Obituary of John Sawatzky
July 20, 1930 – March 15, 2023
It is with heavy hearts, but also with gratitude, that we share the news of the passing of our father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother and uncle on Tuesday, March 15, 2023 at the United Mennonite Home, Vineland, Ontario. John was predeceased by his wife, Mary, on January 24, 2023. Their marriage lasted 73 years! Also predeceased by his parents, Frank Sawatzky (1968) and Sara Reddekopp (1945), his stepmother, Anne Friesen (1986), and a brother, John (1930).
Born in Gruenthal, Saskatchewan, Dad was raised on a farm and was a happy boy, even though his mother was frail, ill with heart problems and having many miscarriages due to the Rh factor. His older brother died at the age of 2 due to the unfortunate accident of choking on a peanut shell. A month later, Dad was born and given his brother’s name. When his father remarried, over the following years, a brother and 4 sisters were added to the family.
Dad with a cousin, travelled to B.C. to work in the paper mills while in his teens. He wrote frequently to his girlfriend, Mary, back in Hague, Sask. When he returned home, they became engaged. On Nov 4, 1949, John and Mary were married and lived with her parents until he found a job in Saskatoon, where they got their first apartment. Later in 1950, they moved to St. Catharines, where he was hired by General Motors within a week of their arrival and where he worked until his retirement. Mom was pregnant with their first child when they arrived in Ontario, and later, four more children came along, making family life a very busy one.
Dad and Mom were charter members of Grace Mennonite Church and Dad was proud to be instrumental with the building of the church. His carpentry skills, learned from his father, were put to good use. Later in church life, along with being on the property board, he was asked to be a deacon. He took this job seriously until his health became a priority.
In May of 2015, Dad had the first of several heart attacks and in June of that year, had a triple bypass. Things were not the same now. In March of 2020, he was admitted to hospital with several health issues. Eight months later he was transferred to the United Mennonite Home and resided there until his death on March 15, 2023.
John is survived by his 5 children, Lorraine, Ken, Susan, Jenny (Gary) and Paul (Chantal). He was the proud grandfather of 8 and great-grandfather of 8. John was a brother to Al (Sandy), Marty (Roy), Frieda (Ray), Norma (Larry) and Edna (Mitch). A brother-in-law to Clara. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Dad had a strong work ethic and was always willing to help others. He was faithful in reading his Bible and learning how to follow God’s teachings. He is now in peace and at rest, joining his wife of 73 years in heaven.
The family thanks Dr. J. Woodland and the staff at the United Mennonite Home.
Funeral Service will take place at Grace Mennonite Church (677 Niagara St, St. Catharines, ON L2M 3R4) on Wednesday March 22nd, at 11am.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Mennonite Central Committee Ontario.
An Audio recording of the funeral service will be posted on www.gracemennonitechurch.com Shortly after the service.