April 27, 1942 – April 16, 2021
John Anger, born at home in the Dorintosh, SK area on April 27, 1942, bid this life a peaceful goodbye in Creston, BC on Friday, April 16, 2021 after a long struggle with illness.
John was a passionate farmer in Caroline, AB on the Anger family farm from the time he was little and helping his own father until he and Alyce eventually sold the farm and moved to Manitoba in 2012 to spend some time with their two sons.
The half section a mile north of Caroline was a great place to raise kids. Outside of his love for horses, watching rodeos, boating, quading, fishing and hunting, there was never a dull moment between crops, livestock, carpentry and the sawmill John ran. Many a local knew him by name as he was proud to call Caroline home for almost 60 years. Others came to know him over a chin wag down at the lumber pile. He’d have probably given an eye tooth to still be sawing today what with lumber prices what they have risen to.
Over the decades, he also took seasonal jobs running Cat, a side career he truly loved. When asked, he never could quite decide what he liked more, running the Cat, working the soil, giving a favourite cow a back scratch or recognizing a good log before it hit his saw blade. It wasn’t uncommon for John to be on vacation and while everyone else was admiring the scenery, John would have that ol’ cowboy hat tipped back as he looked up, WAY up, mentally calculating the board feet in a still standing tree. His proudest moments seemed to be on the Cat, though. He took great joy in the task of turning the earth, rock and fallen trees into a meticulously designed landscape.
In 2012, when they moved to spend more time with their sons who had moved to the west side of Lake Manitoba, the only crops to concern themselves with in that land were hay crops, making livestock the primary love again. Him and Cam’s dog, Danny, became fast friends as they’d wander the hundreds of acres on foot, quad, truck or tractor, tending the cattle, chickens, pigs and quail.
John loved all three of his children, was proud of them for their achievements and their endurance in life no matter what it threw them. “Just do your best,” he’d advised this past February when I asked him if he had any advice for his kids and grandkids. “Just try your best and keep your nose clean. That’s all you can really do.”
When asked last September if he wanted to leave a message for his wife, Alyce, he said, “I don’t know how I got so lucky. She’s done everything for me, stood by me and with me through it all, no matter what. I don’t know how I got so lucky. She’s an incredible woman. I don’t know how to tell her thank you enough.”
While still in Manitoba, John accompanied his nephew, Dusty Fay, to Europe in 2013 where they would meet Lorne, Crystal, Takayla and family friend Wayne to travel in the impeccably researched WWI footsteps of his father’s Paschendale and Vimy Ridge battles. That trip, researched and guided by Mark Banning and Mary Freeman of Bespoke Western Front Battlefields, meant a great deal to John. Each day that old, gentle cowboy from Caroline would stand out looking over those battlefields and listening to Mary’s stories of Earl’s days. John would pause in thought as his “eyes would sweat” and he’d say, “I sure wish I could have seen this earlier, known more of this. I sure understand the old man a whole lot better now.”
Eventually, John figured maybe that Manitoba country was a bit too cool for his aging bones and he and Alyce made another move to Creston, BC in 2018 where John said the sunshine and lack of snow sure felt good. He figured if anyone ever came up with a recipe for WD40 for human joints, they’d make a killing. Meantime, he’d take the sunshine. They’d return to visit friends and family in the Dorintosh area occasionally through the years and to the Caroline and Manitoba areas once or twice a year but each time he was asked if he missed any of it, he’d look up at that bright yellow globe of heat in that Southern BC sky and shake his head as he adamantly stated, “Absolutely not.”
When John was still back in Caroline, he discovered his master carpenter’s side. Though he had added onto their 1910 house, built a five bay shop, two bay garage and four log cabins over the years with the help of friends, family or hired hands, he also took to building furniture. Lucky is the owner of any bit of craftsmanship turned on his lathe and smoothed with his skillful eye and patient hands. The carpenter has gone Home now but his legacy lives on in many a piece in furnished homes and childhood doll closets across the province.
John was predeceased by his parents: Earl and Hazel; parents-in-law: Edwin and Wilma; three siblings: Norma, Robert and Joyce; 13 of Alyce’s siblings; and two grandsons: Cameron’s son Chance and Faron’s son Castin.
He is survived by his loving wife: Alyce; three children and six grandchildren: Cameron and Jenn, son Levi, daughter Ella; Faron, son Talon (Nicole), daughters Tyr and Axee; Crystal and Lorne, daughter Takayla (Brandon); four siblings: Evelyn, Whileen, Donnie and wife Margaret, Linda, sister-in-law June; and seven of Alyce’s siblings: Lila and husband David, Sheila, Dorothy, Lyle and wife Linda, Craig and wife Marie, Garth, Barb; many loving nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and dear family friends who were always more family than friends. A special mention to Larry, Janet and Branden Hanson of Caroline and Lorna Loomis of Innisfail, AB.
As per John’s personal request, there will be no service and his ashes will be kept with Alyce and the family. Should you ever be missing him, however, he said just “look up at the stars” or visit Marble Mountain West of Caroline for he always said when sitting on the top of that mountain, “This is where God lives. He visits here and there but this … this is where He lives.”
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to your own local Legion, pet shelter or to the Creston Valley Hospital in B.C.