John William Brotherston was born on May 3, 1940 in Montreal, Quebec to his single mother, Margaret Brotherston. John’s grandfather, Bruce, was the general manager of a large construction company in Montreal and brought Margaret to the city during her final weeks of pregnancy. Upon John’s safe arrival the Brotherston family returned home to Chipman, New Brunswick. Here, John enjoyed his youth, attended school and became a young man.
At the age of 14, John decided that he had had enough schooling and wanted to head out into the real world. His grandfather soon lined him up an apprenticeship as an oiler. By 15, he was on a train heading north into the Quebec wilderness to work on dams and hydro plants. John would be on these jobs for months at a time, alone with his co-workers, putting in long hours and became bilingual speaking French fluently. To say he did a lot of growing up during this time would be an understatement.
In the early 60’s John met and married a young French woman, Laurette Ensbury. Together they soon welcomed their three sons, Richard “Rick”, Terry and Steven. A few years later, work took the Brotherston family to St. Catharines. John worked for Hugh Cole Construction as a heavy equipment operator. Over the years a few of his bigger jobs included working on the Welland Canal and helping with Lake Ontario shore protection. Unfortunately it was during this time that John and Laurette’s relationship dissolved and she and the boys moved back to Quebec.
In 1985, Catharine’s brother, Peter Adams, set John and Cathie up on a blind date. They had dinner in Port Dalhousie that first evening and hit it off immediately. Over the coming weeks and months their relationship continued to flourish and in time they moved in together. In 1990, John and Cathie left St. Catharines and headed north to their 25 acres of paradise on Grey Road 25 in Bentinck Township. This property was set in the wilderness, with two streams and had everything the two needed. A few years later the trailer on the property was replaced with their new home and “the farm” was complete! He soon started working for Wayne Schwartz and remained with the company until his retirement in 2014, at the age of 74.
If you didn’t guess it already, John loved the outdoors. He was an avid hunter and angler and owned a variety of guns and crossbows. He enjoyed the summer and fall months, but winters were not for him, so instead Cathie and himself would head south to the sunny State of Florida. Cedar Key, Florida was their home away from home and they started their yearly pilgrimages there in 2000. This small fish village is located on an island on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Here he quickly made friends, fished and enjoyed the local cuisine as this community reminded John very much of his childhood home, in Chipman, New Brunswick.
John also loved his food. He loved starting the day off with a good hearty breakfast and had a particular fondness for potlucks. :) Other staples always on his menu included meatball subs, chicken wings, Miss Vickie’s Salt & Vinegar chips, anything BBQ’d and dulse! Yep, you read that right, dulse, or salted seaweed was always at John’s disposal.
He loved his four-legged friends as well. Over the years there was the dogs Wolfie, Lupa, Zoe and now Blue, and beloved cats Thomas and Socks who always kept John and Cathie company. John also enjoyed old country western music, western novels and the colour black. It didn’t matter if it was his clothes or his trucks, John always looked best in black. He was also quite particular about maintaining his vehicles, they always appeared clean both inside and out, a trait I am told that has been passed down to his sons.
John, Papa John, John Boy or JB was a happy, charming, social extrovert who always took an interest in everyone around him. He was kind, generous and maybe a little stubborn, but always positive. John was dependable and loved Cathie dearly. His big smile, belly laugh and storytelling, “Let me tell you…” will live on in all those he touched and loved.
John was first diagnosed with cancer in 2000. It reappeared in 2014 and treatments soon followed. In 2016, John and Cathie sold their rural property and moved to Owen Sound to be closer to his healthcare providers. He continued to fight day in and day out, always remaining positive. Sadly, John’s time on this beautiful earth ended on Thursday, November 1, 2018, when he passed away, surrounded by his family at Chapman House, Owen Sound. He was 78.
Beloved husband of Cathie Stauffer. Father of Rick, Terry and Steven (Lonnie), all of St. Catharines and grandfather of Richard. Papa John will be fondly remembered by Cathie’s children, Laurel Stauffer-Daly (John Daly) of New York State, Dan Stauffer (Donna Holman-Stauffer) of New Hamburg, Tim (Kathryn) of Ayr and Elizabeth (Joe Mineo) of Kitchener. He will live on in the hearts and minds of Cathie’s grandchildren, Brittany (Davian), Zachary (Chrissy), Brandon (Candace), Kristen, Benjamin (Sara), Madeline, Alex, Joey and great-grandchildren Nevaeh, Leniah and Jahraiya, and adopted great-grandchildren Connor, Tyler, and Sophie (Miskie). John was predeceased by his mother Margaret Brotherston.
Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 1 p.m. until the celebration of John’s life at 2 p.m. Inurnment in Redbank Cemetery, Chipman, New Brunswick.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Chapman House, Owen Sound Regional Hospital Foundation or the charity of your choice would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.Send to friend