Development & Alumni Relations Office 


William John Ernest (John) Crawford, BSc (ECON) (died 2 April 2020, aged 76)


Obituary available online at:


John was born in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. His early years were spent in the town of Cloughmills, where his father was manager of the local farmers' co-operative association. He attended Ballymena Academy, a grammar school, for his secondary education and, in 1960, went to Queen's University Belfast, where he studied Economics.


On graduation, he joined the accountancy firm of Wright Fitzsimmons and Cameron and as part of his work with the firm, he audited the accounts for the UK factories owned by the Canadian company Mundet. At the request of the owner, he moved to Toronto to become Chief Financial Officer of the company, where he remained until his retirement. He became a Canadian citizen and lived in Toronto's mid-town Annex neighbourhood for more than 30 years. John was the "anchor" of the neighbourhood - chatting with passers-by of Huron Street and Madison Avenue, delighting in new mothers and their babies, showing affection to the various dogs and their owners as he lovingly tended to his front garden.


His memorable laugh, elegant hats and red wine celebratory glass will be missed. John was an avid reader, a raconteur extraordinaire and an expert at mixology (those martinis!). He was a regular attendee at arts events, especially film and theatre, and a patron of the National Ballet, Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum.


Despite his years in Canada, John never lost his Irish accent and retained a deep affection for Northern Ireland returning frequently to visit family and friends. He was predeceased by an older brother, George, who had immigrated to Australia with his wife, Irene, and three children with whom John remained in close touch. John passed away with dignity and courage, facing advanced cancer with acceptance. Friends read him poems until his last day, his favourite poet was Yeats.


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