John GOERTZEN

1916 -2008

Dad was born in Friedensdorf, South Russia on November 9, 1916, the third son of Johann and Margareta Goertzen. Dad and his family left Russia in 1926 because of the rampant political unrest and spiritual persecution. They arrived in Halifax on the Empress of Scotland and over the next couple of years, found their way to Lymburn, Alberta. It was during this time that Mom and Dad met. Dad was baptized on May 16, 1937. Mom and Dad were married on November 23, 1939 in the Circle Bank Hall which is now located on the museum grounds in Beaverlodge, Alberta.

Dad bought a half section of land with a small log house on it. Mom and Dad worked side by side to make the house a home and the land into a farm. They were blessed with a wonderful son Walter on March 16, 1941. June 19, 1943, during construction of the barn, Walter was killed. It was a very sad home until Jack arrived the next January. Marian’s arrival two years later kept the young family busy.

Since most of their family had left the Peace River country by the mid forties, Mom and Dad decided to sell the farm and move to Chilliwack to begin dairy farming. After Vic and Butch arrived, the family was complete.

Mom and Dad and the four kids worked together to make the farm a success. Chickens, cows, raspberries, hogs, horses, a large variety of fruit trees – they enjoyed it all and it helped to pay farm expenses. Beside all the farm work, Dad committed time to serve on the Church building Committee, sat on the East Chilliwack Co-op Board, did custom baling, built several houses and still had time for ice cream parties with the nephews and nieces and to attend the annual one day Fraser Valley Milk Producers picnic.

Dad retired early because of health reasons but he and Mom were still well enough to travel. They enjoyed trips to visit relatives in Ontario and South America. They also visited Mexico, Hawaii, Europe and spent several winters in Palm Springs.

After Mom passed away, Dad needed more care and moved to the Menno Terrace. He enjoyed four and a half years at the Home and made many news friends.

Dad celebrated his 92nd birthday on November 9th, was admitted to Abbotsford Regional on the 15th and on the 27th he left to occupy his mansion that Jesus had prepared for him. Dad loved the Lord and enjoyed reading the Bible regularly. His constant prayer was that all his family would live to serve the same master he served.

Dad was predeceased by his son Walter in 1943; father in 1952, mother in 1957, son Jack in1993, wife Helen in 2000 and brother Peter in 2002. Left to mourn are his children (Mary) Marian (Norm), Vic (Laurie), Butch (Renata); brother Jake (Betty), 10 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

A Service to celebrate his life was held December 1 at Eden Mennonite Church in Chilliwack.

Wiebe & Jeske 604.859.5885