History of John Howard Society of Ottawa

In the beginning was a concerned businessman, Tom Lamothe, who organized a group of Ottawa citizens to take responsibility for the problems of crime and the prison system. This resulted in the inception of the John Howard Society of Ottawa in 1951 with Mr. Lamothe as the first President of the volunteer Board of Directors. The Society took its name from John Howard, a British social reformer who advocated for the improvement of prison conditions.


Most of the early history of the organization has been gleaned from news clippings in the Ottawa Citizen. A few highlights follow to illustrate organizational development, community education activities, and community development initiatives.


Organizational Development:

Community Education:

Community Development:

One of the most significant, yet tragic events to occur within JHS Ottawa was the murder of Celia Ruygrok at Kirkpatrick House in July 1985. Celia was a Carlton University student working alone on an overnight shift when she was murdered by a Kirkpatrick House resident. This tragedy resulted in changes to the operation of community residential facilities across Canada (including the development of detailed Operating Standards) and recognition at JHS Ottawa that comprehensive staff and client safety practices must be a fundamental component of all of our services.


Following is a list of community volunteers who served as President of the Board of Directors over the years.

1951-54 Tom Lamothe (Morrisson Lamothe Bakeries)
1955-56 E.P. Newcombe
1957-58 Tom Lamothe
1959-60 John Nelligan (Solicitor)
1961-62 R.L Elliott (Royal Architectural Insitiute)
1963 Lyle Blackwell
1964-65 Louis Titley
1966-67 RJ Wilson (Personnel Director, City of Ottawa)
1968-69 Roger Crete (City of Vanier Alderman)
1970-72 Ruth Addison
1973-76 Len Potechin (Real Estate Developer)
1977-78 Scott Milloy (Solicitor)
1979-81 Jane Johnston
1982-85 Bruce Simpson (Solicitor)
1986-88 Ross Greenwood (Consultant)
1989-90 Jeff Walker (Youth Services Provider)
1991-92 Bob Hoffman (Professor, Carleton University)
1993-94 Jirina Bulger (Solicitor)
1994-95 Jeff Walker (Youth Services Provider)
1996-97 Rob Lewis (Solicitor)
1997-99 Georgia Whitehall (Psychologist)
2000-06 John Edwards (retired Commissioner Correctional Service Canada)
2006 Rita Thompson (Investment Advisor)

Following is a list of Executive Directors.

1957-66 Louis Zeitoun (MSW, University of Ottawa School of Social Work)
1966-70 Richard Ramsay (MSW, McGill University)
1970-74 JA Murphy
1974-85 Ward Adams (MSW, University of British Columbia)
1985-86 Sherry Kulman (MCA, University of Ottawa)
1986 Don Wadel (MCA, University of Ottawa)