DYCK, Dr. John Raymond

b. 30 August 1928 – Burwalde Manitoba

d. 21 January 2020 – Calgary, Alberta

Dr. John Dyck, beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away peacefully in the early evening of January 21st in Calgary at the age of 91. One of six boys born to John and Helena Dyck of Winkler Manitoba, John grew up on the family farm among his rambunctious brothers. After graduating from Winkler High School in 1946, and a short 6 weeks of teacher training, he taught at the Aesop School District in Rosenort — but the life of a country teacher was not for him. He returned to education, first to Bible School in Winkler and then United College in Winnipeg for his BA, and then medical school at the University of Manitoba. It was at medical school in 1955 that he married the love of his life, Florence Buhr – a pretty and vivacious young nurse. Upon graduating, their life of adventure together began when they went to Gungu, Congo with Mennonite Central Committee. John was the only doctor and Florence headed the nursing team, and together they looked after everything from surgeries, obstetrics, infectious disease, TB, emerg, and everything in between –all in French, Kituba and Kipende! After a few years they returned to Canada, only to decamp to Minneapolis where John did his pathology residency. During that time their children Donna and Peter joined the family – just in time to head back to Africa. John directed pathology labs in Moshi, Tanzania, and then again in Zaire, this time in Kinshasa. Those four years in Africa were a formative time for their young family and many memorable experiences were had camping in wildlife reserves, Kilimanjaro summit attempts, visits from friends and family, motorcycle mishaps, the rigours of medicine, and life in the diverse communities they called home. Not overly taken by our modern worries about health and safety, John regularly loaded his young family in their VW Beetle to explore the amazing people, animals, and landscapes in which they lived. Donna and Peter had the privilege of an idyllic childhood with adventurous parents.

After returning to North America, over the next 26 years John practiced as a pathologist in Minneapolis, Spokane, Calgary and finally Cranbrook. His adventurous spirit was always looking for the next new and exciting chapter, and in retired life he continued to do volunteer work overseas, directing pathology labs in Madagascar, Nepal, and Kenya. He worked hard, raised with Florence a wonderful family, and made lifelong friends wherever they lived. Throughout his long life and career, John never lost his love of laughter, learning, stories, music, hiking in the outdoors, fishing and woodworking, and most of all visiting with friends and family. John loved people and was a tremendously warm and hospitable person. He had a way of making you feel welcome and at ease in his presence. A Dyck brother through-and-through, he had a wry sense of humour, a healthy skepticism, and not a lot of patience for time-wasters – there was always more to do, explore and experience.

John had a deep faith in God, which sustained him throughout his life, and he and Florence were always very involved in their church community. In the last few years he spent a lot reading his German Bible. He loved history, learning with interest the stories of everywhere he travelled (both in body and imagination), and sought to instill in his family a love and respect for where they came from. We know that he is now with his family and friends: his beloved Florence, his brothers, his mother and father, grandparents, and many friends, all welcoming him to his next great adventure.

John is survived and dearly missed by his children Donna Ruparell (Tinu) and Peter Dyck (Susan), their three beloved grandchildren, Kiran, Sacha and Anya Ruparell, as well as his brother Walter Dyck (Margaret), and many nieces and nephews. John was predeceased by his brothers Harold, Ed, Victor, and David.

Those wishing to pay their respects can do so at Cochrane Country Funeral Home (402 Railway St W, Cochrane, AB T4C2B6) on Monday, January 27th from 4-6pm.

Memorial services will be held at Highland Mennonite Brethren Church (4018 Centre B St NW, Calgary, AB T2K0W2) on Tuesday Jan 28th at 2pm.

In lieu of flowers or tributes, donations can be made in John’s name to Mennonite Central Committee Alberta (403 275 6935; officab@mccab.ca; donate.mcccanada.ca)

Arrangements entrusted to Cochrane Country Funeral Home, Florence (Flo) Simpson, Funeral Director. Ph: 403-932-1039.

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  1. On January 24, 2020 at 10:02 am Launny Lowden Said:

    Dear Dyck family,

    I knew both your parents growing up at First Baptist Church in Cranbrook. They were so kind to me as an inquisitive young child, and were loved an influential members of the community. At age 12 I learned about pathology and knew I had found my life’s calling, and whenever I mentioned it people would say, “Oh, just like John!” and tell me about his passion for medicine and the adventures your parents embarked on together overseas. I am now a pathologist in Cranbrook, and dearly hope to do similar medical mission work.
    I only wish I had taken the opportunity to thank your father for the inspiration!

    My deepest condolences for your loss.

  2. On January 25, 2020 at 8:56 am Don Dyck Said:

    Dear Donna and Peter and families.
    My condolences go out to you on your loss. John was a dear cousin and example to me in my career choice of Medicine and Radiology. I have fond memories of past visits and more recently phone calls reminding me of his passion for family, medicine and his faith! Enjoy and treasure his memory!

  3. On January 25, 2020 at 2:24 pm June and Eldon Wiebe Said:

    Dear Donna and Peter,
    Our condolences to you and your families. We had many fun times with Florence and John. The made the odd trip to Edmonton to see Donna and that when we enjoyed a visit.Then after in Cranbrook we had fellowship with them as we had occasion to visit our family there. We always had such a good laughing time with them both.
    In the last years we haven’t been in contact, but through the same friends we have heard of Florences passing and now of John.
    They will be missed by everyone who knew them. Especially the grandchildren. God Bless you all!!

  4. On January 26, 2020 at 11:21 am Jayant and Chandrika Ruparell Said:

    We have known John and Florence ever since Tinu got married to Donna. He has always been a kind and loving
    Person. In our conversations he always remembered about his time in Tanzania and conversed sometimes in
    Swahili, the national language of Tanzania. His love for samosa and other Indian delicacy will always be remembered.

    Our deepest condolences to both of you.

  5. On January 28, 2020 at 10:57 pm David and Linda Morrison Said:

    Dear Donna and Peter with your families,

    Thank you for this lovely tribute to your dad (and your mom). You know, I am sure, that they were extraordinary individuals. They drew people to them and so they drew people together. I am not sure that there is anything higher to aspire to in the spiritual life than to be truly, deeply, sincerely hospitable. Your father and your mother were that.

    Today I read a Mary Oliver poem celebrating the sweetness of the Honey Locust tree. The closing stanza goes like this:

    “So it is,
    if the heart has devoted itself to love, there is,
    not a single inch of emptiness. Gladness gleams
    all the way to the grave.”

    Honey Locust New and Selected Poems Vol. 2

    They have completed their laughing, loving, sacrificing, serving way. And didn’t it did gleam!

    David and Linda Morrison

  6. On January 29, 2020 at 10:36 am John and Lillian Toews Said:

    Dear Peter and Donna
    Condolences on the home going of your beloved father!
    He was an amazing person ,as was your mother.
    We first met John when he arrived in Calgary for his new job at the Foothills hospital.we invited
    him for lunch when he attended our little church.We remained friends and enjoyed many visits together.
    A group of friends met yearly at different homes in Cranbrook,Parksville,Vancouver and Calgary-and Cockrane .
    last joint meeting was in Parksville where your family had enjoyed a gathering.
    We mourned the death of your mother and did so with John when he visited us the last time alone.
    He seemed a lost man without the his Florence!
    John was so proud of his two children ,their spouses, and grandchildren!
    We will not be forgotten! God bless

  7. On January 29, 2020 at 9:43 pm Joan Zimmerman-Manjak Said:

    Dear Donna and Tinu, Peter and all the family
    Heaven is so much richer with the presence of your dear father. He was much loved by us all at First Baptist Church, Cranbrook. Both he and your mom were so personal and warm. I know that you will be ever thankful to them for the rich life they gave you. It is amazing to read of their deep faith and commitment expressed by their lives together and the ways that they allowed the Lord to use them to bless our world, to meet and minister to those in great need, especially in the health field. John always nurtured my heart for missions. I will never forget him! May the Lord bless you young families now, as you move to tread into your parents’ amazing shoes. Our prayers for peace and comfort and strength for you all.

  8. On February 6, 2020 at 12:44 pm Jordan Allen Said:

    I would like to send my condolences to the Dyck family. I was the manager at the Cochrane Coffee Traders Roasterie and Dr. Dyck was a favourite customer of mine. He had a wonderful sense of humour and wonderful stories about his time in Africa. We would chat about coffee beans and Robusta was one of his favourites so I made a special blend just for him when he would come in. When I said how nice it was to see him each time he would always say with a grin “I’ll be coming in here until you see my name in the paper” and this week that very thing happened and a tear came to my eye. He touched my life in such an incredible way even though our interactions were infrequent, I cherished seeing him. I wanted to let you know that and send my prayers for comfort in your time of grieving.

  9. On May 21, 2020 at 11:20 am Dr. Tristan Ziegenhagel Said:

    We would like to express our deepest condolences to the Dyck Family. We were very sad to learn of John’s passing. We have such fond memories of both he and Florence coming to our office. A remarkable couple and such friendly people.