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John Willms

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John contracted polio at 7 months. The doctor said he’d never walk. With stubborn determination, John participated in the activities of all the other children. His right leg remained shorter, thinner, and weaker, but he led an active, hardworking life. John’s early years were spent in Hepburn, Sask. A significant part of growing up for John was the emphasis on Christian living. His parents were devout Christians and strict in raising their children in the life of the church. John received Christ as Saviour at 12. When John was 15, his family moved to Matsqui, B.C., and became dairy farmers. John attended Mennonite Educational Institute and was baptized. He met Gertie while studying at Columbia Bible College, Abbotsford. Their first 17 years of married life were spent dairy farming in the Mt. Lehman area. John and Gertie were actively involved in County Line MB Church and Ross Road Community Church. In 1972, they moved to Fort St. John, B.C., and began grain and cattle farming. There they served North Peace MB Church. They made lasting friendships and contributions in each church and community. John and Gertie found joy in seeing their children follow Jesus. Following their 50th wedding anniversary, they retired to Abbotsford in 2005. They enjoyed several years of good health and travel. John spent his last 2 years at the Cottage Pavilion, where his sense of humour and gentle spirit endeared him to the staff.

  • Birth: March 27, 1930
  • Birthplace:
    Waldheim, Sask.
  • Death: January 9, 2018
  • Parents:
    John & Helena Willms
  • Married:
    Gertie Penner, Apr. 15, 1955
  • Family:
    Gertie; children Ken (Joyce), Lorne (Heather), Shirley (Glenn Roszmann), Scott (Kathy); 10 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; 4 siblings
  • Church:
    County Line MB, Aldergrove, B.C.; Ross Road, Abbotsford, B.C.; North Peace MB, Fort St. John, B.C.; Central Heights, Abbotsford, B.C.