John Sheardown, a Canadian diplomat in Tehran during the Iran hostage crisis who sheltered four of the six Americans who evaded capture during the US Embassy takeover in 1979, died Sunday, December 30 at The Ottawa Hospital. He was 88.
The six Americans escaped out of Iran in what was originally known as the Canadian Caper in January 1980. Click the video here of the PBS piece made in 1980 describing their escape from Iran. That escape, recently dramatized in the 2012 Ben Affleck movie Argo would not have been possible without the help of Canadian friends like John Sheardown who took care of their American “house guests” at great personal peril.
John Sheardown was a World War II bomber pilot and an Order of Canada recipient. The order recognizes the achievement of outstanding merit or distinguished service by Canadians who made a major difference to Canada through lifelong contributions in every field of endeavour, as well as the efforts made by non-Canadians who have made the world better by their actions. According to The Star, Mr. Sheardown was offered the keys to New York by then mayor Edward Koch but he apparently declined, saying Ambassador Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador to Tehran during the crisis had received them on behalf of all who were involved. His home city of Windsor, Ontario honored him this year by declaring November 10 the John Sheardown Day.
Requiescat in pace, John Sheardown.