John Janz of Coaldale, Alberta, beloved husband of the late Helen H. Janz, passed away after a long and successful life on Sunday, November 10, 2013 at the age of 98 years.
Remembering John fondly are his children, Eleanore Driver, Victor (Donna) Janz, Shirley (Rafa Barrios) Janz, Linda Janz, Carolyn (Hans Mausolf) Janz, and Harold (Yuan) Janz; grandchildren Brendan (Tasha) Janz, Evan Janz, Connor Janz, Michelle Mausolf, Albert Mausolf and Alexa Barrios Janz; great-grandchild Wesley; sister Lydia (Janz) Toews, brother Ben (Pauline) Janz and numerous nieces and nephews.
John was predeceased by his wife Helen, parents Jacob B. and Aganetha Janz, sister Helen Janz, brother Jacob Janz and sister Agnes Hubert.
John was born in Orloff, Russia in 1915. The family came to Canada in 1924 to New Hamburg, Ontario. In 1927 the family moved to Lethbridge, and in 1928 settled on the farm near Coaldale where they joined a cooperative group to pool equipment and expertise. John attended school and was an excellent student, but farming took him out of school after grade 8. At the age of 14, John was hired to drive the school van pulled by a team of horses. He loved horses, and later admitted that he took much better care of the horses than the passengers.
John married Helen Poetker on November 25, 1945 and they bought the family farm which he farmed for 50 years, raising alfalfa, peas, sugar beets, wheat and barley, sheep and cattle. He was very active in the sugar beet growers association, and in 1954 won the trophy for best sugar beet crop. John had sheep for many years, and every summer sent them to the Porcupine Hills to be tended by a sheepherder. Eventually he bought a cattle ranch in the Porcupines. He loved the ranch, and often wondered if he should have moved there when he was younger.
John loved music and loved to read. He knew the history of all the big ranches in the area. He also read history, politics and culture. He was fascinated with the life of North American First Nations people.
John loved to travel and he and Helen made numerous trips around North America, Germany and Spain. In his later years, John took up woodworking and made many bowls, candle sticks and doll cradles. He collected interesting woods from his travels. After woodworking became more difficult, he started making macramé hangars which he donated to charity and gifted to family and friends; some of his hangars made their way all over the world. He was touched that people appreciated them. At the age of 90, John moved to the Sunny South Lodge in Coaldale where he lived for the next 6 years. In 2011, John moved to the Good Samaritan Society’s West Highland Centre in Lethbridge where he remained until his passing. The family wishes to thank the staff, nurses and caregivers of West Highlands for the wonderful care and attention they gave to John. As well, the family expresses thanks to the management and staff of the Sunny South Lodge in Coaldale. A Memorial Service will be held at 1:00pm on Saturday, December 7, 2013 at the Coaldale Mennonite Church, 2316-17th Street with Pastor Lil Thompson and Pastor George Klassen officiating.