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Who’s Who: John Rutherford was a popular prof, bookstore owner

A former Laurentian University professor and businessman whose stores were a fixture of downtown Sudbury for more than three decades passed away March 25 at the age of 78.

John Rutherford, along with Diane O’Donnell, his partner in life and business, owned Black Cat on Durham Street for 32 years.

The store, which carried typical convenience store items, as well as newspapers and magazines from around the world, closed in 2014, with Rutherford saying at the time it had become almost impossible to make a living in the city’s downtown.

At the time, Rutherford said he was looking forward to doing more cross-country skiing and cycling. “I’m too active to … pack it in, and so is Diane,” he said.

For more than a decade, Rutherford and O’Donnell also owned another Durham Street business called Black Cat Too that sold books, magazines and newspapers and also featured a cafe. It closed in 2008.

Rutherford’s obituary said he passed away peacefully at home, and thanked his home care nurses and the team at the Northeast Cancer Centre.

“John’s family is very grateful for the wonderful support given by friends and neighbors especially throughout his illness,” the obituary said.

“John, in all his eccentricity, was a very good and caring man. He would have done anything he could for any of his friends and acquaintances as well as for the good of his city and environment.

“He taught history for 39 years at Laurentian University and owned and managed the Black Cat stores in downtown Sudbury for more than 30 years.”

Rutherford wrote regular letters to the editor of newspapers expressing his strong views, especially about downtown development (or lack of it) and politicians at Tom Davies Square.

He was a member of the Save Lily Creek Committee that opposed the Lily Creek Shopping Complex in 1972. The area remains a natural wetland.

In keeping with Rutherford’s wishes, there will be no funeral service.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, people donate to the Northern Cancer Foundation.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Ranger’s Cremation and Burial Services Ltd. Online condolences can be posted at on the Ranger’s website.

 

JOHN RUTHERFORD

Passed away peacefully at his home on Monday, March 25, 2019 at the age of 78 years. John will be deeply missed by Diane O’Donnell his partner in life and business for 31 years. A very special thank you to his homecare nurses Joanne, Terri, Kaitland and the rest of his care team at the Northeast Cancer Centre for their professionalism and compassion. John’s family is very grateful for the wonderful support given by friends and neighbors especially throughout his illness. John, in all his eccentricity, was a very good and caring man. He would have done anything he could for any of his friends and acquaintances as well as for the good of his city and environment, he taught history for 39 years at Laurentian University and owned and managed the Black Cat Stores in downtown Sudbury for more than 30 years. In keeping with John’s wishes there will be no services. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made directly to the Northern Cancer Foundation. Arrangements have been entrusted to Ranger’s Cremation and Burial Services Ltd. On line condolences can be posted at www.RangersSudbury.com

 

 

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