1956 – Magrath, AB
2013 – Calgary, AB
It is with great sadness that we announce that John, beloved husband of Barbara Blumell (nee Ogden) of Calgary, AB, passed away on November 3, 2013 at the age of 57 years.
John was born May 15, 1956 in Magrath, Alberta, to Emerson and Lois Blumell, and was the youngest of their six children. Emerson was a high school principal and taught John the importance of a good education. Lois was warm and generous and passed onto John her love of dancing. John was an easygoing and pleasant child who was generally doted on by his older siblings. When John was five the Blumell’s moved to Hanna, Alberta, where Emerson worked as the Superintendent of the school division. Emerson moved the family to northwest Calgary to work in the provincial department of education when John was 10 and John called Calgary his home for the rest of his life. During high school, John became best friends with Barb Ogden. He had a crush on her from the moment he noticed her and it wasn’t too long until she felt the same way about him.
In May of 1975, John was thrilled with the opportunity to go on a mission to the Maritimes for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although John experienced some abdominal pain before his mission, while on his mission the pain increased and became severe. John was devastated to have to come home from his mission after only four months because he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. John considered having to come home premature from his mission as his greatest regret in life. Crohn’s is a devastating disease that can be extremely painful and significantly affect a person’s quality of life, but John managed the disease with fortitude and with what he referred to as his PMA – positive mental attitude. One doctor commented that he had never seen a patient manage with Crohn’s disease as well as John did. John was determined not to let this disease get in the way of his life.
On August 13, 1977 John married his high school sweetheart, Barb, in the Cardston, Alberta LDS temple. That September John resumed his school at the University of Calgary. Every night he came home doubled over in pain from the Crohn’s disease and Barb cared for him. Surgery the following year allowed John to move forward in life without daily pain. In March of 1979, Barb gave birth to a little girl, the first of six children, the last of whom was born on John’s birthday in 1990. John considered his greatest accomplishment to be the children he and Barb raised together. As a father, John loved to share his passions with his children. Whether he was currently interested in investing money, politics, country music, or the next family vacation, John would talk about it with enthusiasm until everyone else was as worked up about the subject as he was.
John completed his B. Comm at the University of Calgary and completed many other courses and designations relating to his career in accounting, including his CMA. John was always a wise steward of his resources and he passed his financial assiduousness onto his children, going so far as to purchase a whiteboard, which he used to teach financial principles like the “rule of 72”. In addition to working full-time as an employee, most recently at Condominium First Services, John always did personal and corporate taxes on the side and many of his tax clients became his good friends. The Blumell children grew up knowing not to plan too much during “tax season”, and often eagerly awaited May 1st, as only an accountant’s children could. John’s children always knew their dad worked hard to support their family. On top of his “day jobs”, John also considered himself an entrepreneur and started a few small businesses throughout his life. Many of his children were able to work part-time for his courier company, Eagle Express.
John was very involved in the Scouting program throughout his life and he passed on his love of the outdoors to many young people, including his children. A cherished family memory is of canoe trips down the North Saskatchewan River every summer. John could always tell a good story, and stories of canoeing adventures were family favorites. John successfully used Scouting as a way to help youth learn important life skills, like working hard, keeping a positive attitude, and helping others.
John loved to dance. John and Barb spent their teenage years dancing together at the “Saturday night dances” at the LDS church on 17th Ave. before going to Peter’s Drive-In for milkshakes, a tradition which continued for all six of their children. John taught all of his children how to jive and many nights around the Blumell house evolved into an informal family dance. Someone would turn on a song and soon everyone was dancing, sometimes for hours.
Given his warm personality, John accumulated many good friends. For thirty years John and Barb were part of a Rook Club. What began as a night to get together and play a favorite card game evolved into lifelong friends who became like family. John was also well loved by his extended family, where he was known as a devoted son-in-law, a kind brother-in-law and a fun uncle.
One of the greatest lessons John taught his children was to be kind to everyone. John was always the person who made a newcomer to any group feel welcome. He was always warm, approachable, fun and energetic. A party was more fun if John was there. John had an ability to love everyone unconditionally. He displayed these traits with his friends and with his church service, including as a Bishop of the Brentwood Young Adult Ward. John was a particularly great mentor for youth that he worked with through church.
In the final moments of John’s life, Barb leaned over and whispered that the grandkids would miss their Papa John. Although seemingly unconscious, two tears rolled down John’s cheeks. He loved being a grandpa and he will miss Kung Fu fighting and making Root Beer “Frosties” with his grandchildren. He would often hold a grandbaby and say, “Life doesn’t get any better than this.” He regularly told his children, “I want 20 grandkids, you do the math.” So far he has 13 grandkids, with one more on the way.
Besides his loving wife, John is survived by his children Sarah and Brent Bieber of Calgary, Jennifer and Chad Simmonds of Medicine Hat, Jason and Melissa Blumell of Lethbridge, Laura and Chris Stephan of Red Deer, Katie and Greg Pecharsky of Cochrane, and Scott and Kirsten Blumell of Rexburg, Idaho. ‘Papa John’ will be fondly remembered by his 13 adoring grandchildren. John is also survived by his siblings and their families, Bruce (Jean) Blumell, Richard (Carmen) Blumell, Janine (Bruce) Barnard, Debbie (Greg) Sutor, brother-in-law Judd Bunnage, as well as his father-and-mother-in-law, Gordon and Betty Ogden, and the extended Ogden family. After a brief battle with cancer, John is now reunited with his parents, Emerson and Lois Blumell, and his sister Linda Bunnage.
Those wishing to pay their respects may do so at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Crowfoot Chapel (82 Crowfoot Circle N.W.), on Friday, November 8, 2013 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Funeral Services will be held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bow Valley Chapel (2526 – 24 Avenue N.W.), on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. A Graveside Service to follow at Eden Brook Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. The Blumell family would like to thank the wonderful nursing staff of Unit 44 at PLC for their kind and loving care. They helped to make our journey easier.
John’s family would appreciate if you would wear a poppy to his funeral in honour of our fallen soldiers. John loved to tell stories of brave Canadian soldiers and wore a poppy with pride every Remembrance Day.
In living memory of John Blumell, a tree will be planted at Big Hill Springs Park Cochrane by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot Chapel, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE N.W. Telephone: (403) 241-0044.Print This Obituary & Condolences