RUSHTON, John Arnold

John’s family extends their deepest gratitude to those who pioneered open heart surgery that allowed John to live such a long and healthy life. We are now saddened that his heart wore out and he died peacefully at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton, March 17, 2022.

John was born October 10, 1937, in Vancouver, BC to Margaret and Gerald Rushton. He attended Prince of Wales School where he participated in every aspect of school life that his health would allow. Soon after enrolling at the University of British Columbia and the Anglican Theological College he became aware that open heart surgery was now possible so he headed to Toronto (by train) to find out if he might be eligible. Following two successful surgeries at the Toronto General Hospital in the early 1960’s he travelled back to Vancouver to continue his studies. This time, however, he was not alone as during that time he met and became engaged to Elizabeth Athey whom he met at the Church of Messiah there.

John and Elizabeth were married June 8, 1963, in Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver and following his ordination as a deacon and then priest in the Anglican Church of Canada in 1965 he served in parishes in Kelowna, Kimberly, Golden and Nelson, BC before becoming rector of the parish of Onoway in November 1968. By that time their daughter Judith was born in 1966 in Golden, followed by Beverly in 1969 and Carol in 1971 both while they lived in Onoway. The family moved to Stony Plain in 1972 where he lived the rest of his life and in 1974 John joined CN Rail as an operator, later known as Rail Traffic Controller.

During those years and following retirement John travelled extensively throughout Canada and the US in pursuit of trains and was proud of the fact that he also rode every mile of British Rail passenger lines. Other trips included Switzerland, Alaska, Norway, Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Let us not forget he swam five mornings a week following rail lines in Canada as an incentive to keep going. He also volunteered with the Distress Line, the RCMP Victim Services, took many grief and bereavement courses in Colorado enabling him to cofacilitate many Journey Through Grief programs with Stony Plain FCSS, for which he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Following retirement John followed in his grandfather’s and father’s footsteps by joining Baseline Masonic Lodge in Spruce Grove where he served as Worshipful Master, and later Meridian Lodge in Stony Plain, and Royal Arch in Stony Plain. He also served as Grand Lodge of Alberta Chaplain for a year.

John is survived by his wife Elizabeth, their daughters Judith, Beverley (Charles), Carol Butz (Casey), their three grandchildren Hayley (Cory), Josh (Megan), Dexter (Michele), his brother David (Jeanmarie) and their family, other relatives, many friends and his spoiled rotten cat Misty.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday April 09, 2022, at 2:00pm at St. Augustine’s – Parkland Anglican Church, 131 Church Road, Spruce Grove, Alberta.

Donations may be made to the Edmonton Humane Society, the Alberta Pioneer Railway Museum at Namao, the Central Alberta Railway Museum at Wetaskiwin of a charity of your choice.

Serenity Funeral Service
Spruce Grove
780 962 2749

Location information

Previous events

Memorial Service
St. Augustine's Parkland Anglican Church - Spruce Grove

131 Church Road
Spruce Grove, AB T7X 2K4

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Tribute wall - a place to share your memories and condolences

Doug Lawson

Rest in Peace John. Thank you for the friendship over the years and distance.

Doug and Heather Townsend

Dear Elizabeth and family. We are so sorry to hear of John’s passing. He was a caring individual and are grateful to have known him. His kindness shone through in his endeavors. He was a good neighbor to my parents, an unique individual , who was able to achieve the passions in his life. John was a professional in his pursuits, always a pleasure to deal and work with, and a friendly voice when JXR answered the radio. Our condolences for your loss.

PatSinclair nee Day

John and I started school together at Prince of Wales.
He was always a kind and caring person.
My condolences to Elizabeth and your family.
John always enjoyed our PW reunions.
Pat Sinclair nee Day

Joslin (Hedley) Kobylka

Dear Elizabeth,
My memory of John goes back to Elementary School: he was so strong and determined even then. His life story is really inspiring – an admirable testimony to his resoluteness and commitment. He must have touched the life of a great many people.
My very best to you and your family,

Gale Le Goff

John will be remembered by all his classmates at Prince of Wales for his kindness, his courage as a youth with a debilitating heart condition and his boundless interest in life.

Larry and Colleen Bluetchen

John and Elizabeth where my parents neighbours for many years. John was the Minister at their church too. . John and Elizabeth watched over my Father after my Mom died. He was a kind gentle man and shared my parents love of animals and my Dads love of trains. He will be missed.
My deepest sympathy to his family.

Robert & Karen Calder

Dear Elizabeth & Family; John was a great person ,compassionate and always willing to help . His skill in grief counselling was greatly appreciated. We pray there are many train tracks in heaven. Hold your memories close!

Rob McIntyre

It is natural to feel a profound sense of loss when hearing of John’s passing. As we reflect on a life well lived, and how John enriched the lives of so many, we are comforted and immensely grateful for his time with us.

Thank you John!

Farewell, you will always be in our thoughts and heart.

Jane Furler

Dear Elizabeth and family – I was so sorry to hear of John’s passing. He certainly lived a full life and must be in the best place possible after his long walk with our Master. Blessings to you all as you walk through these dark days and try to find what it takes to celebrate a life well lived in service and love.
Jane Furler(W.I. sister)

Treena and Mike MacDonald

We are saddened to hear of the passing of John. He will be fondly remembered for his kindness and gentleness. Sincere condolences to Elizabeth and the family.

Jim Halberg

John made this world a better place while he was with us and a poorer place without him. I think of him often. My condolences to his family.

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