April 23,1954 – October 26, 2023

It is with profound sadness that the family of John Dunford announces his sudden passing on October 26, 2023 in Kamloops, BC.

He is survived by his loving wife of 23 years, Charlene; their children Becky (Nathanael), Todd (Keely) and Ali and his grandchildren whom he adored; Brielle, Sophie, Tristan, Violet and Elias. He is also survived by his brothers Brian (Barb), Peter (Connie), Paul (Karen) and sister Anice (Mark). He was predeceased by his parents George and Doreen, and his beautiful daughter Jodi.

John loved being a forester and took great pride in the profession. He was well respected and well liked.  John worked for Tolko Industries for over 23 years. John was Professional Forester of the Year in 2010 (by the BC Association of Forest Professionals). He served a four-year term on the BC Forest Practices Board, three as vice-chair, where he was recognized as bringing a fair and balanced perspective to the Board. Nationally, for over a decade John served as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Forestry Committee for the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC). He led the Woodland Caribou and Forest Certification sub-committees always bringing thoughtful solutions to these policy conversations. He was also a member of the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) Forestry Committee during this time. For many years John championed the importance of sustainable forestry. He served as Director and Chair of Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) Canada, and represented PEFC Canada internationally on several boards and working groups.

John’s family, friends and coworkers will remember him as a genuinely kind, gentle and loving soul. He had a quick wit and great sense of humour. John touched the lives of many and left knowing how incredibly loved he was. He will be forever missed. 

A Celebration of Life will be held in May 2024 in Kamloops BC. Date and location to be determined.

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22 Tributes

  1. Gwen Ruby
    Posted November 9, 2023 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    John, you will always be dear to my heart. I loved him like a brother even though he was my cousin. He was the kindest and funniest guy and very well-loved by all who knew him.
    Rest in Peace. Until we meet again.

  2. Sheila & Ray Howard
    Posted November 9, 2023 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Charlene & Family: You are in our thoughts & prayers. It has been many years since we last saw John. We will always remember how happy he always was and his smile.. May he rest in peace. Auntie Sheila & Uncle Ray

  3. Adele
    Posted November 9, 2023 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Such a nice and gentle man. Hard to believe we won’t ever see you again. You just never know when the last time will be. Rest in peace. Condolences to all❤️

  4. Kathy Abusow
    Posted November 9, 2023 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    John was an amazing individual, friend, colleague and leader. He always made the room smile with his endearing wit, and he could poke fun at himself as much as he had fun with others. John worked tirelessly behind the scenes as well as in the front row to make a difference to the people around him and the forest sector as a whole. He was an empathetic, caring, and kind soul. He is and will be missed dearly. My thoughts, condolences and sympathies are with you Char. Let the happy memories carry you through these very difficult times.

  5. Tim Gauthier
    Posted November 9, 2023 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I was saddened by the news of John passing. You will be missed

  6. Ilich Lama
    Posted November 10, 2023 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    John will be dearly missed. Only a few moments were needed, once you met this man for the first time, to appreciate his wit, his sharp and strategic mind, and that welcoming smile. I’ll keep those few, but extremely lively and witty moments with him close to my heart. My thoughts are with the awesome Charlene and his family.

  7. Kirsten Vice
    Posted November 10, 2023 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    It was with profound sadness that I heard of John’s passing. I was fortunate to work alongside John on many committees and initiatives throughout much of his career, and will forever remember the impact of his presence — both in terms of his wit, and in terms of the challenging, important questions he posed that had a profound effect on the way in which the industry considered how best to address the increasingly complex challenges it faced on the forest environment and sustainability landscape. He brought his kindness and graciousness to all he interacted with, and I tremendously enjoyed working with him throughout his years representing Tolko on NCASI’s Canadian committees, including his tenure as Chair of our Canadian Forestry Program Committee. His legacy will live on in the effectiveness of the forestry research he helped shape, and in the friendships he nurtured. My heart goes out to Charlene and his family.

  8. Lesley WoodrowGibson
    Posted November 10, 2023 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Oh Johnny, you are so missed. From the same gneeration, you’ve been a constant in my life in the Howard extended family. So many fond memories of time spent with my Dunford cousins.Like your dad, my uncle and Godfather, you had a way of making me smile and laugh, no matter what. Behind that dry, sarcastic wit was a kind, gentle soul in love with nature and mankind. I’ll never forget you or the wonderful memories you have left behind.

