JOHN ''JACK'' THUMB RUTHERFORD
Jack died peacefully on October 28, with his wife Mary and son Michael at his side. True to form, Jack wrote his own obituary a couple of years ago. Here it is, word for word, with a few recent developments added.
Jack was born in Chatham on November 8, 1930 to an artist, Dellmarion Thumb, and a medical doctor, Gordon Hall Rutherford, who died in 1931. Jack's early childhood was in Blenheim. Childhood highlights were visits to relatives in Sarnia and painting trips with his mother. He attended Pickering College in Newmarket and then Victoria College at the University of Toronto, graduating in 1953. An early interest in acting failed to promise any income and he became a stage hand at CBC-TV, then on air for about one year. With a couple of short interruptions he spent the next 50 years at CBC, in TV and radio, as an administrator, writer, researcher, director and producer. Jack married Mary Aird Baillie in 1965. He went to Washington in 1968 as the English Language producer for CBC during the Watergate period. Michael was born there in 1969. Upon his return, Jack produced obituaries for CBC-TV News, and worked on The Nature of Things on contract after he retired. His career at CBC ended in 2003. Lifetime enjoyments included traveling with Mary, especially to France; watching Michael grow up to become a bilingual federal civil servant and marry Lisa Ennis in 2009; and reading newspapers, magazines and modern history - favourite authors George Orwell and John Lukacs. And last but not least - jazz. Jack was a fan of many greats from Lee Wiley to Louis Armstrong. In politics, he was a man of strong opinions, which frequently changed.
Jack's last few months were filled with great happiness at the birth of his granddaughter Aria, and the launch of Engagement Calendar, Mary's first book of poetry. These celebrations were the occasion for many visits with family and friends. Just two days before he went to the hospital, Jack and Mary returned from a wonderful family visit to Ottawa. Every day featured walks in the sunshine, and Jack was clearly a very happy camper. Jack's feisty, freethinking, caring spirit will live on in all those who knew him.
Jack will be buried at Beechwood Cemetery (Ottawa) in a private ceremony. We will celebrate his life at a memorial service to be held at a later date. Donations in Jack's memory can be made to the David Suzuki Foundation or Médecins Sans Frontières.
Saturday November 2, 2013
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