John Albert Nightingale of Esterhazy, Saskatchewan passed away peacefully on July 2, 2021, at the Esterhazy Centennial Special Care Home at the age of 85 years.
He was born to Harry and Dora Nightingale on May 15, 1936, in his parents’ home at Okla, Saskatchewan. His birth was attended to by his grandmother, Mercy Nightingale. This home was a very small log shack where his family lived until he was 10 years old. John was the eldest of three children, including sisters, Florence and Carolyn. He spent his childhood years in the Okla area until his high school graduation. Part of his high school was completed by correspondence and finished in Sturgis, Saskatchewan.
He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, just before marrying Patricia Banman originally from Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, on May 6, 1961. They started their life together in Wawa, Ontario, where their three children, Merle, Brent and Bradley were born. While the children were living at home, they lived in Esterhazy and Fraser Lake, BC. John and Pat later resided in Saskatoon and Elliot Lake, Ontario before moving back to Saskatchewan, finally retiring in Esterhazy.
Work achievements included numerous senior leadership positions in mining companies, including General Manager of IMC Esterhazy, Vice President of IMC Canada, President and CEO of Key Lake Mining Corp, President and CEO of Cigar Lake Mining Corp, with his last position before retirement being President of Rio Algom’s Elliot Lake division. Other notable accomplishments included serving as President of the Saskatchewan Mining Association, President of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Board of Governors of the University of Saskatchewan, and Vice Chair of the Saskatchewan Research Council.
In 1992, John received the Governor General’s Commemorative Medal for service to Canada, the Province and Community. In 2013, he received the CTV Hometown Hero award, recognizing his many volunteer accomplishments including design and construction of the Saskatchewan Potash Interpretive Centre in Esterhazy and initiation of the Esterhazy Historical Park. Also in 2013, he was recognized by the City of Saskatoon when he had 5 streets named after him in the newly developed Kensington neighbourhood.
John also served 11 years on health boards, including over seven years with the Sunrise Regional Health Board. He served as Mayor of Esterhazy from 2000 to 2003.
Even with all his accomplishments, John was a humble person. He was an attendee of the Esterhazy United Church and Esterhazy Full Gospel Fellowship.
One of his more interesting retirement activities included rat control in some of the RMs in the Esterhazy area. His recreational activities included hunting, gun collecting, flying, bowling, playing and coaching hockey, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, quadding, golfing, and volunteer work with Meals on Wheels. He finally retired from playing hockey at age 81, took a weekend snowmobile trip at 82, was still hunting at 83, and played a few holes of golf at 84!!
He loved wildlife and helped build a birding trail on his land in the Kaposvar valley northwest of Esterhazy. He kept it up for many years until it became too much for him to take care of. He recently donated this quarter section of land to Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation’s Habitat Trust Fund as a permanent wildlife refuge to preserve habitat so that future generations will be able to enjoy nature as we do today.
He was predeceased by his wife, Patricia (Banman) Nightingale, father, J. Harry Nightingale, mother Dorhildur [Dora] (Josephson) Nightingale, his sister Florence (Nightingale) McGinnis and his daughter-in-law, Brenda (Christian) Nightingale.
Surviving him are his sister Carolyn (Ken) Yu, brother-in-law Clifford McGinnis, daughter Merle (Michael) Ross, sons Brent (Charlene) Nightingale and Brad (Nyla) Nightingale, 10 grandchildren, 7 step-grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the staff of the Centennial Special Care Home for their wonderful care of John over the past many months. Special thanks to Dr. S. Punia and Dr. M. Nel for the care they provided.
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Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation
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