John William Ostafichuk was born at his family homestead along the Red Deer River on April 19th, 1930. He was baptized in Patricia, AB, in line with traditional Ukrainian Catholic customs. John was educated in both Patricia and Berry Creek, with the latter being his preferred school because in the winter time he was able to cut across the frozen river rather than having to take the ferry to get across. The final location that John attended school was closer to home, in a one room school house at Imperial Colony. John’s role as a provider began quite young, and he spent his childhood working on the farm and caring for his parents and siblings. On the rare occasion he was able to slip away for some fun, John would enjoy river skating parties, as well as hunting and fishing with his best friend Pat Conners. However, even his hobbies were centered around caring for his love ones, as he would often fish to feed his family. John met his future wife, Eileen Riste, at a dance in Iddesleigh, waiting eight years before marrying. John wanted to ensure he was able to provide Eileen and his future family with all they deserved, including Eileen’s dream house that he built with his own two hands. Upon completion of their home, John and Eileen were married on October 27, 1962 in Brooks, AB at the United Church. It was a beautiful autumn day, and Eileen’s father, Ollie, paid the band extra to play well into the night. John regularly spoke of how grateful he was for the love that his father-in-law showed him over the years; a love that was multiplied by John in his interactions with his wife, children, and grandchildren. John and Eileen welcomed their first child, Susan Eileen in September 1963. Sonja Marie followed shortly after in January of 1966. John was a loving father who never got mad, and seldom raised his voice—even when the girls might have deserved it. He was always involved in his community in some capacity. In his younger years you could count on him to be at your branding, and he was one of the first to lend a hand if his neighbors were in need of a little extra help. He loved watching rodeo when he could, whether it be in person or on the Cowboy Channel, and was a passionate chuckwagon enthusiast. John was a social man, and if you knew him you knew that he could tell a story second to none. Over the years he attended many Calgary Stampedes, and attended the Calgary Bull Sale for 45 consecutive years. As John got older, he wasn’t able to venture out quite as far, but you could count on him to be sitting around the table for the midday coffee at the Patricia Fire Hall. John also enjoyed spending time alone, and could be found out on his land checking on his cows, or in his garden with his dog and a shovel (to ensure every inch of that land was irrigated). Above all, though, John loved his family fiercely and unconditionally. If you would have asked him what his greatest accomplishment in life was, your question would have been answered without a moment of hesitation: his granddaughters. Papa O was the loudest supporter in the stands while we ran our barrels and competed in basketball games, he held onto every single 4-H ribbon we ever brought home, and he always made sure our fridges were filled with garden veggies and Hutterite eggs. He was, and always will be, the voice in our head when we get into a vehicle: don’t forget to snap in. John and Eileen lived in the home he built them for nearly their entire 59 year marriage. They moved to Brooks together in 2019, and then eventually to Medicine Hat. John passed away on April 22nd, 2022 at the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital, surrounded by his family. He was predeceased by his eldest daughter, Susan Wigemyr, brother Mike Ostafichuk, and both his parents. He is survived by his wife Eileen, daughter Sonja Schock (Tracey), son-in-law Blaine Wigemyr, granddaughters Nicole Magnuson (Jordan), Maddison Drader (Ryan), Paige Schock (Baxter), and Brooke Schock. There will be a Final Farewell for Johnny O. at the Patricia Hall on Tuesday, May 3rd at 2:00 PM. The family asks that in lieu of flowers you make a donation to the Alberta Diabetes Foundation in honor of both John, and his daughter Susan. For further information, or to leave a message of sympathy, please visit www.thomsfuneral home.com or call (403) 501-1010.
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