Although John suffered in his final days, the cancer that had spread to his spine never got the best of his sharp wit and classic sense of humour.
He started life in hardship. The youngest of 5, he managed a grade 3 education and had adult responsibilities as a child. He left the family farm at age 15 and suffered a life altering loss of his trigger finger at the beginning of WW2 in a sawmill accident which probably saved his life.
He followed his brothers into service, being stationed in Britain & France as a nursing orderly during the war. He came home on the Queen Mary at the end of the war, marrying Pearl, his pen pal shortly after, and took up a varied life of farming, horse logging and road building. He settled in Salmon Arm in 1957 near the golf course and ended up raising his family in South Canoe.
His careers were varied. He could operate any machine from a bulldozer to a combine and these abilities kept him active well into his 70’s, travelling to take the crops off every year with his lifelong buddies and family in Northern Alberta and bringing home grain fed moose for his endeavours. He dabbled in business with Young’s Country Trading and worked as a nursing orderly at Shuswap Lake General Hospital from 1964 – 1976. Upon retirement he completed his grade 12 at OK college just because he could.
He was a lifelong tinkerer, maker of kitsch and folk art and a fervent socializer. He loved to play, his home always had a card game on and he was known as a creative player. Scrabble kept his mind sharp and he played this up to his last weeks of life. He had wanderlust, trailering in the summers for decades to keep in touch with his always increasing social circles. In later years he was Telus best customer. He was an adept writer of letters and kept stacks of diaries, outlining the mundane and highlighting what he thought might matter.
John was predeceased by his son Dale in 1988 and Pearl in 1998. He later married and is survived by Doreen as well as sons; Duane, Randy and Roger (daughter in law Teresa), grandchildren; Ryan, Stacy, Linden, Ashley, Shaylen, Mason, Emma and a growing cadre of great grandchildren.
The family is extremely grateful for the care John received from the frontline nurses at Shuswap Lake General Hospital and congratulates Dr. Trow for ensuring John’s comfort in his final months and hours. Good on you all. We would ask the community to support the Shuswap Hospice Society in any way, in hopes of facilitating the building of a site for Salmon Arm’s future needs, as it takes a community to make change, just as other communities across the province have overcame obstacles to make this happen.
One last coffee for John will be held at Bower’s Funeral Home on December 23, 2011 at 2 p.m. for all who care to come.
Online condolences can be sent through John’s obituary at www.bowersfuneralservice.com
Funeral arrangements are in the care Bowers Funeral Service, Salmon Arm, BC