March 21, 1918 – December 10, 2020
In the early morning of Thursday, December 10, 2020 John J. Isaac got his wish – he passed away at the Abbotsford General Hospital with his son Terry and daughter Cheryl by his side. John will now be singing the Hallelujah Chorus in the heavenly choir.
John was born March 21st, 1918 in the Mennonite village of Alexanderpol, Molotschna Colony, in South Russia (now Ukraine). John was born during a world pandemic of 1918, and died during a world pandemic in 2020.
He was the eldest child of John and Katharina (Krause) Isaac. In 1924, John, his parents, his sister Mary and brother Abe, along with his extended family left Russia for Canada on the ship Minnedosa, arriving in Montreal on August 14, 1924. The family settled in Arnaud, Manitoba. His siblings, Jake, Neil, Art, David, Hilda and Katie were all born in Canada.
On December 2nd, 1944, John married Hilda Sawatsky. After three crop failures, they (along with their six-month old daughter, Cheryl) moved to British Columbia in December, 1947, purchasing a small, unfinished house on a three- acre raspberry farm on Gibson Road in Chilliwack. Their son Doug was born in 1952 and Terry born in 1958.
John worked in the hop fields, at a couple of sawmills, at a Lime Quarry, for the Wahleach Power Project in Bridal Falls, at a Massey Ferguson shop, for Butler Brothers for 15 years and for Friesen Equipment (a John Deere dealership) for ten years. After retirement, he continued to work part-time for another sixteen years for the Redwood Manor in Chilliwack.
John always enjoyed music. He played violin in his youth. He had a beautiful tenor voice and sang in the Eden Mennonite Church choir for many years. For twenty-five years, John, as part of an Eden Church octet travelled once a month to sing at the Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver. Besides a love for music, reading, fishing, playing crib and dominoes, travelling, and going for coffee, John was passionate about golfing.
He took up the sport at the age of 55 and accrued a total of fifteen holes-in-one, an achievement that few can say they have. In 2002, at the age of 84, John shot a 59 at Cheam Golf course and was honoured at a luncheon for this achievement. His son Terry arranged to have John interviewed by Mike McCardell from Global TV. When Mike asked what John attributed his golfing success to, John put his right arm up towards Heaven and smiled. “The Lord looks after me.”
John and Hilda were active members of Eden Mennonite Church since 1948. He served as a Sunday School treasurer, usher and deacon.
John was devastated when his precious Hilda passed away March 4, 2014, after 69.5 years married. Eventually he rallied and made new friends at his new residence at Waverly Assisted Living in Chilliwack.
Friday evenings he spent playing crib with his buddies Tom, Wilmer and Vern. On June 9, 2020, after 72 years in Chilliwack, John moved to Tabor Court, a Mennonite assisted living facility in Abbotsford. Due to COVID-19, visitations with his family and friends were limited to window visits only. John had a difficult time adjusting to the isolation and physical separation from his family and friends.
John was a dearly loved son, husband, father, brother, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle and friend. He was quiet, gentle, soft-spoken, humble and enjoyed simple things in life. Above all, he was a sincere, devoted Christian. He left a rich legacy of a life well lived, running the race that was set before him to win the prize, and God’s declaration of “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
He is survived by his children Cheryl (Ross Davey), Doug (Lilly Vogt), Terry (Glenda MacLean); five grandchildren Shawn (Verna), Sheri Pohl (Dan Hill), Trevor (Misty), Dustin (Melissa) and Travis Pohl (Judy); 9 great-grandchildren Davis, Julia, James, Cole, Maddie, Corey, Luke, Casey, Jay; 20 step grandchildren and great-grandchildren along with his brothers Jake, Art; sisters Hilda and Katie and many precious nieces and nephews.
Though he will be greatly missed, we know that he has been welcomed into his heavenly home. A private gravesite service was held on Friday, December 18. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the MCC.
Online condolences and memories may be made at www.woodlawn-mtcheam.ca
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