John Dennison: Celebrating the life of a champion

Judge John Dennison 1947-2014

John G. Dennison : Proud Canadian, indefatigable champion for Canadian black history, culture and achievement

DENNISON, John, G.  (June  22, 1947 – January 14, 2014)
Passed away on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 after a brave battle with cancer. John  attended the Queen’s College of Guyana.  He held a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Laurentian University in Sudbury, and a Master’s degree in Political Science from Carleton University. John was the first black person appointed as Citizenship Judge for Ottawa on June 4, 2012.  He had over 25 years of experience working on multiculturalism related issues in the Government of Canada, including at Citizenship and Immigration and Canadian Heritage. He was the Founding Chairman of Cathedral Arts, the performing and visual arts programme of Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa. He has served on the Ottawa Public Library Board Foundation and volunteered with a number of community organizations in Ottawa.

John has been the recipient of a number of awards including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award Medal; Lignum Vitae Award from the National Institute of Jamaican Canadians for outstanding leadership in the Ottawa community; Community Builder Award, from United Way of Ottawa, for contributing to the engagement of the Black community in the arts in Ottawa; and, Award of Excellence, from the North American Black Historical Museum and Society Inc., for exceptional contribution to improving awareness and appreciation of Black Canadian Heritage.

He is survived by his sisters: June, Joye and Vivienne;  brothers Courtney and Kenneth; only niece, Carol;
nephews Richard, Charles, Ronald, and Mark and a number of great nieces and great nephews and Godchildren.

Hundreds of friends and colleagues joined John’s family at his funeral service at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa, on Sunday January 19, 2014.  A “celebration of life” will be held for Judge Dennison at a later date.

Submitted by Sarah Onyango

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