John Schellenberg
November 14, 1931 – March 21, 2015

Surrounded by his family, John Schellenberg of Calgary, AB passed away at the age of 83, on Saturday, March 21, 2015.

John was born on November 14, 1931, in Coaldale, AB, and grew up on a farm north of the town. In 1951, John’s faith led him to attend the Mennonite Bible Institute in Didsbury, AB, where he forged many lifelong friendships. It was there that he met Ina Hiebert whom he married on October 3, 1953 and with whom he shared 62 years. Together they were blessed with seven children.

In 1956 John and Ina moved from Coaldale to Calgary where he began studies in the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary. His teaching career began at Branton Junior High School where he taught Phys Ed, Language Arts and Social Studies. In 1970 John was appointed principal of Ernest Morrow Junior High where he served for seven years and where his calling to teach was deepened. In 1977 John agreed to become the first principal of Jack James, a new high school in NE Calgary. He spoke often of the challenge and opportunity of creating a nurturing and vibrant school culture; of his passion for working with students and parents; and of the many incredible teaching colleagues with whom he felt privileged to work. He concluded his teaching career with the Calgary Board of Education as an Assistant Superintendent, following which he served for two years as principal of Menno Simons Christian School, a school in which he came to believe deeply.

John loved and was committed to the church. He was actively involved in the life of Foothills Mennonite Church, a faith community which nurtured his family and which he saw extending meaningfully into the broader community. In addition he served in various roles within Mennonite Church Alberta, always working towards greater congregational unity.

John loved sports of all kinds, hiking and playing basketball well into his 70’s and biking until a few months before his death. Throughout, John was a devoted husband, loving father, gifted leader, and a genuinely humble, faith-filled person whose compassion was experienced by many.

John is survived by his loving wife, Ina; his six children Terry (Brenda), Gail, Craig (Patricia), Bob (Sandi), Jeff (Ingrid), Kim Thiessen (Byron) and son-in-law, Michael Beriault (Sylvia Guler), having been predeceased by his daughter Karen (Beriault) who died in 2002. John is also survived by 17 loving grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

An informal, come and go opportunity for visiting and sharing, will take place from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm on Wednesday, March 25 at Foothills Mennonite Church. A Memorial Service will be held at Foothills Mennonite Church on Thursday, March 26 at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to remember John in a special way may do so with donations to the Mennonite Central Committee Global Family Program at: MCCAB, 210 – 2946 32 St NE, Calgary, AB T1Y6J7.

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  1. On 24/03/2015 at 3:08 am Doris Schmidt Said:

    To Bob, Gail, Terry….those whom I’ve met through Joan Helmuth-Yoder and Paul Helmuth…I offer you my sincere condolences to all of your family for your father’s passing. I wish you and yours All that you wish….for yourselves and each other during this week and all the weeks to come as you return to a new normal.

  2. On 25/03/2015 at 5:38 pm john piera Said:

    Dear Ina and family,

    On behalf of my family, please accept our condolences on your loss. I have tremendous respect and appreciation for John as a mentor and influential person in my life. When I was a teenager, he recognized I was full of questions and took me aside to encouraged me to attend Columbia Bible College which I did. When I returned, he challenged me to serve the Lord by serving our community first by being a church delegate for the provincial conference and later by taking on leadership positions. Over the years I met with him several times at the Highlander Hotel over coffee and pie to discuss current events, theological issues and life. I suspect that he was a mentor to many young people throughout the course of his life and the world is a better place for it. He will be missed.

    John, Iris, Johan, Heywood, Sammy and Wesley

  3. On 25/03/2015 at 7:29 pm Dennis and Lovetta Helmuth Said:


    Warm regards and condolences to your entire family as you say farewell to John.
    I picture him skiing, hiking, playing basketball, etc, all the while forever loving his family and many others throughout his life journey. I’ve no doubt he will forever be in your thoughts and that you will carry his kindness and love forward well into the future.

    Sincerely, Dennis and Lovetta Helmuth

  4. On 26/03/2015 at 7:18 am Bert and Ed Enns Said:

    To our cherished Schellenberg family,
    We remember John with much fondness and admiration. Over the years, we witnessed his many gifts of leadership, compassion, wisdom, humour… and so much more. We extend our condolences as you gather today to celebrate John’s life. We wish we could join you but are out-of-town this week. May the many memories of love shared be a source of comfort and strength through this day and the days ahead as you encounter the grief and pain of your loss. Sending our love and hugs.
    With much care, Bert and Ed Enns

  5. On 26/03/2015 at 9:36 am Joan and Eric Yoder Said:

    Love and Hugs during this time, immersed in the loving memories of your Dear Father.

  6. On 26/03/2015 at 10:04 am Connie Said:

    Dear Aunt Ina and family,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you especially today. May the peace of God wash over you.
    Love, Ray and Connie

  7. On 26/03/2015 at 10:40 am Shan Kerber Said:

    My sincere condolences to the family, particularly Bob and Gail. Your Dad must have been a wonderfully kind and thoughtful person and you will miss him. Keep the good memories close to your heart.
    Sincerely, Shan Kerber

  8. On 27/03/2015 at 3:25 pm Peter and Lisa Helmuth Said:

    Bob, Sandy and Family
    Our sincerest sympathy and condolences to you at this time. We are thinking of you.
    Peter and Lisa Helmuth