John L. Reimer was born June 24, 1909 in village number 7, Blumenort, in the Mennonite Colony of Sagradovka, Ukraine. Soon after his birth, the family moved west to the Russian village, Sergavka, and from there several hundred kilometers northeast to the village of Millerovo.
The Russian revolution destroyed the pleasant life the family had enjoyed and resulted in his mother’s death. Many citizens decided to leave the country for Canada and his family joined them in 1923. In Canada, the family with a stepmother and six children settled on a farm near Herbert, Saskatchewan. There on the morning of July 7, 1926 as he was returning home he saw his father struck dead between the house and the barn by a bolt of lightning.
As the oldest child in the family, he had to do double duty, run the farm on the home quarter and earn income by working for others. He married Katie Klassen on December 21, 1930. They had almost reached their 70th wedding anniversary when Katie died on December 9, 2000. When their first daughter, Lou, was two years old they moved to Altona, Manitoba where he apprenticed to learn blacksmithing and welding.
Back in Saskatchewan he purchased a blacksmith shop in Main Centre with his father-in-law. The venture prospered modestly. In 1940, Katie encouraged him to travel to the Fraser Valley to check on the positive reports coming from there. He managed to pay for a ride in the back of a pickup truck and, while in Yarrow, borrowed the money and bought the local blacksmith shop before heading back to Main Centre by train in order to prepare for the move.
The business and the family grew and years later he and Katie left the blacksmith and welding shop and became rural mail delivery contractors. He never lost his love for iron work and would go to his friends’ shops in order to fabricate something or to do a bit of repair welding. John and Katie’s six children and their families with 13 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren will always remember the hospitality, great food, and much love that was served in their home. After Katie died John moved to Menno Home where he received excellent and loving care. He died January 12, 2005 having lived a full and eventful life here and has entered into the presence of his Lord who was his constant guide.
John L. Reimer is survived by his six children, Lou Isaak (John), John Reimer (Irene), Alita Neufeldt (Rollie), Frank Reimer (Carolyn), Vern Reimer (Jeanette), Jim Reimer (Winnie). To fondly remember him he also leaves his grandchildren and great-grandchildren with many of whom he enjoyed Christmas celebrations mere weeks earlier.
A memorial service will be held at the Clearbrook MB Church, 2719 Clearbrook Road, at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, January 17, 2005.