BETHUNE, John Les­lie

Baddeck, N.S./Eto­bi­coke, Ont.

Cape Breton Post - - IN MEMORIAM -

John Les­lie Bethune, 53, passed away sud­denly of a mas­sive heart at­tack in Eto­bi­coke, Ont. on Jan. 4, 2015. Born on Jan­uary 3, 1962 in Baddeck, Cape Bre­ton Is­land, N.S. He was the sec­ond of four chil­dren of the late Crossie and Marie Bethune, still re­sid­ing in Baddeck. To say John was adept at many things is an un­der­state­ment and does not do him jus­tice. He ex­celled at many things such as sports play­ing bas­ket­ball and hockey as a youth. As many have said he mas­tered the art of hockey, he was like po­etry on ice and lovely to watch. A val­ued player and in­te­gral part of the team, he very much en­joyed team sports, their en­deav­ors and ca­ma­raderie.

As a young teenager John be­gan play­ing the guitar, in no time he was play­ing pro­fi­ciently both read­ing mu­sic and by ear. He would lis­ten to a song on the ra­dio, try to fig­ure it out and in a few min­utes be able to play the whole tune. He loved a chal­lenge. He spent many joy­ous hours play­ing with friends in a band or small jams and in soli­tude. He had a kind and gen­tle soul with a great sense of hu­mour. An­i­mals and young chil­dren seemed to be en­am­ored by him. Once he opened his heart ev­ery­one adored him. His neph­ews Zach and Justin have won­der­ful mem­o­ries of Un­cle John teach­ing them to play the guitar and hockey tech­niques.

Ed­u­cated in Cape Bre­ton and Antigo­nish, John then em­barked on an all too fa­mil­iar treck to Toronto in search of work where he re­mained for 32 years. Mostly with the love of his life Au­drey Ni­chol­son, for­merly from English­town, Cape Bre­ton Is­land. John and Au­drey be­gan dat­ing at 17 while both were at­tend­ing high school in Baddeck. Fol­low­ing high school, Au­drey moved to Toronto to join her sis­ter. Most def­i­nitely the rea­son why John went there, too. Love is a pow­er­ful draw.

Work­ing at a few dif­fer­ent jobs John then found his last em­ployer Nel­son Weld­ing, a fam­i­lyrun busi­ness. He en­joyed work­ing with Andy Bokma, his fa­ther and the guys for 20 years. John was loyal to the core. “He was a straight shooter, a de­voted and val­ued em­ployee,” said Andy.

John learned weld­ing and automotive me­chan­ics from his fa­ther, Crossie, both at home and while ‘tin­ker­ing’ at his grand­fa­ther’s busi­ness, Bethune’s Garage, a land­mark for many years on the main street of Baddeck. ‘ Tin­ker­ing’, build­ing and re­build­ing, re­solv­ing a chal­lenge were of­ten the norm with Crossie and the crew at Bethune’s Garage. John fit right in. The skills he learned car­ried with him to the end, in­clud­ing the love of a good laugh. John loved to laugh, jokes and hi­jinks and telling sto­ries, funny ones. John had a great sense of hu­mour.

He was pro­fi­cient at many things, seem­ingly any­thing he turned his hand to mu­sic, sports, weld­ing, build­ing dune bug­gies and road­sters. John en­joyed a chal­lenge, he would con­tinue un­til the prob­lem was solved, fig­ured out and done with, mov­ing on to the next one.

What can we say — we miss you John — we will al­ways miss you. It sad­dens our hearts to think you passed away with­out know­ing just how much you were loved by all of us.

In ad­di­tion to his life part­ner, Au­drey Ni­chol­son, Eto­bi­coke, Ont., he is sur­vived by his mother, Marie Bethune, Baddeck, N.S.; his broth­ers, Peter (Peggy) Char­lot­te­town, P.E.I., and Robert (Nona), Syd­ney Mines, N.S.; his sis­ter, Belinda Bethune, Hal­i­fax, N.S.; neph­ews, Zach (Melissa), Fort McMur­ray, Alta., Justin (Kristin), Syd­ney Mines, N.S.; nieces, Rachael, Kings Col­lege, Hal­i­fax, N.S., Stephi, Univer­sity of Vic­to­ria, Vic­to­ria, B.C., Sarah, Char­lot­te­town, P.E.I., and sev­eral aunts, un­cles and cousins scat­tered across Canada and USA.

Cre­ma­tion has taken place. A cel­e­bra­tion of life and burial cer­e­mony will be held on Aug. 1, 2015, at 11 a.m. in the Greenwood United Church in Baddeck, Cape Bre­ton Is­land, N.S. A re­cep­tion of light lunch and tea to fol­low in the church base­ment. Burial in English­town Ceme­tery, in a joint plot where Au­drey can be buried next to him, to fol­low the re­cep­tion. All are welcome.

In lieu of flow­ers the fam­ily re­quests do­na­tions can be made to the Vic­to­ria County Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal Char­i­ta­ble Fund, the SPCA, the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety, An­i­mal Res­cue or­ga­ni­za­tions or the char­ity of your choice.

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