John Leman, a long-time resident of Doe River, passed away on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 in Dawson Creek, at the age of 86 years.
John will be dearly missed by his partner Diane, as well as his four children, fourteen grandchildren and twelve great grandkids, as well as many other family and friends.
John had many different interests and hobbies in his life, just to name a few they were his family, cows, horses, music, women (especially grandma Diane, all waitresses, and the nurses). John was also partial to his cowboy hats, boots, Eiderdown jackets, hunting, naps, and most important his whiskey, not to mention his fly fishing with Wayne Parker.
John was a Favourite Uncle, respected friend, easy conversationalist, and community advocate working many years with the Doe River Recreation Commission and Rodeo Association in various roles from President of the Commission to arena Director at the rodeo. He was also involved with the Sunset Prairie Community Pasture as a rider and Bull Inspector.
John attended school in the Muirhead District of Southern Alberta, west of High River, where he completed grade 8. As a young man he liked going to local dances, he was able to call square dances and be dancing at the same time. The last time he danced was at Fern’s wedding five years ago. Even though he was a little blind and shaky, but it was beautiful, and we all cried.
John started his working life as a Ranch hand and foreman at the Brocklebank Ranch just outside of High River in the early 60’s. During the years 1964-65, he worked road construction on both the Trans Canada QE @ Highways. In 1966 he began in the oil patch working on Drilling Rigs for a couple of years.
In 1967 John Moved his family to Fort St John where he started working for Kaps Transport as a swamper (where he met his long-time friend of over 50 years Walter Green). Over the next 19 years John worked his way up to Manager of Northern Operations in the mid 70’s managing Northern Alaska, Canadian Arctic & Greenland.
John was a cowboy, a cattleman, and he was born and raised during the years at the tail-end of the great working cattle ranches of Southern Alberta ranches like, The Bar U, the A7, the U7 Brown ranch, and the cartwright Ranch- all whom worked as a young man. It was a time before there was Highway 22 and the power lines running North and South. Before the phone lines went all the way to the mountains. Where you had to ride 30 miles across country alone as a 10-year old boy to bring back a couple of stray ponies. Where at 17 you trailed cows for the summer high in a mountain pass south of chain lakes, where you had campfires along a creek with brother Ed and finding a glorious meadow high up in a canyon, where mountain lions hidden in spruce trees spooked your horse with your rifle in the scabbard, and screamed at you all night long as you kept the fire stoked.
Special memories of grandpa by Brittany Christan;
As a kid that is honestly how I felt, that I was his favourite. That’s how special he made me feel whenever I was around him. As an adult though I've come to realize I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. I wasn’t the only one who he made feel that special, that was just how he loved his family.
Grandpa John worked every day for most of his life, as a truck driver, equipment operator, and a rancher, this is not the man that I knew him as. I do remember participating in the odd chore during the summers I spent out at the farm, but most of my memories of my grandpa John involved ice cream. It was always dessert first with grandpa John.
Grandpa John taught me how to ride and love horses, my fondest memories of our time together were up in the saddle. We used to ride all over the place, and anytime we would pass by a field he would ask me how many cows were in the field, I’d come up with a guess and grandpa John would tell me that I wasn’t even close, then he would tell me some random number and I would think “ wow you know everything”.
Grandpa John was the first man I ever loved, and no matter how much time went between visits he was a constant presence in my life. A presence that as naïve and silly it sounds, I just assumed would always be there. It’s sad and a bit weird that presence being gone, but what's left are these beautiful snapshot moments that I get to keep. Sitting on his knee in the cab of the tractor, painful whisker rubs that left my cheeks raw, being thrown back up on a horse after being bucked off, that one happened way more than once. Dancing with him on my wedding day, introducing him to my first baby girl, then our son, and then our little Sophie.
He gave his time, and he gave his love, and when asked he gave his council. The loss feels immeasurable. I am immensely grateful for the memory of my grandpas love and the time I was able to spend with him. Even more so that my children had time with him and will have their own memories because after all, there was always ice cream at grandpa Johns house.
Jordan Hingley also shared some fond memories of grandpa John;
To a truly remarkable man I just want to say thank you. You were always my safe place, as well as a best friend. You always had that way of making me feel so special just for being myself. You taught me everything about horses and riding which is still my passion. Grandpa John and I went on many trail rides and had countless questions later. My fondest memory of you grandpa is the Violin solo you did for grandma and me one evening. Grandpa John was a man who could do tricks with a lasso and yodel his way into your heart. I know that you will be keeping an eye on all of us, that warms my heart that we are in great hands. We will cherish your memory and will love and miss you greatly. Thank you, grandpa, for everything but most of all your time.
John often said he lived a great life, had a great family and seen so much…. John had a quiet faith and spirit about him and believed in god. John was not a chore-goer, nor one to talk much good about religion, but he knew creation was beautiful and that he was blessed.
A Memorial Service was held on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at 1:00 pm from Reynars Funeral Chapel Pauline Haycock officiated. Interment will be held at a later date.
For friends so wishing, donations may be made in memory John to Camp Sagitawa, Box 61, Moberly Lake, B.C. V0C 1X0 or online at www.sagitawa.bc.ca.
Very Respectfully Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium