John Kantymir

John Kantymir

John Peter Kantymir passed away December 12, 2003. He was born on March 3, 1914, the fourth child of Semion and Maria Kantymir of Ratner, Saskatchewan.

Semion and Maria raised 12 children, so John always had plenty of playmates.

John attended local school until Grade 8 and during this time came to enjoy playing the fiddle.

Although he did not continue to cultivate this musical talent, John always enjoyed fiddle music and later wished he hadn’t given it up.

John grew up with many family members nearby, one of which had a sawmill.

Here, John began his lifelong career of working with wood.

Though he had many different jobs over the years, John always seemed to be drawn to working with wood, whether it was at a sawmill, hand logging, or hauling pulp.

He also loved to be out in the woods hunting and fishing, spending hours walking and enjoying nature.

During the same year in which John was born, a woman named Sophie Kosowan was born in Saskatchewan.

She too was from a family of 12. On November 15, 1942, at age 28, John and Sophie were married in Samburg, Saskatchewan and began what would turn into a long, loving relationship.

A year later Audrey Rose Kantymir was born, and two years later, Walter Ruben Kantymir was born.

In 1947 John and Sophie took a trip to the coast of British Columbia and decided that this is where they wanted to live.

They returned home and saved money, returning to B.C. in 1949 and settling in Agassiz, where John worked in a lime-quarry.

A few years later they moved to Vernon, and John began work as a horse-logger.

In 1954 they again packed up their family and this time moved north to Williams Lake.

Here, John worked in a sawmill, hauled lumber, felled timber and drove truck.

Over the next 20 years, John and Sophie continued to move wherever work was plentiful, living in Langley, Kitwanga, and eventually coming back to Williams Lake in 1978.

In each location, John and Sophie spent much time working the land; in Langley they worked on a chicken and strawberry farm, and in each place they lived, John and Sophie enjoyed cultivating a garden together to feed their family.

John and Sophie spent the rest of their years here in Williams Lake, enjoying the company of Walter and Audrey who lived nearby with their respective families.

In all John and Sophie were married 57 years.

During this time Sophie began to suffer from Parkinsons disease, and for many years John faithfully took care of Sophie.

After Sophie had passed away, John had the privilege of getting to know a sweet woman named Stella Usher who also lived at the lodge.

In June of 2000 they were married, and John often commented on what a joy it was to have Stella in his life.

They enjoyed a few years of happiness together, and then Stella also passed away.

John again nurtured and cared for a dying wife, a clear display of the love and devotion which he so freely gave throughout his life to all those close to him.

John was a strong, healthy man who suffered few health problems until the last few years of his life.

He survived a heart attack, a stroke, and could still drive his car until this past summer.

In late August of 2003, he began to notice changes in his body, feeling less strength and agility than usual.

On October 6, 2003 he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour and spent the last few months of his life in the hospital in Williams Lake.

John always loved and valued his family, and he died surrounded by the love and tenderness of the family which he had nurtured so faithfully.

John is survived by his children (Audrey and husband Jim Pigeon, and Walter and wife Bonnie Kantymir), grandchildren (Ted and Tim Pigeon; Ken, Lori, Patty, and James Kantymir), and great grandchildren (Shaun and Riley Pigeon; Dixon, Nate, and Sienna Kantymir).

He has four brothers and four sisters who are still living, many of whom came to visit him in his last few months of life.

We believe that Grandpa John is now celebrating a long, full life with his ancestors and loved ones in heaven.

He lived his life well, he was steadfast and loyal to God and to his family and friends.

So we honour you John Peter Kantymir and say thank you for your example and the gift of your life.