  9. Sheila & Raymond How
    Posted November 10, 2023 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Charlene & Family: You are in our thoughts and prayers. It has been a few years since we seen John. We remember him as a very happy person with a great smile. May he rest in peace. Auntie Sheila & Uncle Ray

  10. Brian Giles
    Posted November 10, 2023 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I was a woodlands contractor at Tolko for many years. Although I don’t recall ever working with John directly our paths crossed any number of times. Back in the mid nineties I also recall meeting John at the Kamloops Yacht Club as we were there with our significant others trying to learn the two step. If someone was to ask me for one sentence to describe John, it would be “he was a genuinely nice person.
    My condolences.

  11. Derek Nighbor
    Posted November 10, 2023 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    On behalf of our team at Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) – to Charlene, John’s children, his family and friends – I share our love and deepest sympathies. Many current and former staff members at FPAC were pretty shocked and saddened to receive this news. It showed in real time the great affection and respect that John earned from our group over the years – and the lasting power of his actions and contributions. In talking with a few current and former staff members, a common theme was talk of how kindly he treated people. In his honour, maybe we could all draw some inspiration from that and do as John did. He was a gentleman, a committed volunteer, and he made our industry better. Rest in Peace.

  12. Brett Clibbery
    Posted November 11, 2023 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    When I heard this sad news I broke into tears. John was an exceptional person , a dear friend for most of my life and someone I will never forget. Fly like an eagle my friend. The world will miss you!

  13. Pat Linge
    Posted November 13, 2023 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    We were very saddened to hear the news of John’s passing. Our condolences to you Charlene and the family. May John rest in Peace. He was a great guy and will be missed by all who worked along side of him at Tolko.
    Pat & Patsy Linge.

  14. William Merivale
    Posted November 15, 2023 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    I first met John exactly ten years ago. We were squashed into the back of a jeep, deep in the Malaysian rainforest, on a memorable PEFC field trip. It was the first of a number of meetings – fewer, probably, than there would have been because Covid rather got in the way – but I have very fond memories of them all. He was great company, a fount of knowledge, deeply compassionate, and a joy to spend time with, and it was a great shock to hear the news of his death. My sincerest condolences to you all, and may he rest in peace.

  15. Joe Lawson
    Posted November 23, 2023 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    I am deeply saddened to hear of John’s passing. He was truly one of the good ones. Always optimistic and smiling, he was a pleasure to be around. The forestry community has lost another great member and my sincere condolences go out to his family. Rest in peace, John!

  16. Paula Wardle
    Posted November 23, 2023 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    I am so saddened to hear about this loss. John always had a smile on his face and lighted up the room, making work functions so much more enjoyable. My condolences to his family. He will be missed, but never forgotten.

  17. Jennifer Morrison
    Posted November 23, 2023 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Sending our condolences to Charlene and John’s families. This is sad news as I know of the work that John did in his career along side his love of family and Charlene.

  18. Norm Chow
    Posted November 23, 2023 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    John, we will miss you! Your gentle, friendly and caring nature towards everyone you met! You were a gifted professional who made a difference with your knowledge, drive and passion for work and life! My fond memory of a truly inspiring human being! You will be missed by all of us who met you! Our deepest sympathies!
    Norm & Rowena

  19. Cindy Macdonald
    Posted November 23, 2023 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I am deeply saddened to hear of John’s passing and sorry for your profound loss. I worked alongside John on many provincial and federal forestry issues over the years representing the companies we worked for and the industry. John’s intelligence, humour and diplomacy were invaluable. He could always lighten the mood in tense times with his wry comments and humour. My deepest condolences to his family.

  20. Stefan Demharter
    Posted November 23, 2023 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely shocked and deeply saddened to hear of John’s passing. My condolences and deepest sympathy to the family. John was a gifted professional and wonderful human being. May he Rest in Peace. He will be missed dearly!

  21. Mark Hopkins
    Posted November 30, 2023 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    I am truly sorry to hear of John’s passing. My condolences to Charlene and his family. I always enjoyed our professional encounters, but my most lasting images of John are from those late night, pick-up hockey games of decades ago. A bunch of sweaty guys sitting around the dressing room enjoying a post game brew. So much fun. You are missed already John.

  22. Noel Dunford
    Posted December 5, 2023 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    John was born when I was a teenager. I was thirty. His questions and thoughtfulness about life influenced me. At thirty, I thought I knew all about anything that mattered. I was wrong.
    As a teen ager, John’s thoughts and questions were intelligent and logical. He made me think and opened up my mind.
    Maybe the geographic location of Kenora and Lake of the Woods where John grew up is an area where activities like hunting, fishing and trail-walking, give clues to learn to face life’s challenges. John loved that challenge.
    Helping others and working effectively with all types of people in the “bush” was a big strength in John’s character.
    To John’s family and friends, I give my heartful condolences. John, memory of you by all those who knew you will live on. I loved you, John and will remember you as an honest upright guy who everyone could always count on. Noel Dunford

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