John Gilbart

John Wesley Gilbart

1939 - 2023

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Obituary of John Wesley Gilbart


June 2, 1939 (Stratford) – May 20, 2023 (Bowmanville)  


Our wonderful scholar has now left the classroom of life for the classroom of higher learning.  John passed away peacefully in Lakeridge Health Bowmanville.


Reunited with his parents, Elva (McClure) and Wesley Gilbart, and his brother Ron. He was very proud of and loved his family.  Center in his life were his wife Lilla, his daughters Sarah (Steven) Cooke and Melanie.  Dear Grampa to Reagan, Olivia and Charlotte; brother-in-law to Jean (Joe) Narbonne; uncle to Doug (Kelly) Gilbart, Katherine (Rob) Narbonne-Mirchin, Joanna (Jason) Detamore; great-uncle to Ben, Logan; Ben, Chloe; and Abigail; grand-friend to Barb and Ron Cooke.  John will be remembered by a host of extended family, many friends, colleagues and neighbours whose relationships were very special to him.


Wonder lust and wanderlust flowed in John’s veins from early childhood.  Always interested in the world around him, from Stratford to cities and countries across the globe, he was adventurous, curious, determined, friendly, witty, diplomatic and always on the lookout for a learning opportunity!


Known also as Jay, MR. Gilbart, Sir John of the Corentyne, John Beard and Mr. G., he relished in the teachable moment, especially when it was connected with geography, history, politics and playing Cribbage.


After graduating from Western with a B.A., (General Arts 1962) and then McMaster with an M.A. (History 1964), he worked in the Department of International Affairs in Ottawa. Not terribly satisfied with a desk job, he applied for a posting at the Canadian Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana, South America where he served as an attaché/diplomat. 


A teacher by training post-University, he taught in Port Dover, Elora, West Hill (Scarborough) and in the ESL program at George Brown, Toronto.  Seeking more knowledge, he became a Real Estate agent, then Broker, in the Toronto Real Estate Board where he worked for thirty years before retiring.


A man of faith, John was a member of Central United (Stratford), then Humber crest UC (Toronto) where he was active for over thirty years involved in committee/presbytery work.  In particular, his passion lay with First Nations and, as well as attending Aboriginal meetings and conferences, he helped organize one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings (Toronto).  When he moved to Bowmanville, he joined St. Paul’s UC and became a member of the Indigenous Circle of Friends and Advocates Committee.


While we so mourn the loss of this likeable man, his character, his great mind, his incredible memory and his ability to bring people together, we also recognize that he is at last free of pain, the struggle to walk, and in the end, the struggle with Cancer which he faced with much dignity and courage. 


John’s wish to make a tissue donation through the Trillium Gift of Life has been fulfilled.  His eyes will be used for research and training.  Cremation has taken place.


Arrangements entrusted to Northcutt Elliott Funeral Home, 53 Division St., Bowmanville, 905-623-5668

VISITATION:  Northcutt Elliott Funeral Home, Thursday, June 1, 6:00 – 8:00 pm.

A CELEBRATION OF LIFE SERVICE will be held Saturday, June 3, 1:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s United Church, 178 Church St. Bowmanville, followed by a reception at the church.


In memory of John, donations may be made to St. Paul’s United Church, 178 Church St., Bowmanville ON L1C 1T9 905-623-7361, Lakeridge Health Bowmanville Hospital Foundation, 47 Liberty St. S., Bowmanville ON L1C 2N4 905-623-3331 ext. 21881, Canadian Cancer Society, 55 St. Clair Ave. W., Ste. 500, Toronto ON M4V 2Y7 1-800-268-8874


                                                                                                               Arrangements entrusted to NORTHCUTT ELLIOTT FUNERAL HOME 53 Division St. N. Bowmanville. 

 Online condolences may be made at:


Memorial Visitation

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Thursday, June 1, 2023
Northcutt Elliott Funeral Home
53 Division St.
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
(905) 623-5668

Memorial Funeral Service

1:00 pm
Saturday, June 3, 2023
St. Paul's United Church
178 Church Street
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada