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WIEBE, John

June 3, 1926 – Colonsay, Saskatchewan
May 31, 2018 – Calgary, Alberta

John Wiebe of Calgary, AB, passed away on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at the age of 91 years.

John, the middle child in a family of nine, was the first one born on Canadian soil after his parents immigrated in 1926. He grew up in the Saskatoon area and then went to Guelph, Ontario, to study agriculture where he earned a B.S.A. He received his M.S. in 1953 and Ph.D in 1955, both from Cornell University in New York.

In 1947, he married Elsie and they had six children. He was predeceased by Elsie in 2010. He was father to Harvey d. 2001 (Lorraine), Stanley d. 1972, Martha d. 2006, Paul, Tom (Carolyn), and Marianne (Michael); grandfather to thirteen; and great-grandfather to five.

In 1955, he was employed as a Research Scientist at the Horticultural Experiment Station, Vineland, Ontario. Dr. Wiebe had a close working relationship with growers in the Niagara Peninsula. His main interests were in vegetable and grape research, including fertility, plant breeding and plant physiology. He authored or co-authored about 50 publications dealing primarily with vegetable production. One particular publication, the Grape Climatic Zone Map, formed the basis for many subsequent studies of grape site suitability throughout the Niagara Peninsula. In 1967, he received a leave of absence and spent two years with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, assigned to Cairo, Egypt with the whole family.

After working for 22 years in Vineland, Ontario, he returned to the west in 1977 as Director of the Horticultural Experiment Station, Brooks Alberta. In 1983, he and Elsie moved to Edmonton where he directed the Plant Industry division of the Department of Agriculture. He enjoyed dealing with crop-related issues as he travelled throughout the province.

At the age of 61 he retired from his professional life but he was not ready to quit working so he sought out projects where he could apply his expertise. For projects related to agriculture and water development, he went to India, Ghana and Dominica with Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). There was also work in Mexico with Mennonite Central Committee as well has five projects in northern China where he was able to establish better quality vegetable production. Together John and Elsie lived and worked in Egypt a second time, Tanzania and El Salvador.

He held leadership positions in the church and community and in retirement spent every Monday at the MCC Thrift Shop in Calgary, repairing computers and sewing machines and often would take home old jeans to be cut into squares that the store sells to quilters.

To keep his hand in agriculture he would often help out family and friends with gardening issues as well as dead wood removal and pruning.

Funeral Services will be held at Highland Mennonite Brethren Church (4018 Centre B Street N.W., Calgary, AB) on
Saturday, June 9, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. Graveside Service to follow reception at Queen’s Park Cemetery. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.

In living memory of John Wiebe, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 CENTRE STREET NORTH, CALGARY, AB, T2E 2V6, Telephone: 403-276-2296.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Elizabeth Webster :

    We were broken-hearted at Lake Bonavista Village to hear of John’s passing. His compassion and love of life touched us all during his many years with us. We’re so grateful for the beautiful gardens he planted around the grounds that will live on for us to love, and serve as a reminder of our dear John for many years to come. From all of us, thank you to John’s family for helping to introduce him to our lives.

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  2. Kari Kentner :

    I loved Uncle John and will miss his kind spirit and delightful way of making my kids smile.

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  3. Ellen Wiebe :

    I loved Uncle John’s humour, sharp intellect, and thoughtfulness and we had many long conversations on Skype. He reminded me so much of my dad, his oldest brother, and helped make up for his loss. I miss him, as I am sure many others do.

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  4. Dorothy Unrau (Andres) :

    Our Andres family have so many fond memory’s John and Elsie, —-living, all 5 of us, with them in Vineland for awhile while our house was being built. Uncle John introduced us to fishing in the 15 mile creek for minnows, snapping beans and knowing what mushrooms to eat and what not to eat. He always took time to teach us things. Loved being with him. Will truly miss him

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  5. Jeannette Ridley :

    On behave of the Calgary Area Gideon Chapter, we wish to extend our condolences to the family John Wiebe. He was greatly appreciated and admired for his 30+ years of service to the Gideon organization in Canada. He so enjoyed passing out scriptures to the children each year, and served in all of the executive positions locally and provincially over the years. Our prayers are with each member of the family that we know he so loved and cherished. He and Elsie proudly talked much about their family, so that we felt we knew each one of you. May you know God’s comfort at this time.
    Jeannette Ridley, sec.
    Greater Calgary Area Gideon Chapter

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  6. Wayne Montgomery :

    Sympathy – particularly to Paul and Tom. I didn’t know your Dad well, but was impressed with his accepting personality at the family times when we met.

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  7. From the Frank Unrau family – Frank and Diana (Campden, Ont,), Ron and Kim (Edmonton, AB) and Cindy (Toronto, Ont.)
    Our most sincere condolences to your family. John was a support and a friend to our family for many years. He worked with David Unrau (father and grandfather) at the experimental farm in Vineland, and our families have enjoyed many visits together over the years. We visited John and Elsie at their home in Calgary, where the wit and wisdom of both was shared. Love and prayers to you all.

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  8. Katherine Hardardt :

    Hi, Paul. I’m deeply sorry to hear of your loss. I read your Dad’s obituary, and he was a very brilliant, accomplished, talented, giving person. What an amazing long life he lived!
    Know that My prayers are with you at this time. May God himself be very close and real to you, and the Holy Spirit, a huge comfort to you and bring you peace.

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  9. Doris Rempel :

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

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  10. David Andres :

    I have many happy memories with Uncle John. I spent many a time at their house. He introduced me to many new vegetables that I never had before. Uncle John was always teaching me something new and I really appreciated him for that. But Uncle John loved to have a fun time with us kids. He was famous for his coin trick which was always a hit with the children. Judy & I will miss his emails, smiles and advice.

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  11. Noureddine Benkeblia :

    Even though I do not know Dr. Webe, it is always sad to lose someone who dedicated his life to our discipline.

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  12. Emily Andersen :

    My father, Dr Emil T Andersen from HRIO Vineland, was a colleague of Dr Weibe’s in the early ’70s and greatly admired him. Our family lived near the Wiebe family on the HRIO grounds. My sincere condolences to the Wiebe family at this time. It was wonderful to read his obituary and catch up on the family’s history. I remember him as a remarkable man.

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  13. HIELKE DE JONG :

    My sincere condolences. Well done you good and faithful servant!

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  14. Mark Townson :

    Tom, Carolyn & family,
    Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with all of you as you deal with the recent passing of your Dad, father-in-law and grandfather.
    Mark & Donna Townson and family

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  15. Dorothy Collin :

    So sorry to hear about your Dad John Worked with George ( 2013 ) in Vineland and Simcoe and then went out Brooks Alberta to the research Station in 1974 followed by your family when we came back to Toronto in 1977 Lots of good memories for all of us Retired to Fergus 1992 Dorothy Collin

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  16. David Hunter :

    My sincere condolences to the Wiebe family at this sad time. I was John’s technician at HRIO from March 1971 until he moved west in 1977. I felt that our working relationship changed from the initial scientist-technician to senior partner-junior partner after several years. He encouraged me to register for a part-time M. Sc. program at Brock – with 2 young children and a stay-at-home wife, it was essential that I continued on salary – and that was another very significant step in my career path. But unfortunately, as in so many cases, we lost touch, so it was a pleasure for me to see him and Elsie in 2006 at Vineland’s centennial celebration.

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  17. Teresa Voordouw - Coady :

    My sincere condolences to the Wiebe Family! I was lucky enough to call you Grandpa Wiebe! I have such special memories when we will lived in Edmonton! Thank you for always being so caring.

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  18. Emma Krouzelka :

    Dear Paul, Marianne, Tom and families.
    Our deepest condolences on the passing of your father. He was to our family a favourite uncle (and to many other nieces and nephews I think). His death leaves a big whole in our extended family, and we will often remember him fondly. We wish you God’s comfort,
    cousins Emma (Lenzmann) and Mike Krouzelka

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  19. Joanne & Tom Janzen :

    John & Elsie will always have a special place in my heart and those my children. When we moved to Edmonton in the 1980’s, we did not know a soul. John & Elsie took us under their wing, and even became surrogate grandparents to Teresa, David & Philip.
    John was a wonderful man, and will be missed dearly.

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  20. Geraldine Tenyenhuis :

    Tom and Carolyn:
    Sorry to hear about your Dad’s passing. Sounds like he led a full productive life. His legacy will continue to live on in all the places in which he made the world a better place.
    Geraldine Tenyenhuis

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  21. Lew and Dorothy Ricketson :

    Our condolences to family members. We have fond memories of living at Vineland with John and family. Our children still remember the skating rink, tree house, Wiebe mountain, etc.

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  22. Kate Helen Fisher :

    Family of Dr. John,
    I would like to express my sincerest condolences to the family. John was my masters’ supervisor at Vineland along with Mr Ollie Bradt and brought a different perspective to my work with his background in vegetables and plant physiology. He was the first research scientist I met (this was the 1970’s remember) who wasn’t afraid to wear overalls in the field and climb up onto a very ungainly over-the-row tractor for a demonstration of innovative machinery for high density vineyards/orchards. John taught me a great deal about human perspective which I see he continued to pursue throughout his whole career. A life well lived.

    Helen Fisher

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  23. Peter & Margaret Petkau :

    John Wiebe family
    Our condolences. Many memories of how he touched our family – Bible Studies at our home while Anne was ill. Working together in the GIDEON organization – planning fundraising events,etc.
    Peter and Margaret Petkau

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  24. Barbara C. Van Norman :

    Our loving thoughts are with those of you who knew John as dad, his family members, and friends. We only came to know John (and Elsie) in their retirement years. The two came to a reunion of Wiebe family members in the US and Canada first in 1997. From that time on it was a great connection via reunions every three years and Christmas letters. We treasure our memories of this fine man and his wife and family. The best to all of you as you remember John.

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  25. Condolences from Dawn Wiebe, Jim Wiebe, Judy Wiebe and family members.
    Uncle John was special to our family. He always had stories to tell, and if there were kids around, he always spent time with them. Whether it was the magical disappearing coin or learning to play Crokinole, he was fun to be with. He was a kind and gentle man and made an impact on all our lives. We will miss him dearly.

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  26. Susan Lenzmann :

    We have fond memories of your parent’s (Uncle John and Aunt Elsie’s) visits with us. We enjoyed Uncle John’s story telling and sense of humor. We pray that God will comfort you at this time with many happy memories of your father.

    You are in our prayers,

    Henry, Alvin, Martha and Susan

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  27. Karen Tanino, President CSHS :

    Dr. John Wiebe was one of the few honorary life members of the Canadian Society for Horticultural Science (CSHS), the professional horticultural association of academics, researchers and students across Canada. Unfortunately, I did not know him personally but ironically through his death, I am learning about his life and immense contributions to agriculture, horticulture and society. On behalf of the CSHS, my deepest condolences to the family, and my thanks in particular to his son, Paul, for keeping us informed.

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  28. Rodney Loewen :

    Dear Tom & Carolyn and family,
    My sympathy to you all on the passing of your father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Even though he is greatly missed, it is good to know he is in Heaven with the Lord.
    My condolences,
    Rodney Loewen

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  29. Alice Fanous :

    Paul, Tom and Marianne
    Our hearts and prayers with you. We have lost a dear friend. We pray that our “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort would comfort and sustain you during this difficult time and give you His perfect peace”.

    We Nabil and myself met John and Elsie and the family in 1967 when you came to Egypt. We became close friends. You all attended our wedding in 1969. We met several times in Canada. They stayed with us when they returned to Egypt. We kept in touch through mail and Skype.

    We are sure that heaven is celebrating the arrival of a faithful, loving and dedicated servant of the Lord.
    Nabil and Alice

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  30. Darcy Driedger :

    Many people in the Brooks area remember Dr. Wiebe with fondness from his time as Director at the Alberta Horticultural Research Centre, now known as the Crop Diversification Centre South (CDCS). As the current Director of CDCS, please accept my deepest sympathies on behalf of the staff at CDCS.

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  31. Beverly Flynn :

    Paul, Tom, Carolyn and families – our condolences to each of you with the passing of your father (in-law). Your own lives reflect the best of his life.
    Beverly Flynn

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  32. Dear Wiebe Family,
    Our family went to Highland MB Church with John and Elsie for many years. John and Elsie were one of the first to welcome us to Highland. They invited us out for lunch even though they didn’t know us at all. John and Elsie were always so friendly and wonderful to us; John was full of interesting stories of his travels and work as well as the latest new of his garden at their condo. He was a true example of Christ’s love. Our deepest condolences to your family at this difficult time.
    Jayrin Yue

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