“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7
Volker Johnas passed away peacefully on November 8, 2018 with his wife Lois and daughter Ellen at his side. The ALS disease which came upon him so swiftly and unrelentingly took his life at the Red Deer Hospice.
Volker was born in Kiel, Germany on June 12, 1949. His parents immigrated to Canada when he was 4 years old. Volker went to elementary school in Kelowna, B.C. His family moved to Oak Lake, Manitoba in 1963, where he completed his High School education.
Volker came to have a personal faith in God at an early age and lived out his beliefs in the way he helped and cared for many people throughout his life. In 1970 he had the privilege and life changing experience of participating in disaster relief in Corpus Christie, Texas following Hurricane Celia. This was to influence his desire to travel and do volunteer work for the rest of his life.
On October 21, 1972 he married Lois Kroeker and moved to Salmon Arm, B.C. where he completed his Journeyman Carpentry. A year later they returned to Oak Lake, Manitoba where they farmed for the next 15 years. Volker and Lois were blessed with 3 children: Andrea, Mark, and Ellen.
Family was very important to Volker and he cherished many community friendships in the area. Since farming was financially challenging he often had to work during the winters to support his family and make ends meet. Volker had often spoken of his desire to have a nursing career, so decided to go back to school alongside keeping up the farm. Those were difficult years and he appreciated the generous help and support of those around him. In 1988 he graduated as a Registered Nurse from the Brandon General Hospital School of Nursing, and in later years his Gerontology Certificate. After graduation he and Lois moved back to Kelowna. His career included work at the Kelowna General Hospital and for the most part, Cottonwoods Extended Care. He enjoyed year-round biking to work and sailing on Okanagan Lake.
In 1990 he and Lois had the opportunity to take their family to St. Vincent & the Grenadines as volunteers in missions. They lived and worked in a small community clinic in Buccament Bay. Volker was loved by all in the village and surrounding areas and became the “Doc” for those needing care. This was a wonderful time and had a deep, positive influence on them and their children. Over the years Volker & Lois returned many times to volunteer, teach, and spend time in this area of the Caribbean. They also worked and spent time on other islands including Grand Cayman, Barbados, and St. Lucia. Many wonderful experiences and memories were created and they were very “at home” in this part of the world.
In 2002 Volker and Lois moved to Red Deer, Alberta to be near their children who were living and studying in the area. Volker worked at Red Deer Nursing Home, Red Deer Regional Hospital, and was a volunteer with the Red Deer Hospice Society and Ten Thousand Villages. He later worked at Breton, Innisfail, and Hythe Long Term Care Facilities. In 2011 he took a position with Alberta Health Services Workplace Health & Safety Safe Client Handling Program. He thoroughly enjoyed working with the “It’s Your Move” Team and spent much time on the road training in all the healthcare facilities across the province. Volker was passionate about his work and instrumental in developing the program. Even though he often said he was the “old guy” on the team, he developed close friendships and worked hard to advocate for the program. It was these skills that Lois needed to learn when Volker became ill. He was very diligent in keeping her one step ahead of the needed changes to his mobility and care.
Volker was very physically active and enjoyed walking, running, and biking. Even though his running began later in life, he so enjoyed challenging himself and doing special run events with those in his family. He and Lois were members of the Central Alberta Sailing Club at Gull Lake, enjoying many wonderful hours of being on the water in the sunshine. Volker was gifted at doing renovations and building things needed by others. His greatest love was to spend time with his wife, children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, and nephews. Uncle Volker was indeed unique and loved by all. He made sure his grandchildren learned to skip stones, play tin can cricket, and had fun times at the park.
Volker was always more than willing to help anyone in need and his ability to problem solve was amazing and appreciated. He truly knew how “to make things better”! Volker is survived and will be sadly missed by his children: Andrea & Shayne Steffen of Spirit River, Mark & Laura Johnas of Airdrie, Ellen Johnas of Calgary, and 6 grandchildren: Caelan, Grace, Janae, Soraya, Finley, and Anya. He is also survived by brothers Uwe Johnas (Gail), Dan Johnas (Trudy), Carl Johnas (Tayona); sisters Doris Doerksen (Victor), Irene Johnas, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents Daniel and Lina Johnas, brother David Johnas, and sister-in-law Jane Johnas.
The family would like to express their appreciation to the ALS Clinic at South Health Campus in Calgary, The ALS Society of Alberta, the Red Deer Hospice staff, and Dr. D. Rautenbach.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the ALS Society of Alberta and the Red Deer Hospice.
A Public Visitation will be held at Wilson's Funeral Chapel, 6120 Highway 2A, Lacombe AB, on Thursday, November 15, 2018 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
A Funeral Service will be held at Wilson's Funeral Chapel, 6120 Highway 2A, Lacombe AB, on Friday, November 16, 2018 at 1:00 pm.