John Kolanchey



It is with great sadness that the family of John Kolanchey announce his passing, due to complications from Covid-19, on January 2, 2021.

John will be lovingly remembered by his cherished bride of 47 years, Shirley Kolanchey. He is survived by his beloved sister, Rose (Perley) Dove of Regina, SK. and four nephews and a niece; sister-in law, Elsie Funston of Langley, BC, and Shirley's seven nephews and three nieces, plus numerous other relatives.

He was predeceased by his parents, Michael and Pauline Kolanchey; infant sister, Lena; sister, Lillian (Bill) McAdam; and brother, Tony Poruchnyk. He took great pride and joy in his family and friends from Alberta, Regina, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and BC.

John was born in Yorkton, SK and moved to Regina at a young age where he completed his schooling. In August 1950 he joined the Canadian Armed Forces. He served with the 2nd Battalion Princess Patriciaís Canadian Light Infantry, 25th Infantry Brigade, and 1st Commonwealth Division in Korea from 1950-52. Then he served with the Canadian army in Kure, Japan, and from 1954-1957 with the Military Police in Korea with 2nd Battalion PPCLI.

His basic training in Wainwright, AB was followed by advanced infantry training in Calgary, a move to Fort Louis, WA, USA, and a voyage to Korea, via Japan. He arrived in Pusan, Korea in time for Christmas dinner. He travelled with the advance party at Miryang near Seoul in early January, 1951. Due to the concerns about North Korean infiltrators, he was moved to the front lines, in February 1951. He saw action at Kapyong, in April 1951, as a member of C coy. In this battle, the PPCLI played a crucial role in stopping an enemy breakthrough at the battle of Gapyeong.

John was very proud of his battalionís role that contributed to the current prosperity of modern Korea. He was so pleased to recently receive a plaque and commendation from the South Korean government in appreciation of the Canadiansí efforts.

After his military service, he moved to Edmonton AB, where he met the love of his life, Shirley Latta when they were introduced at Church. Shirley recalls she liked to eat, and John liked to cook, so they and their beloved cats made a great family. This welcoming, gregarious man, always did the cooking, and loved to cook for their friends, complete with an accompanying menu. Visitors always got a dessert with their coffee. They were married on July 13, 1973, and lived in Edmonton, Cardiff Echoes, and finally St Albert.

For many years, they owned and operated Oliverís Dry-cleaning, Leather and Tailors in Edmonton.

John questioned the long term effects of having served in the Korean War. He was a visionary and advocate in recognizing PTSD in himself and in his fellow veterans. This was one of the main reasons, that after a few years of travel following his retirement in 1994, and the encouragement of Shirley, he became a chaplain with the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, and focused his efforts on working with veterans.

John was a Chaplain and active member of the Korean Veterans Association, and the Princess Patriciaís Canadian Light Infantry. He was also a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, and the National Aboriginal Association.

He was a member of the Edmonton Community Liaison Committee, the Western Region Community liaison committee, and the stakeholder advisory committee for the development of the local OSI: Operational Stress Injury Clinic. This clinic offers services to veterans, and RCMP members and their families, to treat mental health problems caused by shock or stress.

He was the Chair of the Veteransí Committee, and a stakeholder for the construction of the Diane and Irving Kipnes Veterans Centre. After the construction, John and Shirley continued to be actively involved with the centre.

John was known to be a remarkable ambassador for veterans. He spent many hours advocating for veterans, assisting them by writing letters on their behalf, completing benefit, disability and medical applications, and accompanying them to appointments and meetings. He was also honoured to be asked to officiate at many funerals.

John was known as an individual who did not hesitate to help those in need. On October 1, 2008, he was awarded the Sovereignís Medal for Volunteers and the Governor Generalís Caring Canadian Award for his extraordinary volunteer work with veterans.

One can learn more about John Kolanchey online in the Imperial War Museum videos: Veteran Stories: The Memory Project

Recently he celebrated his 90th birthday, with a surprise party for two as their residence was in lockdown. He was so pleased, and thankful for the many congratulatory emails, cards and a special PPCLI notation that he received, and so appreciative of his beloved wife for organizing it all. This will remain a day of good memories for Shirley to cherish. The photo of him on that day is above.

John's wife Shirley, and her relatives offer their sincere thanks to the Kolanchey friends who stepped in with much selfless care, assistance, and support during this challenging time, and to the staff at the Sturgeon Community Hospital for their compassion and dedicated care for John and Shirley.

Shirley also offers a special thank you to Herb Kenny and the PPCLI for their support and role as Johnís pallbearers, and to Pastor Allen Powles their long-time friend and pastor from Beulah Alliance for officiating at this Funeral.

A Private Graveside Funeral will be held for invited guests at 1:00 pm MST Thursday, February 11, 2021.

Everyone is invited to celebrate Johnís life via a livestreaming service that can be joined by clicking the video camera icon to the top left.

Viewers are advised to test the link in advance. This link will be left up for-5 days after the service for reviewing.

In lieu of flowers, donations would be appreciated in Johnís name to HART: Humanitarian Aid Response Team, #106-90 Freeport Blvd NE, Calgary. AB T3J 5J9, or to Beulah Alliance Church, 17504-98 A Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5T 5T8

In Loving Memory of
John Kolanchey
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Funeral Service:
Thursday, February 11, 2021
1:00 PM
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