John Rutherford moved from Montreal to Windsor and began volunteering with the Windsor Public Library in 1988. He decided to give something back to his new community by becoming a tutor for the adult literacy program, teaching his students to read. Later, Rutherford served as vice-president of the Windsor Volunteers for Literacy, an organization whose volunteers help between 40 and 50 people a year learn to read. His dedication to literacy and the public library did not end there. In 1993, he became president of the Friends of Riverside association and helped raise $1 million toward the construction of the Riverside branch to replace a crowded, crumbling former schoolhouse on Wyandotte Street East.
Expanding literacy is just one of the gifts Rutherford brought to Windsor. A Kiwanis member and president of the Kiwanis Music Festival of Windsor and Essex County, he raised funds for Windsor Regional Hospital and helped to organize the Kiwanis clubs’ annual Christmas dinner. He played an integral role in fundraising for the neo-natal unit at Windsor Regional Hospital, and was past-president and founder of the Windsor Public Library Council of Friends.
In 1998, he was instrumental in establishing the Windsor Public Library foundation. As president of the Foundation board, he raised funds for several projects for the Library. Rutherford made an impact with his hours of fundraising and other volunteer efforts for Windsor’s libraries in changing the community’s attitude toward the library system. Rutherford was the recipient of the outstanding volunteer award at the first annual philanthropy awards celebration hosted by the Canada South chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Rutherford succumbed to leukemia in 2006 after a hard-fought battle; he was 77.
“Over the years John was a very strong supporter of enhancing library services throughout the Windsor community,” said Brian Bell, acting library CEO. “He worked tirelessly, even during periods of his illness, to promote the benefits of the library and the potential of the library to have a positive impact on everyone’s lives.
Upon his death, the Rutherford family created the John Rutherford Fund established by the foundation to enhance reading facilities for adults and seniors.
The Windsor Star; Windsor, Ont. [Windsor, Ont] 16 Apr 1993: A5. Library seeking new home.
The Windsor Star; Windsor, Ont. [Windsor, Ont] 10 Dec 1993: A5. City gives a ‘go’ to new library for Riverside.
The Windsor Star; Windsor, Ont. [Windsor, Ont] 14 Aug 1996: B3. Story and Photo by Mark Crane, Special to, the Star. (1996, Aug 14). Library fundraiser: Friends book various events.
The Windsor Star; Windsor, Ont. [Windsor, Ont] 03 Mar 2001: A4. Dave Battagello Star, E. R. Beating the trend; Kiwanis music festival remains strong.
The Windsor Star; Windsor, Ont. [Windsor, Ont] 25 Jan 2006: A2. Library loses an advocate
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