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HUNT – W. John

April 10, 1947 – May 20, 2011

John Hunt, loving husband of Heather and father of Elizabeth and Reid, passed away on May 20, 2011 after an eight-year battle with cancer.

He is survived by his sister Carol Ann Westlund (Dennis) and their children – Sean, Jane, Kent and Jill; his brother Burt (Wilma) and their children – Julia, Maria and Jon; and many cherished relatives and friends.

John was born in Watrous, SK. For his whole life, John loved everything about the outdoors – plants, animals, water, rocks. His knowledge of the plant and animal kingdoms was remarkable. He always aspired to try different and exotic things. In 1970, after graduating from the Kelsey Institute in Saskatoon, he hired on with Federal Fisheries and worked in the Canadian Arctic as a Fisheries Officer for seven years. His working relationship with the indigenous population was very rewarding to him because he respected the people, their lifestyle and their culture. He met Heather in Inuvik, NWT, where she was teaching and in 1974, they were married there. In 1977, he was accepted to work in Papua New Guinea on the United Nations Crocodile Project. Those three years in the jungle were as fulfilling and rewarding as his job in the Arctic. In both environments, on opposite ends of the earth, John’s greatest wish was that his work would result in a lasting impact on the conservation of whale and crocodile populations.

After he and Heather returned to Canada in 1980, John was hired by Petro-Canada in Calgary and spent twenty-three very fulfilling years working in a number of different positions. He was an integral part of the Olympic Torch Relay in 1988. In the 90’s, while working for Petro-Canada in Ontario, John had the frequently touchy job of handling public relations during the ‘energy crisis’ of the late 80’s and during the last years of the Mississauga refinery. Following a company move back to Calgary and until he fell ill in 2003, John busily and eagerly handled stakeholder relations with the communities in and around Fort McMurray, the Mackenzie Delta and Alaska. John’s sincerity and honesty pervaded his work and whatever the stakeholders’ and public’s positions may have been on the activity or the product, all those impacted and affected admired and respected him greatly. John’s work frequently led him into Aboriginal communities and perhaps his legacy there is best captured in the words of Roger Connelly and Nellie Cournoyea, respectively Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer-Chair of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, who described John as ‘a true friend of the Inuvialuit’. His work ethic and people skills were two of his strongest traits and he was indeed a great and true friend to many. John donated blood fifty times before he was diagnosed and encouraged Elizabeth and Reid to become blood donors also. He took very good care of himself, being an avid runner and cyclist. John loved cars, airplanes and music from the 40’s and 50’s. He was unbeatable at identifying all three. He always said his only regret in life was not learning how to fly. John loved the early morning; shopping; listening to CBC radio; making and sitting around campfires; eating flapper pie; enjoying a good Scotch; having a beer (but never before 5pm); watching Seinfeld reruns on TV; buying new tools; camping with his family; driving holidays; gardening; finding just the right rocks for landscaping and building Inukshuks; and buying unique eyeglass frames, stylish clothing and shoes, both for himself and Heather. John’s first love, however, was his family. He and Heather were married for thirty-seven years, did everything together and were each other’s best friend. They have two wonderful children, Elizabeth and Reid and John was very proud of them. He set high standards for himself and he succeeded in passing these along to Elizabeth and Reid. His favourite saying was, “See what needs to be done.” John was dearly loved and will be missed so very much by all who knew him.

A celebration of John’s life will be held later this summer. You may forward condolences through If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, c/o Tom Baker Cancer Centre, 1331 – 29 Street N.W., Calgary, AB T2N 4N2 Telephone: 1 (866) 412-4222. Thank you – Dr. Chaudry and the staff of Unit 57; Dr. Stewart and the staff of the Bone Marrow Clinic; and the staff at the Carewest Sarcee Hospice.

In living memory of John Hunt, a tree will be planted at Big Hill Springs Park Cochrane by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot Chapel, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE N.W. Telephone: (403) 241-0044.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Brian and Anne Oleary :

    Heather, Elizabeth and Reid, It was with great sadness that we read of John’s death this morning. We spent a long time remembering all the fun times from our ” neighbor” days. He was a wonderful man- intelligent, kind and fun. We speak of you all often. He left a noticable mark in the world, and he will be missed. We would love to attend the celebration of John’s life this summer if possible. Take care of yourselves.
    The OLearys

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  2. Jeanne Wright :

    My thoughts and prayers are with you guys. I am glad that I got to share a dinner with your family and got to meet your Uncle John! I know you are missing him greatly!

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  3. David Stuart :

    I worked with John in Petro-Canada from 1986 until he was diagnosed with cancer in 2003. He had a fabulous sense of humour, and was a joy to work with. He was an absolute gentleman, and a person of great integrity. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of sadness but he made a imprint on all our lives.

