Raised by his aunt and uncle in Jasper, Alta., John returned to the West Coast in his teens. He served in the navy in the mid-1950s, marrying Kay upon his discharge in 1958. In 1966, the family moved to Fort St. John, B.C., where John worked at the McMahon oil refinery, first as steam engineer, later as millwright. After leaving Petro Canada, he worked at the Fort St. John airport until retirement. An accomplished gardener, John volunteered for the horticultural society, Fort St. John’s fire department and the North Peace Fall Fair. He hated stray cats in his garden, sparrows in his barn swallow nesting boxes, drivers talking on cellphones. John found joy sailing, fishing, travelling, visiting friends, relaxing at his cabin on Charlie Lake, B.C., and playing Santa Claus, and he loved his dog Cody.