Cities and communities are built by the strength of commitment that individuals contribute to the common good. John Wintermeyer has used his considerable talents to bring respect and dignity to public life. John’s long career is one that can be truly called “a devoted service to a calling.”
John was born on December 4, 1916 in the city of Kitchener, the son of Alfred and Caroline Wintermeyer. He attended St. Joseph’s Elementary School and St. Jerome’s High School in downtown Kitchener. John enrolled at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana and graduated with a degree in Commerce and Philosophy in 1939. He was then accepted into Harvard Law School where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 1942. In 1943 he graduated from Dalhousie Law School. to complete his entrance to the Ontario Bar. On June 17, 1944, John married the late Helen Delaney of Cambridge, Massachusetts. They raised a family of seven children. On August 15, 1980 John married Elizabeth Ann Lang Greene.
“Former Ontario Liberal Leader John Wintermeyer entered politics in 1952 when he was elected to his first of three one year terms as a Kitchener alderman. Three years later, he made the jump to provincial politics as member of the legislature for Waterloo North. He hit the top within another three years when he defeated former federal finance minister Walter Harris for the leadership of the Liberal party in Ontario. In the 1959 election when, squaring off with Premier Leslie Frost, he doubled his party’s strength to 22 seats. His personal defeat in the 1963 election spelled the end of his political career.” K-W Record Dec 31, 1976.
While the dedicated and intensive organizational work he did within the province failed to give him the premiership, it revived a party which had been in a severely debilitated state. Those same efforts have never been given recognition in another context. It was largely through his leadership in difficult times that the federal Liberal Party was restored to vigour in Ontario.
“Through the most trying circumstances, John Wintermeyer’s life and work have been both privately and publically an example too rarely seen...” I.E. Be!liveau, Shediac New Brunswick.
John commenced practising law in the City of Kitchener in 1944 as a member of the law firm Sims, Schofield et al. In 1949 he established his own firm which became known as Wintermeyer Askin Casey Smith. After retiring from politics John continued to practise law in both Toronto and Kitchener. He has held numerous Directorships including CKCO TV, Major Holdings Ltd, Kent Trust, Bauer Industries, York Centre Corporation and the Prince Hotel.
The opportunity to provide leadership to community organizations is the challenge that John has been dedicated to. This is a commitment that included large tasks like Chairman of the Roman Catholic High Schools for Metropolitan Toronto, Chairman of the Canadian Olympic Hockey Foundation, Director of Hockey Canada, Vice- Chairman of the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and Honoury Chairman of St. Mary’s General Hospital Fund Drive. As well, John has commited his energy to assist small organizations in the Kitchener downtown. In the last ten years, John has been fully involved in providing direct service to people in need through St. Mary’s St. Vincent de Paul, chairing the Core Area Ministry Committee, assisting the board of directors of The Working Centre and St. John’s Kitchen and helping establish the board of directors for ROOF (Reaching Our Outdoor Friends).
Papal Honour: Member of the Order of St. Sylvestre, with the Entitlement, Sir Knight
Civilian Honour: Member of the Military and Hospitalier Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem
Professional Honour: Queens Counsel, 1955-1985