With great sorrow we share that John died during an emergency surgery on Monday, November 16, 2020 two days shy of his 77th birthday.
He leaves to mourn Helen (Liebchen) the “girl-next-door” he married and loved every day for 54 years, and his children; James (Kim), Robert (Shauna) and Charissa (Mike Godfrey) as well as his eight grandchildren; Adrian (Raven), Benjamin, Alyssa and Christian, MacKenzie and Keely, Jackson and Lexa, his brother Henry (Shirley) in Toronto and many nephews and nieces and their families. His many friends and clients will also grieve his loss. Dad was predeceased by his father Nicolai, brother Viktor, mother Helen Unger and step father Frank Unger.
John worked in a printing shop as a young man until he found his calling as an accountant.
He was so proud to be a CPA. He continued to work as an accountant until his last days. He always said that accountants never die, they just become unbalanced!
He was a devoted member of the North Kildonan Mennonite Church and served the church in many roles in his quiet and dependable way. He also served the community as an alumni board member with Westgate Mennonite Collegiate and served on the board at Crosstown Civic Credit Union for many years. Positions that he took very seriously and enjoyed immensely.
Dad and Mom loved doing most things together, traveling, building houses, renovating, gardening, and playing canasta with many groups of friends. Dad took up running to keep up with his children and grandchildren and one of the many highlights was participating in the 10 km race at the Las Vegas 2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon alongside his family. He treasured the cottage at Jessica Lake that we bought 20 years ago and spent more time there every summer. He was always scheming another improvement project or drawing up plans for a whole other building and being actively involved with seeing it to completion. Taking time for “environmental surveys”(walks) around the cottage area with a cigar and a friend were always greatly enjoyed. He even went water-skiing this summer not knowing that it would be the last time. Sitting on the dock with mom watching the sunset or his family enjoying boat activities was always a special time. Hosting many family and friends over the years will continue but will never be the same without our “master of the grill” by the BBQ drinking his wine and sneaking steak to the dogs while cooking the meat to perfection.
He was a devoted husband, father, Opa, brother, uncle and friend and we will miss his quiet humour and cheerful nature. If you asked how he was his answer would undoubtedly be:
“Fantastic, but I’m getting better!”. The best part of the day was opening his eyes and realizing he was still alive. Today he opens his eyes in paradise.
We are grateful for the recent communication and skilled hands of surgeon Dr. Andrew McKay and the HSC surgical teams, the SICU and medical staff of GH3 for their efforts and compassion. Many thanks also to Dr. Martin and all of Dad’s medical specialists over the years. We appreciate everything you did to keep him with us as long as possible.
Our family is humbled by the overwhelming outpouring of support and love from family members, our church community and friends near and far whether in the form of many prayers, phone calls, cards, emails, texts, meals, flowers and virtual hugs in this time of COVID-19.
A memorial service will be scheduled in the future when we can gather and celebrate John’s life in the way he deserved. Donations may be made in his memory to Mennonite Central Committee.
We Love you Honey, Paps, Dad and Opa more than words can ever express.