In Memoriam: John Ashton Wilmes


John Ashton Wilmes passed away as gracefully as he lived watching the U.S. Open on Sept. 5, 2017. Healthy to his last breath, John lived a wonderful life. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and companion. Born April 16, 1927, John was one of three children born to Betty and Gary.

In 1947, John married Ruth Cochrane. Ruth said it was love at first sight. The couple settled in Los Angeles, California, where they had two sons, Bruce Christopher and Brian John. Being a LA fireman was John’s career and passion. He spent a large portion of his career on Fireboat #2 in the LA harbor. He retired to Canyon Lake in 1978, but being a fireman and all it meant stayed with him until his last breath. Ruth, the first love of his life, passed in 2011. It left a huge void in his life. Coming to his rescue was Laverne Cann, his cherished companion for the remaining years of his life. A truly blessed man was John.

John was known for many attributes and talents. He was a devout Christian who had the voice of Jim Nabors. He sang with the St. Stephens Episcopal Church choir and the Canyon Lake Choraleers. John had a special relationship with the Lord. He was an accomplished woodworker and could fix anything that was broken. He also loved golf and devoted time to the Tuesday Work Group whose volunteers work tirelessly to keep the Canyon Lake Golf Course beautiful.

John is best known as the ultimate grandfather to Jordan Ashton and Brett Christopher Wilmes. Summers in Canyon Lake with nana and grandpa, swimming, fishing and exploring, will live on in their memory. John was also blessed to know and love his great-grandchildren, Malia, Leighana, Kaylin, Ashton and Avery. He is also survived by his loving son Bruce, daughter-in-law Marti and granddaughters Karen and Andrea.

A Celebration of Life will be held for John on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 11 a.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 26704 Murrieta Rd., Menifee. A second Celebration of Life will be held on Monday, Oct. 2, at 3 p.m. at the Canyon Lake Country Club, 32001 Railroad Canyon Rd, Canyon Lake.