On August 13, 2012, with his wife, the love of his life, by his side, John Owen Kjelson of Heffley Creek, B.C., passed away peacefully in Vancouver, B.C., from rare lung complications following a successful stem cell transplant for Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He accepted his recent illness with dignity and grace.
The youngest child of Owen and Winnifred (Freddy) Kjelson, John was born in Kamloops, B.C., on May 12, 1955. John graduated from North Kamloops Secondary School and earned an Electronics Technician Certificate from Cariboo College.
An early employer was the B.C. Forestry Service, where he worked in fire suppression. He was later employed at Balco Forest Products before starting a 26-year career at the Kamloops YMCA-YWCA, the last 21 years as Maintenance Supervisor. John believed that the Y has an important mission to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities and was proud of his role in supporting its programs.
John enjoyed the outdoors. Amongst his greatest pleasures were hiking on a sunny, crisp fall day around his home near Heffley Lake, searching out firewood for the winter, and hunting and fishing with family and friends at Lac Le Jeune. He shared with Berta a passion for collecting and antiquing. His keen interest in the history of his hometown led John to become a collector of all things Kamloops.
John had a great affection for animals and they for him. He took particular joy in the companionship of the dogs, cats and horses that became such an important part of his life. At the home he loved, John enjoyed puttering around, designing, building and making things work. Family visits to the house were never complete without a game or two of crib.
John was a gentle, kind and caring man who cherished his friends and loved his family most of all. His loving support of his parents and his mother-in-law as they reached the end of their own lives was a great gift, freely given. Johns sense of humour stayed with him throughout his illness, providing needed comfort to his family and friends.
John is survived by his loving wife of 27 years, Roberta Kjelson, and his cherished sisters, Karen Fyke and Kathy (Bill) Kals of Kamloops. He will be sorely missed by his uncles, Norman Kjelson and Elwood Blogg of Penticton; his aunts, Margaret (Don) Taylor of Kamloops, and Shirley Knuff of Salmon Arm; his nephews and nieces, Bradley Fyke, Steven Fyke and Krista Kals of Kamloops, Shannon Derrick of Ottawa, Colleen Derrick of Calgary, and Kyle Derrick of Regina; brother-in-law, Roy (Angie) Derrick of Vernon; and many dear cousins and faithful friends.
The family extends its thanks to the exceptional Vancouver General Hospital BMT/Leukemia medical team that supported John in his courageous battle with illness, and to Dr. Kraig Montalbetti of Kamloops. Special gratitude and thanks go to Dr. Donna Forrest, Dr. John Shepherd, and Dr. Kevin Song for their extraordinary combination of medical skill and compassion. Heartfelt appreciation is also extended to the nurses of the BMT/Leukemia unit and especially Julia, Scott and Michelle who made Johns last day so comfortable.
Heartfelt appreciation goes to Johns special friends Jim Stanley, Marty Winksne and Helen and Francis Barnett and family members Kathy Kals, Suzie and Sid Burton and Larry Amstutz for their exceptional support to John and Roberta during the final weeks of Johns life.
No service by request. Cremation and interment at Hillside Cemetery, Kamloops. Schoenings Funeral Service in charge of arrangements.
An open house will be held at St. Andrews on the Square, 159 Seymour Street, Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, August 27, 12 Noon to 2:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, a donation in Johns memory to the Patient Accommodation Pilot Program or the Hematology Research Clinical Trials Unit at VGH/UBC Hospital Foundation, 855 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V5Z 1M9 (online at www.worldclasshealthcare.ca) or the Kamloops YMCA-YWCA Strong Kids Program,
400 Battle Street, Kamloops, B.C. V2C 2L7, would be appreciated.