Jack Carey: HVFM’s most  celebrated Filmmaker
Jack Carey Obituary:
JOHN J. (JACK) CAREY SEPT. 22, 1912 JUNE 3, 2008

Jack Carey, HFVM's most prolific filmmaker

One of Canada’s leading nature cinematographers and film producers, Jack Carey, F.R.P.S., passed away in Dundas, Ontario on June 3 as the result of a recent fall. Jack had a lifelong fascination with both nature and photography, and the marriage of these interests resulted in the creation of many marvelous films that have been enjoyed the world over. His subject matter ranged from the strange microscopic organisms found in a drop of pond water, to the birds, mammals and insects inhabiting the fields and woodlots near his home in Burlington, Ontario, to the majestic wildlife of such places as Africa, India, Central America and the Galapagos, where he led bird-watching and nature photography tours.

Jack made his first commercial film, ‘Steel for Canadians’, while in the midst of his long career with Stelco in Hamilton, where he was Chief Service Metallurgist. This was soon followed by ‘The Miracle of the Bees’, a remarkable look at the lifecycle of the honeybee, which won the highest science award of the National Institute of Apiculture at the 1958 Film Festival in Rome. Many more films and awards were to follow, and his eventual retirement from Stelco ushered in an even more productive phase of his movie-making career. With his brother Reg doing most of the sound editing, Jack produced such films as ‘The Monarch Butterfly Story’, ‘The Everglades’, ‘Wonders of the Hive’ and the international award winning ‘Success Story’, a film about the extraordinary ability of insects to adapt to their environment, which appeared on CBC’s The Nature of Things.

Jack made four films for ‘Audubon Wildlife Theatre’ and had several others distributed by Encyclopedia Britannica and Keg Productions, which produced a one-hour television special on him entitled ‘Nature in Close-up: The Small World of Jack Carey’. In 1978, Jack was made a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain for achievements in motion picture production. Photography was but one part of Jack’s amazingly full and diverse life. He was group leader of a pioneering radio show entitled ‘Youth Discusses’, which featured frank discussions of the problems facing young people across Canada. Launched in 1946 on Hamilton’s CHML, it was picked up by the CBC and broadcast nationally and internationally. He was also an accomplished writer, poet, raconteur, and antiquarian. A lifelong bachelor, he was a devoted family member, living his entire life with his much-loved sister Dolly until her death in 1995.

Jack is survived by a very large family. They, along with his countless friends around the globe, will miss him greatly. A life well lived. The family will receive friends at DODSWORTH & BROWN Funeral Home, BURLINGTON CHAPEL, 2241 New Street (At Drury Lane), Burlington, (905-637-5233) on Monday from 7-9 pm and Tuesday from 3-5 & 7-9 p.m. Funeral Service will take place on Wednesday at 1 pm in the chapel. Interment to follow at Woodland Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace or a similar charity would be appreciated.

Published by The Globe and Mail from Jun. 9 to Jun. 10, 2008.


John (Jack) Carey: 1912-2008

July 08, 2008

Paul Legall
The Hamilton Spectator
Burlington (Jul 8, 2008)

Jack Carey first caught the shutter bug when he got a Buster Brown camera for his eighth birthday on Sept. 22, 1920.

For the next 88 years, until he died three weeks ago, he was seldom without a camera in his hands. That passion let Carey establish himself as one of the world’s leading nature photographers.

He photographed or videotaped every kind of living thing, from a one-celled organism in his basement aquarium to elephants in the wild.

He had a special affection for insects and did intimate, close-up studies of monarch butterflies, spiders and bees.

After observing the little critters for many years, he produced a 28-minute film called Success Story about the remarkable ability of insects to adapt to their environment. It won all kinds of international awards and was adapted by Encyclopedia Britannica as a science teaching aid.

His films have often appeared on television, including the CBC science show The Nature of Things. In 1978, he was made a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.

In 1987, Global Television turned the camera on the famous movie-maker with a one-hour profile called Nature in Close-up: The Small World of Jack Carey.

Carey’s world started in Hamilton on Sept. 22, 1912, and ended in a Dundas hospital on June 3. He died as a result of complications from a broken hip. His funeral service was held in Burlington, where he’d lived for almost 60 years.

John (Jack) Carey was the youngest child of a family of four and lost his mother when he was 14. She had instilled in him a love of nature and an insatiable curiosity about the world around him.

With his first camera, the Buster Brown, he tried unsuccessfully to sneak up and photograph birds.

He got his first movie camera, an eight-millimetre model, in the 1930s and started his film career by making movies about his family.

He got his first break as a professional filmmaker while working as a metallurgist at Stelco. In 1956, the steelmaker commissioned him to make a promotional film called Steel for Canadians.

Shortly after, he made his first nature film, The Miracle of the Bees.

During the next 50 years, he pursued every form of life in the most exotic parts of the world, from the Galapagos Islands to the jungles of Africa. As a supporter of Greenpeace, his wildlife photography usually carried a strong ecological message.

But most of his filming was done within 20 kilometres of the Burlington home he shared with his only sister, Dolly, from the 1950s until her death in 1995.

She was an avid gardener and grew some of the nicest roses in the neighbourhood.

Apart from his love of photography, Carey was a published poet and avid antique collector who scoured garage and yard sales on weekends. He had a love of hurricane lamps and had a sizeable collection of them in his home.

His nephew Dave Carey, who gave the eulogy at his funeral, remembers Uncle Jack as an incurable pack rat who never threw anything out.

His Burlington home was chock full of Carey family memorabilia, from old Christmas cards to family photographs and home movies.

“I expect we are one of the most photographed families in Canada never to have been involved in a political scandal or Hollywood infidelity,” Dave said in his eulogy.

To his neighbours, Carey was known as a friendly guy who showed up with homemade chocolate truffles at Christmas.

Robb McQueen, a neighbour, said he last saw Carey taking pictures in his backyard about a year ago.

“He packed a lot in his 95 years,” said McQueen, who teaches at Aldershot High School. “He was one of those rare guys. He wore out. He didn’t rust out. He was always doing something.”