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WALTON, Dr. John Sydney



October 5, 1949 – August 22, 2016

Passed away peacefully in Guelph, Ontario on August 22nd, 2016 surrounded his loving family following a very brief illness and an ongoing battle with lymphoma.  John’s greatest love was his family and is survived by his wife of 44 years, Valerie; children, Tom and Jen, son-in-law Dan and grandchildren Allison and Wesley (Guelph, Ontario).  Sisters Sylvia and Margaret (predeceased) and brother-in-law to Hilary, Ian, Ingrid and Austin; favourite UDJ (uncle) to nieces and nephews in the UK and surrogates in Canada.  Dear friends Steve and Ann Leeson, Ian and Elisabeth Duncan and Claudia Etches, Colin Angus (Guelph, Ontario) and Kay and David Garman and family (UK).  Sadly missed by many friends, students and colleagues at the University of Guelph and around the world.

John was born October 5, 1949 on a hill farm in County Durham, England growing up in the farming community of Barnard Castle meeting his wife at Teesdale School.  He graduated from the University of Reading, BSc., PhD and immigrated to Canada in 1979 to take up the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Guelph.  He became associate professor in 1985 and full professor from 1990-2009.  His major fields of research have focused on animal reproduction, beginning his career with a strong focus on sheep but in latter years dedicated his energy to the dairy industry. 

Moving to Eramosa Township in 1992 his lifelong passion for farming led to his establishment of a small flock of Charolais sheep.  A strong supporter of local youth sports he was a fixture at Tom and Jen’s soccer, baseball, softball and ringette games.  John always made time for his Premier League soccer and Blue Jays Baseball which have lost a major fan and his colleagues have lost an active debater and philosopher.

For more than a decade he has been instrumental in coordinating and leading a senior undergraduate course “Challenges and Opportunities in Animal Production” and from this the selection of a team to represent the University at the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge competition.  John’s passion for delivering the course, mentoring the team and networking with the local farming community was immense.  His unbridled enthusiasm for the dairy industry and for training these future professionals was infectious.

In lieu of flowers, the family invites you to make a donation in his memory to the University of Guelph Dairy Challenge Initiative.  An internet link is to be established to facilitate the donation, until then please call 519-824-4120 ext. 56934.

His wishes were for a party in his honour in lieu of formal services.  The family invites you to join us at this event on Friday September 23rd between 6 and 9 p.m. at the Puslinch Community Centre.  Please dust off your memories and come along and share them as we laugh, cry and celebrate his life.

Arrangements entrusted to the GILCHRIST CHAPEL – McIntyre & Wilkie Funeral Home, One Delhi Street, Guelph, (519-824-0031). We invite you to leave your condolences and donations online at