John was born on August 30, 1936 in Aylsham, SK, the eldest child of James (Scotty) and Annabelle (Alton) Sinclair. When he was an infant his family moved to Ravendale to homestead. John attended the Ravendale school along with his siblings Jeanette and Keith.He began honing his skill and love for the working horse as a youth and young adult. Despite his parent’s encouragement to continue his schooling, he didn’t return after grade eight as he preferred to embark on his life’s work in the agricultural industry, as a grain and livestock farmer. This included some time in the 1960s and 70s riding the Donlands, Pontrilas and Smoky Burn pastures and short-haul trucking of pigs for Matt Kearns at Carrot River.
John and Anne (Ginter) married in 1963 and raised their four children at Ravendale. He was a Ravendale resident until 1990. John has lived in the Nipawin area for the past 28 years, including several years in the town of Love and in Nipawin since 2012 most recently at Aspen Grove.
When John was no longer involved in agriculture as a livelihood, he continued to express traditions and his love of the land by working in animal husbandry all over Saskatchewan and beyond and as an avid vegetable gardener at home, as well as a community volunteer. He loved training horses to drive, and really enjoyed matching black teams, and even worked them as a lead hand on Dalziel’s buffalo ranch at Love.
Over the years, he served on local boards and councils, including the Moose Range RM, Parkland Care Centre and Torch Trail Bible Camp. John entered his team in many local parades, including in the Nipawin Fair parade for 50 consecutive years. Nipawin Parks & Recreation recognized him with an “outstanding volunteer in sport, culture & recreation” award in 2016, and he took calls for animal husbandry work well past his 80th birthday.
John was known for his competitive nature that he focused on heavy horse pull competitions throughout northeastern SK and getting out on wagon treks in southern SK in the 1990s. In earlier decades, he was a pony chariot and chuckwagon driver. He was a horse trainer and enthusiast who loved sharing his knowledge with fellow enthusiasts. In his later years you could find him out pleasure driving one of those black teams, using them in the forest harvesting firewood or giving sleigh and wagon rides at family and community events with a focus on youth.
Family and friends were really important to John; he loved coffee row. Some of mom and dad’s favourite things to do in retirement were spending a day or two at Manitou Springs Resort & Spa and taking road trips to visit family, especially to see the grandchildren in Alberta. Sometimes the road trip took them a little further down the road to BC to be with friends from years gone by.
John passed away very peacefully with his family by his side on Sunday, April 8, 2018 at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert. He was predeceased by his father Scotty in 1957, his mother Annabelle in 2008, his brother-in-law Frank Schekk in 2009 and his sister Jeanette Schekk in 2013.
John will always be remembered and especially missed by his loving wife Anne and their four children – James (Susan Bradley) of Shawnigan Lake, BC, Norm of White Fox, Marilyn of Saskatoon, Ken (Shauna) of Spruce Lake, SK; four grandchildren and one great grandchild – Krista (Aaron Fletcher) and their son Grant of Cereal, AB, Kari of Empress, AB, Kyle of Bindloss, AB, Levi and Levi’s mother Rachel of Love; and his brother Keith (Marlene) of Carrot River. He also leaves to mourn many cousins, nieces and nephews.
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