Pioneer conservationist dies

Pioneer architect and conservationist John Woodworth of Kelowna died at the age of 88.

John Woodworth

John Woodworth


Kelowna lost a tireless builder and organizer who loved his community and its natural environment, with the death Sept. 8 of architect John Woodworth at the age of 88.

Woodworth spent the first few years of his life on Manhattan Point near downtown Kelowna, returning later in life to design and construct two homes on Poplar Point Drive, at least one of which was on a lot considered too steep to build on.

He was known nationally for his efforts to have the Alexander Mackenzie Voyageur Route in B.C. designated officially, after which he wrote a book on it and produced a trail guide.

Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau named him as one of the founding directors to the board of the Nature Trust of B.C., where he served for 25 years, but even before that, he was one of the original directors of the Okanagan-Similkameen Parks Society.

It was instrumental in the establishment of Okanagan Mountain, Cathedral Lakes and Kalamalka Provincial Parks.

For his vast volume of work to conserve natural areas in B.C., he was presented with many awards over the years, including the Order of Canada, and he was also recognized by the Elders Council for B.C. Parks.

On a more-local level, Woodworth was the architect who designed the Kelowna Community Theatre, the Capri, George Elliott and Dr. Knox schools, the KLO campus of OC and city hall.

He and fellow Kelowna pioneer Art Hughes-Games were instrumental in bringing the city and Rotary club together with other community groups to embark on the $1 million restoration of what is now called Rotary Marshes, at the mouth of Brandt Creek.

He was unsuccessful in seeing the waterfront in and south of Sutherland Park returned to sandy beaches open to the public; and in seeing construction of an overhead route for access to and from the Bennett Bridge over Harvey Avenue, but he had a vision for both.

He is survived by his wife Nancy and daughters Robin and Carol and their families.

A service will be held at 1 p.m., Sat., Sept. 22 at Springfield Funeral Home.


Kelowna Capital News