October 18, 1954 – August 3, 2017
You can have several families in your lifetime, even several families at once if you choose, and John chose them all. As the saying goes, “Family is what you make it.” Whether made of blood relatives, co-workers, friends, or sports teams, John defined family by his own standards, enriching the lives of everyone he touched.
John was born in Barrie, Ontario, the eldest child of Charlie Church and Isobel Fletcher. He was the adoring husband to Carole, whose love and devotion only intensified throughout their 37 years of marriage. John was the proud and guiding father of his two children, Michelle and Jonathan. He was a constant pillar of strength, support and admiration for his family, his loves, his world.
Church’s Farm Supplies Ltd., was a vision created by family in 1948 by Charlie Church, and was a task John took on following the sudden death of his father in 1977. From the building on Burton Ave, Barrie, to its relocation to Innisfil, from paper invoices to computers and state of the art equipment, one thing always remained the same. John always fostered a belief and took pride at the helm of a company in which “Family” was the foundation for the past, present and for what tomorrow may bring.
Sports were a large part of John’s life. From the fastpitch days at Queen’s Park, to the hockey games at Dunlop Arena, John had the innate ability to turn a team into a “family.” John was a diverse athlete who could succeed on any playing surface with a competitive drive matched by few. Mentoring the young and leading the old, John created a family within every change room he entered. As a coach, he was kind and gentle and showed his players he cared. As athletes, they listened quietly, which spoke of their respect for him on and off the playing field/ice. John nurtured an environment which brought families together through sport, and taught life lessons beyond athletic development and achievement which will be carried on by all he affected throughout a lifetime.
With a constant smile and twinkle in his eye, John will forever be remembered as the man we are able to call dad, husband, brother, uncle, boss, or friend: the hard working, the courageous, generous, sincere, and irreplaceable, whose passion for life will never be eclipsed from our minds.