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John M. Witherhead


Canton—John M. Witherhead, 86, of Mildon Road, died Tuesday, April 1, 2014, at Maplewood Campus where he had been a resident since December 2013. He was the husband of Virginia “Ginny” Van Iderstyne, whom he married on June 14, 1952 at the First Presbyterian Church of Canton with Rev. Eels as celebrant.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, April 5th at 10:00 at Canton Fire & Rescue, 77 Riverside Drive with Assoc. Pastor Donna Doig officiating. Calling hours will be held on Friday from 2-4 & 6-8 PM at the Lawrence Funeral Home, Canton.

John was born August 14, 1927 in Morristown, NY, the son of the late Walter & Mabel (Giffen) Witherhead. He attended Morristown Central School until the 11th grade and graduated from Alexandria Bay High School. John was a veteran of WWII serving from 1945-1946. Upon his honorable discharge he studied at St. Lawrence University graduating in 1951 with his Bachelor’s degree in Education and later received his Masters.

In addition to his wife “Ginny”, he is survived by a son, David Witherhead & Laurie Poor of Canton; a daughter, Elizabeth & Derrick Terry of Sodus, NY; a sister, Louise Thode of Boston; six grandchildren, Jessica Witherhead of Waddington, Kathleen Witherhead of Birmingham, AL, Michael Witherhead of Canton, Allison Witherhead of Canton, Jonathan Witherhead of Sodus and Ryan Bayer of Sodus; three great-grandchildren and a niece Sandy & Ronnie Burns of Canton. He is also survived by Dorothea Witherhead of Canton and Andy Bayer of Philadelphia, NY.

Upon graduating SLU, John worked as a bookkeeper for United Paper in Syracuse from 1952-54. In 1954, returning to Canton, he started a 37 year career (1954-1991) at Canton Central School, where he taught, Chemistry, Physics and Science.

John was a very active in his community(s), where he was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Canton; Canton Fire & Rescue (where he was a fireman and an EMT until age 81); Morristown Fire Dept (13 years); served two terms as Canton Village Trustee, where he was instrumental in the formation of Partridge Run Golf Course; served as Summer School Principal; drove bus for the summer swim class at Taylor Park and he coached J.V. basketball for several years.

In his early years as a teen, John worked on the Morristown-Brockville Ferry, at the cheese factory in Morristown and worked as a clerk for attorney George Brown.

Some of John’s interests and hobbies were gardening, spending time on the St. Lawrence River, reading, time spent with family and always teaching.

Memorial contributions are suggested to Canton Fire & Rescue or Morristown Fire Department.

Additional off-street parking courtesy of Travel Unlimited, Park Street.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting

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