John was born within days of his family’s arrival in Canada after fleeing Russia. At 16, he lost his mother and began taking correspondence classes while working as farmhand in rural Alberta. He attended Bible school in Coaldale and Winnipeg before marriage. After teaching 15 years in rural Saskatchewan and earning 2 university degrees, John served 3 decades as superintendent of education in Saskatchewan communities, his career requiring the family to relocate 12 times. He volunteered in Sunday school classes, church choirs, and on executive boards in churches and for the Gideons, Canadian Bible Society, and the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. After retiring in 1987, he and Marge assisted MCC’s efforts to aid refugees from Russia in eastern Germany for 6 months. Culminating a lifetime of contributing financially to missions, they visited Canadian missionaries in Haiti, Ukraine, Costa Rica, and the Philippines. John will be remembered as a lifelong student, teacher, theologian, leader, and philanthropist.
Karla is a writer for Mennonite World Conference who lives in Winnipeg.