John Frederick Blackwell
Together with fond and loving memories, we announce the passing of our father, John Frederick Blackwell. John was born on April 18th, 1924 to Fred and Madge Blackwell on the homestead farm. He passed away Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024, at 99 years of age, just months shy of celebrating his 100th birthday.
He was predeceased by his wife, Eleanor (Betty); daughter, Valerie Summach; sister, Jean (Don) McGowan; brother, Stan (Erica) Blackwell; and parents, Fred and Madge Blackwell.
John is survived by his daughter, Pamela Strand and grandchildren: Cherise (Ron) Tower, Tyler (Jocelyn) Strand, and Brittany (Jonathan) Wall; daughter, Sheena (David) Heider and grandchildren Shea (Candace) Summach and Kalla (Kohl) Neumann; son, Gavin (Shannon) Blackwell and grandchild Savanna Blackwell; grandchildren, Sterling (Sheleen) Summach and Venetia Summach; brothers, Danny (Myra) Blackwell and Marvin (Carole) Blackwell; 12 great-grandchildren; as well as many nephews and nieces.
John grew up on the homestead farm and attended Invicta School, completing grade 10. While farming alongside his father, he also learned to become an expert blacksmith and carpenter, for which these skills he became known for around the community. The family lived in Saskatoon, SK for the winters from 1947-1952, to which John became a welder for John East Ironworks and doing electrical for Crawford Electric. It was in Saskatoon that he met the love of his life, Eleanor Gush, and they married in September of 1952. It was then that they moved to the Blackwell farm where they raised four children, Valerie, Pamela, Sheena, and Gavin.
John held many titles, from bee keeper, expert Crokinole player, horseshoe pitcher, cross country skier, ping pong player, avid gardener, bird watcher, and could whistle a tune like a professional. John loved to farm; it was his passion. He took great joy and pride in tending his crops. He was still involved in the farm well into his early 90s and was the expert rock picker. This last fall of 2023, with the help of friends and family, John was able to be hoisted into the combine for the final few hours of harvest. What a thrill and utter joy for Dad. He talked for days about how he participated in finishing up the harvest for the year.
John loved a large garden. He put much care and love into his plants, making his gardens beautiful. He enjoyed teaching us kids and his grandchildren how to garden, and of course how to be the best potato beetle destroyers by using two rocks for squishing them. He also loved to take his family on fishing vacations to Northern Saskatchewan. We would pack the large canvas tent, fishing gear, the Coleman stove, all four kids, Mom, dogs, and suitcases into the car! We were packed liked sardines!
John and Betty loved the Lord. They actively attended church and they would get together with friends for a weekly Bible discussion. John often organized the youth group, doing various activities. He loved to have Betty play the piano and organ, and he would often sing along. On many occasions he would sing in the car while driving, and you could often hear him out in the field singing while driving the open-cab tractor.
In his later years John loved spending time with his kids and grandchildren on the farm. Family gatherings for birthdays and holidays were very special to him.
The family would like to sincerely thank the Dinsmore Health Care Centre for the amazing care and compassion that he was given.
Dad was a kind and compassionate man that made a positive impact on his family, as well as the community. He was an inspiration and a role model we all looked up to. In honor, we celebrate your life!
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, January 13th, 2024 at 1:30 p.m. at the Dinsmore Community Hall in Dinsmore, SK. Please join us after the service for light refreshments and desserts. Interment will take place at 12:30 p.m. at Hillcrest Cemetery on Highway 44, east of Dinsmore. In lieu of flowers, donations in John’s name may be made to the Dinsmore Health Care Centre, 207 1st St E, Dinsmore, SK S0L 0T0. Arrangements are entrusted to Moose Jaw Funeral Home, 268 Mulberry Lane. Michelle Ellis, Funeral Director 306-693-4550