John first fell in love with Africa during a two-year volunteer placement with Cuso International. John’s experience teaching high school in Ghana in 1963 changed his life forever. Upon his return to Canada, John ran Cuso’s West Africa program before studying law at Dalhousie University and Harvard. John practiced labour law in Vancouver for 20 years, where he became a respected figure in the labour movement and mentored many young lawyers.
John’s love for Africa led him to co-found Partners in the Horn of Africa (PIHA), a Canadian aid organization that worked with communities in Ethiopia. PIHA developed into a $1 million per year organization that supported Ethiopians–particularly young girls and young women–in remote rural locations. The organization raised millions of dollars and partnered with Ethiopian communities to build, operate and maintain libraries, schools, footbridges and wells.
John passed away on December 3, 2016. He was posthumously awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his work with developing communities in Ethiopia.