, he joined a then-new big band, The Mohawk (College) Jazz Band, and played with them until Dec. 1978.
After graduation and a month-long break for a road trip out west, he began working fulltime at Dofasco, where he would spend his entire career in a variety of sales positions and weathered changes in ownership and good and bad economic times. He fondly recalls the many friends he made, his wedding to Patsy in Aug. of 1977, and subsequent birth of his daughter, Stacey, in 1979. During these years, he continued to indulge his love of music and played in many bands, including the Tiger Cat Band during Grey Cup in 1972 (when Hamilton beat Saskatchewan), and gigs at Hamilton Place and entertaining at the Dofasco Christmas parties for more than 30 years.
In July of 1984, he and five work buddies walked the beautiful Bruce Trail from Lion's Head to Tobermory. It was a great success, and they henceforth called themselves the Trompers (aka the Sequin Safari, Cape Croker Crawlers), making many trips together. They now have as many as 10 Trompers and have also cycled and canoed together annually right up to 2019. Their adventures are chronicled in their hardcover book, The Tales of the Tobermory Trompers.
In 1985, Jewett organized and held the first Inverhuron Fun Run, a free, community event held annually at Inverhuron Provincial Park, on the Sunday of the Labour Day weekend. The run continues to this day, although in 2020 it was held virtually because of the pandemic, and has annually welcomed 20 to 150 runners of all ages and abilities.
Throughout the early 2000s, Jewett played or practiced nearly every night with a variety of bands; Big Smoke Band, 8thDegree and Jazz Linc Big Band. Four years after he joined the Lighthouse Swing Band in 1997, Jewett was a founding member of the six-piece Howlin’ Dog Vintage Jazz Band, so named for the bass player’s dog Jake, who howled along whenever the trombonist played. He recalls the good times and beautiful patios of the Bruce Inn and Park House in Goderich, where the band often played. Pre-COVID, the Howlin' Dogs still play at those locations.
Life took a harsh turn in July of 2011, when his wife, Patsy, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Less than a year later, she passed away. Jewett lost not only his wife, but one of his oldest friends.
After 40 years with Dofasco, Jewett retired in April of 2014. Shortly after, he met Nadine Pasichnyk at a concert in Burlington, and the couple have been together ever since. While Jewett took a break from music to “heal his chops”, a result of many years of playing “too high and too loud”, the couple travelled; to New York City, Newfoundland, Colombia, points across the United States and extensively in Europe.
By 2017, Jewett and Pasichnyk were ready to settle in full time in a house by the lake. A friend in Armow told them of a house coming up for sale on Lake Range Drive. After seeing the home in July, they knew immediately “this house was for us”.
“I just love the area, the view, the people, the music,” said Jewett. “We have so many dear pals up here. (We’ve) integrated into the community and met very interesting people.”
These days, even with the pandemic, Jewett remains involved in the community, and anxiously awaits being able to have band rehearsals and gigs.
“I miss the association with friends and bandmates,” said Jewett.
In 2019, he joined locals Wayne King, John Low, Mike Smith, and Bob Fletcher in The Lifters Jazz Band. Two separate fundraisers, held at Bar Down in early 2020, raised $1,225 for local charities.
In 2020, he raised $790 during the virtual Terry Fox 10 KM Run. He and his colleagues from the Kincardine Brass Band produced a video for Remembrance Day, In Flanders Fields. Jewett said each musician recorded their piece safely and separately, with conductor Nancy Ross consolidating all the parts. He also narrated the poem.
Both he and Pasichnyk are readers, enjoying both magazines and books. They have worked on a few home renovations and Jewett continues to practice his music, even though regular rehearsals aren’t taking place. He also enjoys being behind the camera, taking photos of the gorgeous landscape around their home.
He is a first time grandfather, as his daughter Stacey and partner Jeff gave birth to Auston John in Kitchener on Dec. 22, 2020. He looks forward to when they can all get together.
“I’ve seen him once for a few hours but you have to stay safe,” said Jewett.
To keep busy and remain current on how the pandemic is progressing, he and Pasichnyk maintain a chart that records COVID information for Ontario, Canada and the United States. The couple follows the protocols set by public health to stay safe and stop the spread.
“Cases are going down, but we cannot get overconfident just because a vaccine exists,” said Jewett. “It's another big hurdle to actually get a vaccination. The common sense masking, washing of hands and distancing is still paramount, and can save lives and billions of dollars.”
He has taken on another cause since the Jan.15, 2021 vehicle crash in Inverhuron, very near the spot where his father’s car was hit back in 1956. The recent accident caused real damage, but fortunately no one was hurt. He is working with residents in Inverhuron to have safety measures implemented and hopefully prevent another, and potentially more serious, accident from occurring.
And when the pandemic is over, whether he is on stage, working behind the scenes or sitting on a patio with his happy-hour friends, you can be sure that Jewett will be giving whatever he does 100 per cent effort, and doing it with a smile and a great attitude.
Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent