John Henry Statton was born under a wandering star in Dilston, Northumberland, England, on March 2, 1943. He lived with his mother and father, Nora (Dodds) and Ernest Statton, his brothers Ernie, David and Kenneth, and his sister Doreen. In his own words: “I really can’t describe how I feel about Ernie. He has always had a special place in my heart, him and David” and “Kenneth turned out as good as gold.” Around the age of 11, John Henry was sent to live on the farm with his Aunt Lizzie Dodds, whom he adored. At 15, he joined the Merchant Navy and sailed around the globe and through the Panama Canal. At 19, he married his wife Catherine Gilderson and together they had two children: John Gary born in 1962 and Samantha Joan born in 1965. The family first emigrated from the United Kingdom to Canada in 1967, making passage across the Atlantic on the Empress of Canada. They settled for a while in Calgary, Alberta, where John Henry plied his trade in the province’s oil patch. Never one to stay in any place too long, he would eventually live throughout Canada from Ontario to Alberta, Prince Edward Island to British Columbia (where he built a house with his bare hands), before finally settling in Wabamun, Alberta, with Donna Jenkins, his partner of almost 30 years.
As a sailor, oil driller, fence builder and carpenter, John Henry travelled to Yemen, Morocco, Libya, Iraq, Australia, Algeria, Italy, Germany, Spain, Indonesia, Peru, and countless other foreign and exotic lands where his beloved English shoes (or Dingo boots) would take him. He often lived a nomadic life in many hotels, motels and work camps in locales across the world. He was authentic, genuine, and, for the most part, didn’t really get along in groups of other people. However, he got along best with fellow Englishman Harry Shaw whom he met while drilling for oil in Alaska, and the two stayed thick as thieves until Harry’s passing last year. John Henry loved the Cheviot Hills and the idyllic countryside of northern England, but only as a visitor. He even named his boat The Cheviot Rose, which he sailed alone to San Diego and was stranded for a year trying to sell the damn thing to get back home. He loved to read, cook, and was always fond of the fine leather shoes that carried him on so many of his unknowable adventures. Yet without fail, his favourite topic of discussion was always the weather.
John Henry Statton died of natural causes on November 30 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He was predeceased by his parents and Aunt Lizzie, his wife Catherine, brothers Ernie and Kenneth, and sister Doreen. He is survived by his partner Donna, brother David, son John Gary (Karen), daughter Samantha, grandchildren John Ryan (Stephanie), Sarah (Keshan), and Delphin, and great-grandsons Malcolm and Archibald.
“A smooth sea never made a skilful mariner.”- English Proverb
Serenity Funeral Service, Spruce Grove 780 962-2749