Wise, The Honourable John Clayton of St. Thomas, passed away suddenly, on Wednesday, January 9th, 2013, at the L.H.S.C.(Victoria Campus), in his 78th year. Dearly loved husband and best friend of 54 years of Ann (Richardson) Wise. Devoted father of Susan McDonald of St. Thomas and Elizabeth and her husband Gerald Klose of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Much loved grandfather of Jess and Grant McDonald. Dear brother of Irene and her husband Paul Dodson of Casselman and brother-in-law of Debbie Russell (Marty) of Calgary and Trevor Richardson (Jean) of Tillsonburg. Sadly missed by a number of nieces and nephews. John was extremely proud of his family and his community. Always driven to succeed and expected the same from those closest to him, both family and friends. Equally was his thrill and joy in seeing success in others. John was born December 12th, 1935, in St. Thomas, the son of the late Clayton W. and Mary (White) Wise. He held a federal constituency in Elgin. John is a fifth generation dairy farmer. He held a number of positions including President of the Oxford and District Cattle Breeders Association (now Western Ontario Breeders). He was a past Chairman of the Elgin and St. Thomas Planning Boards, director of the Elgin Co-operative Services and also the honorary founding President of Soil Conservation Canada. He was active in farm organizations and in municipal politics and planning for more than 15 years. He was elected to municipal council in 1960, assuming Warden’s title in 1969. Three years later, he ran as a PC candidate and was elected to represent the rural riding of Elgin in the House of Commons. He was re-elected in 1974, 1979, 1980 and 1984-winning every poll with the largest majority on record. He served two terms as Minister of Agriculture and retired from federal politics prior to the 1988 election. One of the highlights for John while he was Minister of Agriculture was to establish new research stations and laboratories in London, Guelph and throughout Canada. Soon after his retirement John was recognized for his contributions to Canadian agriculture by being named Honorary Veterinary Director General of Health of Animals and honorary member of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. A research branch of Agriculture Canada established the John Wise Fellowship Award in his honour and a number of organizations and individuals in Elgin County joined to establish a scholarship in his name to help local students. John is a retired member of the Queen’s Privy Council and a past member of the Board of Directors of Amtelcom and past chair of the boards of the Canadian Livestock Exporters Association and the Canadian Embryo Exports Association. He was a 32 degree Mason with Masonic Lodge #546 A.F. and A.M and he was a Shriner. John successfully chaired the “Home Is Where the Heart Is Fundraiser” for the new Elgin Manor. In 2009 John was honoured having a St. Thomas public school named after him.
A public service to celebrate John’s life will be held at Knox Presbyterian Church, 55 Hincks St., St. Thomas on Monday at 1:00 p.m. Private interment in Union Cemetery. Visitation at the Knox Presbyterian Church on Monday from 11:00-1:00 p.m. Remembrances may be made to the Canadian Food Bank, 2150 Lakeshore Blvd. Etobicoke, M8V 1A3 or the charity of choice. Williams Funeral Home, 45 Elgin St., St. Thomas in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org