It’s with sadness the Gripich family announces the passing of John on the morning of June 19, 2019. He was 83.
John was born in Rycroft, AB in the summer of 1936. His father Joe was a first-generation Ukrainian immigrant who was a shoemaker in town. John went to the local Public School but got his first job splitting wood at Joe’s Café when he was just 9. By 14 he was already working on a highway crew building local roads. That would lead him to a lifelong career in road construction and maintenance, at one time taking the Foreman position at the MD of Spirit River. John was involved in organizing community events like the Northern Winter Frolic and various community activities in the early 1970’s. He moved his wife Maxine and sons Dean, Ken and Jamie to Cranbrook in 1973.
After a time as a steel fabricator, John would return to road maintenance, leading a crew in Gleichen, AB in 1982, before taking on the lead role at one of the province’s largest district’s in Edson in the early 1988. Working for the new Saddle Hills County brought John back to Rycroft as an equipment operator in 1996.
Even in his retirement John still occasionally helped out the Town of Rycroft keeping roads cleared by working heavy duty equipment. While he had a love for the West Coast and spent a lot of time on Vancouver Island over the years, it was Northern Alberta where he felt “at home” and where he and his wife of 62 years Maxine spent their retirement years.
John and Maxine moved away in May of 2018 to spend their last year together at Lakeview Lodge in Claremont, AB where Maxine still resides. Along the way his family grew as all of his children married and had their own children giving John 8 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren, all of whom he spent a great amount of his life with. All of his family will deeply miss their very favorite person.
The family invites all who knew John to a celebration of his life on: Friday, July 5, 2019 at 2 pm at the Rycroft Hall. We will share stories and remember his life over a lunch and coffee.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the STARS Air Ambulance service, or the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Alberta.