John Harry Zesko (May 3, 1933 – July 15, 2022)

With heavy hearts and much love, we announce the passing of John Harry Zesko at the age of 89 years.

John is survived by his wife, Mary, who they would have celebrated their 58th year of marriage on August 11th; and his two children Sandra (Neil) and Rick (Candace). Dad was very proud of his grandchildren, Taylor (Kristen), Thomas, Chantel (Kurtis), Amelia (Nathan), Clarissa, Mallory, Coralee and Tyrel and beamed with joy for his great-grandchildren; Lincoln, Wyatt, Oliver, and those grandchildren who will be arriving soon.

His parents, Harasim and Christina immigrated to Canada in 1930. Travelling from the old country brought many hardships, and six children died of disease or famine. His brother Paul and sister Olga survived the trip from the old country and across Canada and the family eventually settled in Guy, Alberta. In Guy, they built their first house, made of rough logs, a dirt floor and sod roof, and that is where Dad was born.

Looking for a better opportunity, the family moved to Cold Stream, BC. However, working in the orchard was not sustainable for the family, and they moved back to Guy. Soon after, their friends convinced them to move to Rycroft as land was available to acquire.

When Dad was 14, he lost his father to cancer. At a young age, he worked to support his family along with his brother Paul. Dad started working on the oil rigs, and with his brother they hauled gravel and farmed.

Dad was pre-deceased by his parents, Harasim (1947) and Christina (1976), Paul (1978), Olga (1981) and his brothers and sisters he never met as they travelled to Canada from the old country.

Dad had many hobbies including restoring old equipment, ice fishing, hunting, and gold panning. He had a love of music and played the accordion, guitar and harmonica.

Dad was a farmer. He lived and breathed farming and even recently was planning how he could go swathing again.

On July 15th, 2022, dad passed away after suffering several strokes with recovery not possible. The family would like to thank those who provided loving care for Dad, including Dr. C. Van der Merwe, Dr. Keegan and the wonderful Trauma and ICU staff at the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital.

Dad’s amazing life will be celebrated on July 28th at 1 pm at the Rycroft Community Hall. We invite you to celebrate the happy times shared with our Dad and Grandpa.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the White Rose Program at the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital Foundation (gphospitalfoundation.ca/donate). The White Rose cart provided our family comfort and support at a very difficult time, and we hope this can be passed on to others.

We love you Dad and Grandpa.