BETHUNE, John Leslie
Baddeck, N.S./Etobicoke, Ont.
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.