So she arranged a ceremony at the family's lakeside summer home outside Ottawa.
It featured John's favourite memories and music, including a guitar riff by Jimi Hendrix.
There were happy photos from summer holidays and sentimental recollections from friends and his children about a life well lived, before it was tragically cut short by liver disease brought on by Hepatitis C.
What wasn't part of the ceremony was any mention of God or religion.
Keeping faith: The changing face of religion in Canada - Canada - CBC News