Colonel The Honourable Robert Campbell Rutherford



NOVEMBER 29, 1922 – APRIL 3, 2018


Robert (Bob) Rutherford died peacefully under superb care at K-Wing, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto after a life of devoted service to his country in war and peace as a Soldier, Lawyer, Judge, Royal Commissioner, tireless volunteer and fundraiser for veterans and their families in need.


Predeceased by his father the late Brigadier-General Thomas John Rutherford, CBE, ED, his mother Helen Sibbald, and wives Elizabeth Ann (“Betsy”) Sutcliffe, and Donna Lee Richards, and siblings Jaffray, Anne and Bruce.  He is survived by his daughter Susan (Jesus) and Robert (Kath); grandchildren Nicola and Brendan, sisters‑in‑law Sally Gardner (John), Molly Harper (Chuck), Louise Sutcliffe and Shelley Richards (Koichi); 12 nephews and nieces; and 26 great-nephews and great-nieces.


Born in Owen Sound, Ontario, Bob was raised on the family farm at Leith, Ontario.  A King’s Scout and graduate of Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute, with the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the Grey and Simcoe Foresters Regiment while still underage. Transferred to the Governor‑General's Horse Guards, he served in Africa, Italy and Northwest Europe as a tank, troop, and squadron commander.  Promoted Captain at the age of 21 in Italy, he was awarded a Military MBE for gallantry during the Battle of Monte Cassino and the Liberation of Rome.  Continued service followed in Northwest Europe and Germany until VE Day.


At the end of the War he earned admission to and graduated from Khaki College in London, England and then Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto.  Bob was called to the bar in 1950 and practiced as a civil and criminal barrister with the Toronto firm Phelan, O'Brien, Rutherford, Lawer and Shannon.  He was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1960.


Bob Rutherford joined the Governor‑General's Horse Guards in 1947 and commanded the regiment from 1956 to 1960, serving as Honorary Aide‑De‑Camp to Governors‑General Vincent Massey and Georges Vanier.  He was later appointed Honorary Lieutenant‑Colonel of the Horse Guards (1976‑1980), Honorary Colonel of his old regiment the Grey and Simcoe Foresters (1980‑1997), and elected President of the Royal Canadian Military Institute (1973‑1976).


In later life he served as chair of the Gurkha Welfare Trust and devoted much of his time to fundraising for the veterans of the Brigade of Gurkhas.  He remained close to the military for the rest of his life and was an outstanding advocate for many veterans issues.  In 1975 he received the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal and in 1998 the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation Humanitarian Award.


Bob was a Knight of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and a Knight Commander of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem; a Past Governor of Trinity College School, Port Hope, Ontario; an Honorary Life Director of the Canadian Equestrian Federation, Life Member of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps Association, Governor of the Corps of Commissionaires of Ontario, and a Member of the St. Andrew's Society of Toronto.


A member of Delta Chi fraternity, he lectured on civil procedure in the Bar Admission Course at Osgoode Hall, was a Member of the Council of the Medico‑Legal Society of Toronto, a Director of the Advocates' Society, a Member of the York County Law Association, the Lawyers Club of Toronto and the International Association of Insurance Law.  He served on the York County Legal Aid Committee and was Vice‑Chair of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.  He also served as a Bencher with the Law Society of Upper Canada.


In 1979 Bob Rutherford was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ontario, and Judge of the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada. He was appointed a Commissioner of the Inquiry into the Deployment of Canadian Forces to Somalia (1994‑1997) and as Ontario's Integrity Commissioner (1997‑2001).


Bob always enjoyed spending extended periods of time at his cottage at Leith, Ontario, in the company of family and lifelong friends.  It was where he was happiest.


The family expresses deepest thanks to caregivers Winsome, Lilly, Lera, Gani, Daphne, Mel and Joanese, to therapist Alisha, and to Dr. Hung and the nurses and staff at K-Wing.  Special gratitude is owed to the late John Lawer, QC, Bob's friend and former law partner, the law firm of Legge & Legge; and to Colonel Michael Stevenson.


The family will receive friends at the Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles – Newbigging Chapel, 1403 Bayview Avenue (south of Davisville Avenue) from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 12th.  A memorial service will take place at the Royal Canadian Military Institute, 426 University Avenue, on Friday, April 13th friends are welcome to gather at 12:30 p.m. with a service to follow at 1:00 p.m.  Interment will take place at Leith Cemetery, 419134 Tom Thomson Lane, Leith, on Saturday, April 14th at 12:00 p.m.  Condolences, photographs and memories may be forwarded through