The Rev. Dr. John Hartley

Obituary of The Rev. Dr. John Hartley



It is with profound sadness that we announce that John peacefully drifted into the next life on Sunday, February 3rd, 2019, at age 76, after a battle with pancreatic cancer which he faced with dignity and grace.

John lived in Toronto with his wife Barbara.  She and his children, Bruce (Dr. Cristina Robinson-Hartley) and Jennifer (Tom Rosser) and his grandchildren Jacob, Anna and Chloé are thankful and were blessed for having had him in their lives, as everyone who knew him was. He also leaves behind brother Robert Hartley (Dartmouth), sister-in-law Maggie Sharpe (Kelowna, BC) many nieces and nephews and countless cousins.

Predeceased by his mother Hattie Mae Hartley, father Allan Richard Hartley and brothers Blair and Alfred, John led a long and full life.

John was born in Halifax Nova Scotia.  He grew up in Imperoyal Village, near the city.  His call to ministry took him to Mount Allison University, where he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree followed by a Master of Divinity, Pine Hill Divinity Hall.  His love of learning continued his whole life earning him a Master of Theology from the Atlantic School of Theology, a Master of Arts from the University of Windsor and PhD (English) from the University of Western Ontario.

A United Church Minister for over 54 years, he ministered to five pastoral charges. Gaspé, Cap-Aux-Os and Murdochville (Québec); Erskine and American United Church (Montréal); Trinity United Church (Ottawa); Lincoln Road United Church (Windsor, Ontario) and St. Andrew’s United Church (Toronto).

He served in the wider work of the United Church of Canada on the National Division of the Communications, General Council Executive. 

His board work included, Victoria University, Vice-President of the Board of Directors and Chairperson of the Business Unit, Christian Communication Council of Churches of the Metropolitan Detroit Churches and Essex County, and the Montreal Religious Advisory Committee to the CBC and Shakespeare’s Globe Canada.

John and Barbara took up long-distance running, completing a number of marathons since 2009 and he wrote two books, Looking Back:  Experiences and Reflections and Imperoyal Village, Our Place in the Past.

A Celebration of his life will be held at Timothy Eaton Memorial United Church, on Monday, February 11, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. 230 St. Clair Ave W, Toronto ON.

Visitation will take place 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at Humphrey Funeral Home, 1403 Bayview Ave, Toronto ON.

In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the United Church Mission and Service Fund. Many thanks to the dedicated staff at Princess Margaret Hospital.

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