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John (Johannes Gerardus Wilhelmus) Polman

March 5, 2024


August 6, 1933 - March 5, 2024

In Loving Memory ~

John Polman passed away peacefully in Kelowna General Hospital on March 5, 2024, at the age of 90.

Dad had a fall before Christmas and broke his hip. He spent almost 3 months in hospital before passing. While receiving rehab he contracted covid and unfortunately a stroke followed. He fought a valiant fight and did not give up easily! He visited with all his immediate family and most of his grandchildren while in hospital.

John's journey began in 1933 in the Netherlands in the small village of Groessen, southeast of Arnhem and close to the German border. He was born to Peter and Elizabeth Polman (nee Aalbers) and lived through difficult and challenging WWII times on the family farm.

Living through the war and German occupation, dad was exposed to many difficult experiences. He spoke of the war often and carried that trauma with him for many years. Dad worked hard during his early years - not only in school but also on the family farm. He was always at the top of his class and had fond memories of school and his achievements.

Dad received his diploma in agriculture and excelled in his work. He was required to give all his earnings to his family as food was scarce and times were extremely difficult. This truly had an impact on him.

Like many others trying to find a better life, on January 31, 1953, the family boarded the Veendam cruise ship in Rotterdam and headed to Canada, narrowly escaping the North Sea flood that very same day.

His parents had heard of the lovely Okanagan Valley, and the family eventually found a more peaceful life in Southeast Kelowna where the family worked the Polman family apple orchard at 4030 Spiers Rd. This is where John crossed paths with Amy, meeting her at the neighbourhood corner store.

John and Amy married in 1958 and would have a marriage of over 65 years. They welcomed their first son Peter in 1959, Raymond in 1960, Valerie in 1961, Linda in 1965 and then Dennis in 1967 - a remarkably busy, full house!

John had an exceptional mind for numbers and worked for McGavin's Bakery managing shipping and receiving for over 30 years. John lived for the love of sports including hockey, baseball, and football. He coached his sons' minor hockey and baseball teams.

He knew every pro player, their statistics, pertinent game details and what the weather was like on any given Stanley Cup day. He was always fascinated by numbers and was a walking sports encyclopedia.

His greatest joy came from spending time with his grand kids. Whether he was skating with Niko, playing in the leaves with Ashley and Bryan, wrestling with Jeff, picking strawberries with Jonny or visiting with James and Elizabeth, he was always happy to spend time with them. He had many stories to share.

He taught his family many Dutch words and a few Dutch songs. Dad loved to work outdoors, mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges, puttering about and keeping his yard looking pristine. He loved caring for his neighbours' yards too. Dad was an ambitious, hardworking and a passionate man and father. His strength and determination came through in everything he did!

John leaves behind a full legacy of family and will be deeply missed by his wife Amy, his adult children Peter (Paula), Raymond (Cindy), Valerie (Todd), Linda (Stew), and Dennis (Rebecca), his grandkids Ashley (Ryan), Jeff (Carley), Bryan (Alex), Niko (Emily), Josh, Jonny, James and Elizabeth and great grandchildren Jasper, Beckham and miracle baby Lola.

John will also be lovingly missed by his best friend and brother Leo and his little sister Gerda, many nieces and nephews as well as his beloved furry friends Teddy and Trooper.

John was predeceased by his sister Joanne, his brother Peter, and his childhood brother Willy.

A funeral and celebration of John's life will be held at St. Charles Garnier Catholic Church on Benvoulin Road March 22 at 10:30 am. Interment and spreading of ashes will take place later in May at the Kelowna Memorial Cemetery.

Service Details

Celebration of Life
Friday, March 22, 2024
10:30 AM
St. Charles Garnier Catholic Church 3645 Benvoulin Rd, Kelowna

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