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Thursday December 7, 2017

February 19, 1929 - November 30, 2017

With great sadness, the family announces the death of John W. Durnford. He will be deeply missed by his beloved wife Elizabeth; daughters Evelyn, Jessie, Diana and Dorothy; 8 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.
Born and raised in Montreal, he graduated from McGill University with a BA in 1949, obtained a B. C.L. from the Faculty of Law in 1952 and was admitted to the Bar in 1953. In 1954 he became an Associate Professor. He later served as Dean of the Law Faculty from 1969 to 1974. In 1977 he was appointed the Sir William C. Macdonald Professor of Law. He chaired the University Libraries Committee and the University Appeals Committee. Upon retirement he became an Emeritus Professor. He was a much admired and popular teacher. The Law Students' Association renamed its teaching award the John W. Durnford Teaching Excellence Award in his honour. In 1995 Durnford received the Canadian Tax Foundation's Douglas J. Sherbaniuk Distinguished Writing Award. This year a new classroom at the Law Faculty, funded by his students, was dedicated to him. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Montreal Association for the Blind. He chaired the Board of Trustees of the Mount Royal Cemetery. At the Church of St Andrew and St. Paul he was Chairman of the Board of Trustees and he also chaired the search committee for a new minister.
The funeral service will be held on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 1 p.m. at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, 3415 Redpath Street, Montreal. Reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations to the 'John W. Durnford Classroom' at the McGill University Faculty of Law would be much appreciated. Please contact Julie at (514) 398-6611 or at

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