John Donald Lumby was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, on Dec 19, 1930. He married Helen Hase in 1956. They had three children: Lisa, John Jr., and Jeff. He spent most of his life in Saskatoon, moving to Kitchener, Ontario, after retirement, where he died on Nov. 3, 2017.
He studied engineering at the University of Saskatchewan and graduated from the Officer's Indoctrination Course, University Reserve Training, in June 1950. In 1964, he also received a Certificate of Business Administration from the U of S.
He initially apprenticed in industrial and commercial photography at Hansen Photographers in Edmonton. In the early 1950s, he worked as a photographer with the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, and later served as Director of Photography at CFQC-TV in Saskatoon from 1955 to 1965. From 1961-1981, he and Helen operated a film, photography, television and audio production company under the names Lumby Productions (1965-1981) and Size Small Productions (1981-1988).