4 lives lived after sports at RMC

4 lives lived after sports at RMC

By 3201 Austen (Aus) Cambon

3035 LCol (Retd) JJ “Jerry” Donahue had what was perhaps the most varied of life experiences in his time at RMC, in the military, and in retirement.  Jerry entered RMC in 1949, Class of ’53, the second post-war class to enter the College.  A multi-sport athlete he is perhaps the only cadet to have played in five West Point/RMC games.  He would prefer to forget the first of those games in 1951 when he was seriously injured when hit by an All-American Defensive End on ARMY’s football team who was playing hockey for West Point in another of the era’s historic “no-penalties-gentlemanly-games”.  The concussion he suffered resulted in Jerry being unable to successfully write his exams, but he was allowed to continue his studies at the College.  Jerry was Captain of the Varsity Hockey Team when the first penalty was called in the 1954 match in Kingston.  After graduation he went on to become one of the most-travelled of our classmates, serving in various capacities in many locales including in Korea 3RCHA, Debert Nova Scotia, Camp Gagetown New Brunswick, Shilo Manitoba, Fort Bliss Texas, Picton Ontario , Fort Sill Oklahoma, Germany, Kingston Staff College, Kingston Area HQ, Hanoi Vietnam, Fort Leavenworth Kansas, Chu Lai Vietnam, Washington USA, four postings in Ottawa (NDHQ) and many international trips associated with his  responsibilities.  Jerry wrote a fascinating chapter entitled “My Story” about his two tours in Vietnam for John Gardem’s book “Canada and Peacekeeping.  He also wrote a paper for the “International Peace Academy on Peace and Security” about Central America and did some teaching of courses to DND civilians at the Middle Manager level.  He currently keeps actively involved with the military, serving on the Senate of the 30th Field Regiment (Reserve) in Ottawa where he lives.  Another very busy mate.


3221 JHF “Jon” Jennekens entered RMC in 1950, Class of RMC ’54.  Jon participated in many sports but, in particular,  Swimming and Water Polo.  After military service, including in Korea, Jon enjoyed a long and successful career in the Nuclear Industry, eventually being recognized for his leadership in this field by being named an Officer of the Order of Canada (OC), “the country’s highest civilian honour and the centerpiece of Canada’s honours system”.  It recognizes “a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation”.  This appointment was made by the Right Honourable Jeanne Sauve, Governor-General of Canada, on December 21, 1987.  Cited at the time, in brief:  “From 1978-1987, the Atomic Energy Control Board was led by Jon Jennekens.  During his time as President, Jon was faced with two of the world’s most significant nuclear incidents in the history of the nuclear sector:  Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.  Jon faced some of the nuclear sector’s most tumultuous times and navigated a route which helped establish the high standards for openness and accountability upheld by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission today.”  A truly wonderful tribute for Jon and his wife and family to enjoy.  Jon retired in 1993 following six years as Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna.  He then served as an adviser to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as Chair of Ontario Hydro’s Technical Advisory Panel on Nuclear Safety, and for eight years as a member and Chair of an advisory committee of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization involved with a nuclear-electric project at Kumho, North Korea.  Jon participates in the Royal Canadian Legion’s Memory Project:  www.the memory project/stories/2717:jon-jennekens/. He  and his wife Norah live in Ottawa.


