John Grave

August 9, 2022
In loving memory ~
John Alfred Grave was born in Glasgow Scotland to English Parents who moved back to England when he was 3 years old. He attended Lancaster Royal Grammar School as a boarder until age 18. Sports were forever on the top of John’s agenda. Although he enjoyed soccer, rugby, cricket and water polo while at school it was swimming he excelled at, winning many county championships.
At age 19 he enlisted in the British army to fulfil his mandatory national service. He had only great memories of his stint in Kenya and Egypt referring to it as a 2 year holiday paid for by the British government. Upon returning to England, he embarked on a banking career. Swimming was still at the forefront and international competition became possible through the “Bankers Games” which he frequently medaled at.
During the early 70’s when the Royal Bank of Canada were recruiting British bankers, John jumped at the opportunity to cross the pond and asked to be located in Edmonton. He embraced Canada and all it had to offer including the cold winters! He learned how to downhill and cross country ski and in 2020 put on snowshoes for the first time. He was an avid tennis player.
When diagnosed with stargardt’s syndrome, an eye disease which destroyed his centre vision, tennis was no longer a sporting option so he literally dove back in the pool and started swimming competitively again in the Masters Swim Program. The Royal Bank moved John to Calgary to work in Head Office due to his sight impediment. He was forever grateful to the Bank for that opportunity. He joined the Calgary Masters. Buoyed by the camaraderie and moral boosting from fellow swimmers, he participated in national and international events setting many Canadian records in his age group. John’s aim was not only to break the current record but to raise the bar higher for those following behind him. His banner year was at the World Masters championships in Casablanca in 1996 where he won 2 first place finishes in the 50 and 100 meter backstroke and silver medals in both the 50 and 100 meter freestyle.
In 2001 He and wife, Jan moved to Salmon Arm (Jan’s hometown) to retire. He immediately joined the Salmon Arm Masters and continued setting more records including a gold finish and National record in Sydney, Australia In the 50 meter freestyle.
John loved gatherings with family and friends at “the cabin” on Shuswap Lake, especially when the crib board appeared. He remained a staunch fan of the Edmonton Eskimos (refusing to call them the Elks) and Edmonton Oilers. Of late he was a strong supporter of our Canadian tennis players and tried never to miss a match on TV. Above all John loved his family, wife Jan of 43 years, daughter Karen (Greg), Son Mike (Marijke) granddaughter, Chelsee (Matt) grandson, Tyler, great grandchildren Jacob and Addison , and Marijke’s children who became part of his family, Jess and Nick and their families. His two nieces, Michelle and Shannon, sister Kay in England and her three children, all held a special spot in John’s heart as did sisters in laws, Glenna and Ev and brother-in -law Bob. Sadly, he was predeceased by his son, Paul who was killed in 1988.
John will be remembered most for his witty humour, his passion for writing poetry, a non complainer of his lack of sight and for being a true gentleman. There were two things John wished to see before dying: The completion of the Ross Street underpass and the ousting of our current Prime Minister but ’twas not to be. John died July 30th at home with Jan and faithful Yorkie, Rusty by his side. John will forever be swimming across Shuswap Lake.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Sept. 17th at 2:00 at the Prestige Inn.
Words of love and support may be made to John’s family through his online obituary at

Bowers Funeral Service

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