John was born on 16 Jun 1920 in Belfast Ireland. His middle name, Milligan, is in honor of John Milligan of Milligan & Co. Ltd., Coal merchants, Belfast Ireland, where John's father, Richard, worked as a manager for 30 years. John emigrated to Canada with his parents Richard and Annie in 1923.
John served with the Irish Regiment of Canada during the second world war. It was probably during this period that he acquired the moniker "Blacky." John went oversees as a Corporal and was soon promoted to sergeant. He won a battlefield commission (Lieutenant) during the fighting in Italy and was subsequently sent back to England for officer training. During his stay in England he met and married Alice Cooke. They had two children together, Ann and John.
Following the war, John accepted a position with the Toronto Fire Department where he was eventually promoted to "Fire Chief."
John was a man of great sincerity and generosity. He was a practical joker who was fiercely loyal to his friends and family.
John passed away peacefully at his Toronto home on 21 Mar 1999.
The family was better because he was a member of it.