March 13, 1922 – February 20, 2019
John Siewert was born on March 13, 1922 at Puchawa, Poland. His mother’s name was Martha (Pohl) and his father was Adolf Siewert. They immigrated to Canada in 1929 and lived at Rush Lake, SK, north of Swift Current. John went to school there for three years. They moved to Meadow Lake, SK in 1933. He did not go to school here as he had to help with the farm. Later he worked in different places doing logging and building.
In 1958, he came home to begin ranching on his own. His dad gave him the homestead quarter and eight cows. He had the use of his dad’s lease land which was put in his name soon after. 1958 was also the year he gave his heart to the Lord. He joined the Alliance Church when Rev. Warnock was there and was baptized by Rev. Warnock in the Meadow River east of town. John used to come to the youth meetings on Friday nights and there he met Hilda Peters at the Alliance Church. They were married on October 2, 1965.
They lived on John’s farm and for the first four years Hilda did not teach school. They had a little one room house in which they lived. They had no road (just a trail through the bush), no power and no phone. During this time they got to know each other and really enjoyed living together. They spent quite a few days during the winter going into the bush south of home to get firewood and fence posts. They milk five cows and sold cream and butter. They also had chickens so there were eggs available. Summers were spent making hay for winter feed. They also always had big gardens every year. They did a lot of fencing during the first few summers which made it easier to control where the cattle grazed.
During the summer of 1965 and 1966, John made hay together with his brothers Edward and Martin. The next year, he bought a Massey 44 tractor and a square baler. During the next few summers he added a Case VA tractor and a square bale stacker to go behind the baler. He also bought a rake. Hilda used the Case and rake and also helped with the six bale stacker.
In 1977, John bought a Massey 1105 tractor and a round baler. From then on there were no more square bales. Later he added three New Holland tractors, V rakes and a couple of New Holland balers. The machines he bought are mostly still in use.
John grew his herd each year by keeping back heifers from his calf crop. The last years he also kept a few bull calves to help out with his bulls.
Rarely did John ever borrow money. He couldn’t sleep when he owed money, so even when he didn’t pay for something right away, he would pay it off within the first month.
They raised two boys. The first was adopted in 1972. Gerald David came to us as a four-year-old. The other was John Howard Runningaround, who came to us when he was nine years old. He remained a foster son. He lived with us until he finished grade 12 and our relationship is still good. As the boys grew they mostly took over helping John on the fields. Hilda was then freer to work in the garden and make meals.
Hilda went back to teach when the price of cattle dropped significantly. She did not quit until she could retire with a pension. By this time, they had a bigger house, a road, telephone and power. The herd had also grown significantly and life was good.
In June 2016 John had a heart attack. That was really the first time he was in a hospital. He was on oxygen for six months. After that he just needed it when he walked with a walker. In March 2017, he had another time in the hospital with heart issues.
By this time they had slowed down significantly and John was basically in a wheelchair. They asked Gerald to take over the farm but at the same time John didn’t sign everything over to him and it caused a lot of problems for Gerald. However, Gerald kept working and they were grateful.
John spent his last few years in the wheelchair all day. He could walk only a few steps and that was hard for him. He enjoyed listening to different Christian broadcasts on TV. When Hilda had to go to Saskatoon for cancer radiation treatments, he had to go into the hospital for respite as he needed more care than the boys could manage at home and the hospital staff had to give him more care as time went on. The last two weeks were the worst because his legs had so many sores and his body retained so much fluid. On the 20th, in the morning, a nurse came from North Battleford to bandage his legs. Hilda got up from her bed and stood beside John’s head and helped him stay calm during that hour. He was very agitated all day and finally he asked the nurses to change his body position to his side. After that he calmed down and at approximately 7:00 pm, he went to be with the Lord. It was a very peaceful home going.
Card of Thanks
Thank you to the Meadow Lake Hospital doctors and nurses who took such good care of John while on respite and later when he was in so much pain. Thanks also to all the condolences offered to me – the flowers, cards and food. Thanks also to the Martens Warman Funeral Home for their care and to those who did the work at the grave site. Thanks to the North West Community Church for doing the service for John and the lunch they provided.
Hilda, Gerald, Howie and families