3272 JE “Ed” Czaja started his journey enrolling as a cadet at Royal Roads in the Fall of 1950.  Ed quickly made his mark in college sports and as a leader.  In 1951 he won the Michael Phillips Trophy as the “outstanding boxer” at RR.  In 1952 he won the Captain’s Cup for his “outstanding athletic ability and sportsmanship”, traits that he would bring with him to RMC in the Fall of 1952.  Ed played on RMC’s Varsity Football Team (1952-54) and on RMC’s Varsity Volleyball Team (1952-54).   He won a coveted “RMC Crest” award in his graduating year “for his personal determination and proficiency as a player and for his unparalleled ability to capture and stimulate the spirit of the Senior Football Team”.  He was also among the enthusiasts who did their best to get curling up-and-running at RMC.   Furthermore, Ed was elected President of our Class of RoyalRoads’52/RMC’54, a signal of future success to follow in his working life in industry.  In 1955, Ed joined Shell Oil as an Engineer, beginning what would be a 36-year career in the oil industry and in Shell.  Moving upward in various management positions, Ed eventually became President of Shell Canada Resources, Oil and Gas Exploration and Production. He then spent ten years as Executive Vice President of Shell Canada Ltd., retiring in 1991.  A Canadian achieving these high-level management appointments in the oil industry at the time was certainly not common.  However, Ed did, indeed, become a “captain of Canadian industry”.  Deservedly so.  Ed and his wife Jean live in Calgary.


3303 JR “John” Neroutsos, an accomplished hockey player from Montreal high school days and a diehard Montréal Canadiens fan, entered Royal Roads in 1950 where he played college football and excelled on the swimming team.  Disappointed at the lack of hockey at Royal Roads, John finally got his wish to participate in Varsity Hockey when he completed his final years at RMC during 1952 – 1954.  His sport years culminated in 1954 with the annual RMC – West Point game. John had a remarkable career after graduating from RMC.  He earned an Engineering Degree at McGill and an MBA from Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.  He became closely associated with the civil and military aviation communities in a career that spanned more than forty years.  John had an enduring passion throughout his lifetime for the flying machine, its engineering, and flight envelope. John merged these interests while working as a command pilot, with over 20,000 flight hours. He intermingled line flying with extended secondments to flight test engineering and flight operations technical support upon joining Trans Canada Airlines and, subsequently, Air Canada.  John was immersed in the transformational advancements in aviation technology from the late forties. HIs lifelong aviation career culminated in the digital age ‘glass’ cockpit of a Boeing 767.  John’s final work year saw him introducing the initial A320 pilots to the revolutionary new computer-based technology of the Airbus ‘fly-by-wire’ systems.  John served as a citizen-soldier with the RCAF Auxiliary in the early post-war period where he flew Canada’s first operational jet fighter, the de Havilland ‘Vampire’, followed by the more advanced F-86 Sabre jet.  He commanded 401 Squadron (Canada’s only “Battle of Britain” squadron) and 411 Squadron. Later on he assumed command of a Wing and subsequently, having reached the rank of Brigadier General, he served from 1983-1986 as Commander of the Air Reserve Group in Winnipeg, as a member of the Air Force Council at Air Command, and as the Senior Air Advisor to the Chief of Reserves at NDHQ.   John and his wife Mary live in Sidney, Victoria BC.


  • 3035 Jerry Donahue

    December 12, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Aus Cambon’s series has been very well done and brings back good memories to many of us of our time at RMC. Thank you Aus for the great effort you made in telling the story of sports in the early years. I really enjoyed all of them.

  • 3303 John Neroutsos

    December 17, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    Aus, the real story is about you. As I read into what you accomplished in e Veritas, I found it utterly remarkable how you told a story though sport. Not an easy task. I try to keep abreast with today’s younger generation. I have great admiration for them. They are remarkable adapting to the rapid expansion of technology, however on their fast track I sense they have not had time to absorb the history that paved the way. You have made a contribution on that score. Thanks for that. / John

  • Jon Hubert Jennekens (3221)

    March 23, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    Cambon, A.E., Austen, 3201

    Aus Cambon : born into a Family of Canadian leaders >>> his grandparents, his parents, his brothers and sisters >>>> fortunately for us, those who trained at RMC Royal Roads 50-52 & RMC Kingston 50 – 52 – 54, a Classmate >>>> among the “top ten” and primus inter pares , however, all of our classmates were inter pares …. I shall never forget them …. especially the five who gave their lives during 1954-1955 in Canada and in Germany.
    Jennekens, J.H.F., Jon, 3221