    David Stuart, Victoria

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  4. mark meilleur :

    Hi Heather, Reid and Elizabeth….our thoughts are with you….as you know we enjoyed every minute we spent with John…he was a real character and truly a great man…..he will be fondly missed, however, never forgotten….

    Deb and Mark

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  5. James Maxim and Frances Lecky :

    Heather Hunt, children Elizabeth and Reid; I worked with your Husband and Father at Petro-Canada. It was a pleasure to know him and to enjoy his warm and quality personality. My condolences and prayers to you and your family as this time of passing. Sincerely

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  6. Heather, Elizabeth & Reid,
    My deepest condolences on the loss of a truly wonderful and inspirational man. John and I spent a lot of time working together for Petro-Canada and I have many great memories from those times. None as great as the times we spent in the Mackenzie Delta in the early 2000’s. He taught me a great deal about the Inuvialuit people and made me appreciate this great and diverse country of ours even more!
    We were all blessed by his presence and I am truly grateful for the time I spent with him.

    Mike Scott

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  7. Brendan & Phyllis Dunphy :

    Heather, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time. Sounds like you have many fond memories to give you comfort in the days ahead. Take care of yourselves.

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  8. Wim Veldman :

    The Hunt family:
    I had the pleasure of working with John during the Mackay project and especially during the hearings in Fort McMurray-during a long run–he easily beat me–we solved all the project and world problems.
    I will remember him for his class and professionalism. I know he is already utilizing, for the common good, his strong community relation skills in the after life. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Wim Veldman

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  9. Bill Rennie :

    My sincerest condolances. I knew John when he was doing community consultation in Fort McMurray. We spent many days together in industry meetings and evenings at the Sawridge Hotel, often over a glass of wine. He was a fine, gentle man who had a sincere respect for the community people he was consulting with, and well respected by all who met him.

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  10. Élise Montpetit :

    Dear Hunt Family,
    It is with great sadness that I learned of John’s passing away. I’ve been working in the Montréal Public Affairs department of Petro-Canada for the past 30 years. I had the privilege to work with John. He was an extraordinary person with a good sense of humour. When we would get together in meetings, he would always remember to kiss me on both cheeks because he said that French people in Europe do that. My thoughts and prayers are with you and may the memories of the precious and wonderful moments you spent with John be of comfort to you. God bless and keep strong!
    Élise Montpetit

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  11. Hazel Gillespie :

    I am so grateful for my 30 year friendship with John. I have fond memories of our trips North during the Arctic Pilot Project. I couldn’t have had a better mentor. Our friendship extended far beyond work though and my best memories are of sharing lunches and watching John as he built, repaired and designed many of the things I enjoy in my house and garden today. He was an amazing unique soul. I loved him dearly and will greatly miss him. Big “comfort hugs” to Heather, Elizabeth and Reid.

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  12. Wayne & Angela Speller :

    Hello Heather and family:

    When Angela and I arrived in Calgary early last week, we were shocked to read in the newspaper that John had passed away. Our sincere condolances to you and your family. I fondly remember the wonderful working hours with John in Yellowknife and Calgary and we fondly remember the great times our families shared.

    I will send the notice of John`s passing to his friends here on the coast.


    Wayne & Angela Speller

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  13. Adriana & Alessandro Spaziani :

    Heather, Elizabeth and Reid,
    Our deepest condolences to all of you. This world has lost a very special, kind man, but heaven has gained an amazing angel! We feel very fortunate to have known John and your family for the short years that we were neighbors. John was truly a unique man. Always there to lend a helping hand even when he was sick. He was so full of life and I know he fought hard with his sickness. He was so inspirational to us after our battle with cancer, and he helped us through it, even though he was fighting his own battle. We thought of him often, and we were so saddened to hear of his passing. May all the wonderful memories of John comfort you now and forever.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Spaziani Family

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  14. Robin Samer :

    Dear Heather, Elizabeth and Reid,

    My sincere condolences to you at this difficult time. I will remember John as a great neighbor with a wonderful sense of humor and the numerous times he would offer “gin and tonic” refreshments while he worked on one of many of his garden projects. I am grateful to have known him and his family. Take care…

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  15. Vicki McComiskey :

    Dear Heather, Elizabeth and Reid.
    I was very saddened to read of John’s recent passing. My thoughts went back to the early 1970’s in Yellowknife and all the good times we shared. I often tell the story of driving Jim’s car through the only stoplight in Yellowknife as I was looking at this tall handsome man walking down main street. Those were exciting and interesting times and when I recall Yellowknife John is always a favorite memory.
    Thinking of you at this difficult time. Jim and Vicki McComiskey

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  16. Johanne Beauregard :

    Dear Heather

    Just heard of your great loss. Our condolences for all of you.

    Johanne Beauregard and Greg Silcox

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