John Carman Ricker



John died August 7, 2022, after a long illness and a remarkable life during which he had a significant influence on the people and institutions he touched.


Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto.


Member of the Order of Canada: “John Ricker transformed how Canadian history was taught in the second half of the 20th century. Building on his experience as a secondary school teacher, he wrote or edited more than a dozen school textbooks that engaged students by combining up-to-date scholarship content with an entertaining style. Notably, How Are We Governed? has become a classic text. Also a beloved mentor, he went on to become the Dean of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Education, where he contributed to the development of generations of Ontario teachers.”


Certificate of Recognition awarded by the Minister of Veteran Affairs for his “selfless acts of service and sacrifice during the Second World War, in defending Canada and our shared values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.”


The patriarch of a loving family who adored him: his beloved wife of 44 years, Marvi Ricker; his daughters, Catherine Whittaker, Judith Brown (Gordon) and Martha Ricker (George); grandchildren, John (Mandy), Anthony (Jenna) and Sarah (Chris) Whittaker; Matthew (Mallory), Cameron (Amy) and Kathleen (Ryan) Brown; Allison (Chris) and Stephen Phillips; 11 great-grandchildren; his nieces and nephews, Jane Morley, Mathew, Christine and Andrew Heinola.


For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings that then I scorn to change my state with kings. (Shakespearean Sonnet XXIX.)

A Celebration of John’s Life will occur in the coming months. If desired, and in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Ricker Family Fund at UHN Foundation, the John and Marvi Ricker Scholarship at U of T’s Victoria College, or a charity of your choice. Condolences may be forwarded through


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