Westmount a le regret de vous informer du décès de M. John Lehnert qui fut conseiller de la Ville entre 1991 et 1995

John Lehnert
28 NOVEMBRE 1928-26 NOVEMBRE 2020

John Lehnert est décédé au centre de soins de longue durée du Château Westmount à Montréal, un jour avant son 92e anniversaire. Il laisse dans le deuil sa femme Shirley, ses fils Tim (Heather) du Rhode Island et Dominic (Joanne) de Toronto, ainsi que ses petits-enfants Nadya, Miko, Tabitha et Spencer.

Toutes nos condoléances à sa famille.

Veuillez lire l’avis de décès officiel ci-dessous (en anglais) :



John Lehnert

28 NOVEMBER, 1928–26 NOVEMBER, 2020

John Lehnert died at the Chateau Westmount long-term care facility in Montreal, one day before his ninety-second birthday. He is survived by his wife Shirley, and by his sons Tim (Heather) of Rhode Island, and Dominic (Joanne) of Toronto, as well as by his grandchildren Nadya, Miko, Tabitha and Spencer.

John was born Hans Lehnert on November 27, 1928 in Vienna, Austria, the only child of Richard and Bettina. His father was Jewish, and his mother Catholic, although he was raised in a secular environment. Much of his immediate and extended family left Austria with the rise of the Nazis, and the country’s annexation by Germany. In 1938, John was sent to live with aunts in Zurich, Switzerland and remained there for three years, a period that he remembers fondly. During this time, his father moved to England to establish the family, but died there of a heart infection. John’s mother then emigrated to the U.S., and in 1942 John joined her. He left Switzerland carrying a passport with the red letter “J” on it, indicating Jewish, and as a thirteen-year-old traveled solo through France to Barcelona and then to Lisbon where he took the Clipper “flying boat” to New York. From there he went to Ohio, where his mother was training as a psychiatric social worker. (He lived at the Beachbrook Children’s Home near Cleveland while his mother completed her studies). They subsequently moved to New York, and John attended high school at the Windsor Mountain School in Vermont, and the Walden School in New York. He then went to Harvard (which he loved) and Harvard Law (which he did not). While at Harvard, he staffed a newspaper/candy stand, and during his time in high school and college held varied jobs including farm hand, peach picker (Merced, California), camp counselor, carpenter’s helper and mine laborer (Butte, Montana). After completing his law degree and passing the New York State bar, John served in the U.S. Army in New Jersey and Maryland, and then returned to New York. He subsequently moved to Rochester, NY, where he met his future wife Shirley, a Brit, who was then a researcher at the University of Rochester. They were married in 1961 in London, and in the 1960s and early 70s lived in Rochester, Montreal, Toronto, and the NYC area (during this period their sons were born; Tim in 1966, and Dominic in 1969). The family moved to Montreal in 1973 and remained there.

John served as legal counsel for companies in the U.S. and Canada including R.T. French, Massey Ferguson, Alcan, Northern Telecom, and Bell. He also worked in the administration of New York City Mayor John Lindsay in the late 1960s. In 1981, he self-published the book When in Doubt, Sue a critique of the U.S. litigation explosion. His final position prior to his 1992 retirement was with Bell Canada, and he served as a Westmount City Councilor from 1991-95.

In addition to politics, which he followed intently, John’s passions included art, architecture, history, and travel. He wrote about these topics in essays that appeared on his website Riposte Journal, which was most active in the early 2000s. He was also a landscape painter, and enjoyed music, movies and theater. John was devoted to helping others, whether through Dominion Douglas/Mountainside Church, or his own free-lance efforts. John worked with incarcerated people and refugees, as well as on behalf of anti-poverty organizations (his duties included staffing the counter at a thrift store). He also supported the anti-war movement. For many years, he took a quadriplegic man who lived in a Montreal long-term care facility on outings to movies and other events. He also “adopted” various others experiencing economic and other difficulties, helping them financially and otherwise. John was a believer in the teachings of Jesus and a regular church-goer for much of his life, but rejected literal readings of the bible, religious fundamentalism of any kind, and pieties that did not implicate professed believers in helping the less fortunate.

John was well read and curious about many areas of life, but he was also down-to-earth and more interested in a person’s character than his or her wealth, title, or reputation. A life-long reader, he was always keen to deliver his take on current and other events, sometimes at considerable length! While never a serious athlete, he was active for most of his life and liked walking, hiking, swimming, and tennis, which he played well into his 70s. John was an animal lover, and particularly delighted in the antics of the series of cats that he and Shirley owned, or were owned by. He enjoyed travel, and he and Shirley visited many places in North America, Europe, and the Caribbean, as well as Africa and Australasia. Among his favorites were Japan, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy and the Canadian North. He was interested in almost all that the world’s cities and natural world had to offer, but did not need “exotic” destinations to find something of interest or beauty. He enjoyed the countryside surrounding Montréal, as well as Vermont and Cape Cod (where he, Shirley and their sons spent a number of vacations). In later years, he treasured family vacations in Québec and Ontario where he could spend time with his four grandchildren.

John was a much beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend. He died several days after contracting COVID-19, and while in recent years he had suffered substantial decline, he still enjoyed meals and jaunts outside in his wheelchair. The family wishes to thank the staff at Chateau Westmount for their care over the last several years. A memorial service will be held at a date to be determined in 2021. Donations to an anti-poverty or similar organization of one’s choice can be made in his memory.