John Creaser was born in 1928 and lived in Bethany, Man., with his 12 brothers and sisters until he moved to Renabie, Ont. to work in the old gold mine as an assayer in the early 1950s. ?His brother Stan joined the army at the start of the Second World War, and desperate to follow him and serve his country, John tried numerous times to sneak in, though he was still much too young.
Eventually, the work in Renabie started to slow down, and he knew the mine was on its last legs, soon to close down. That's when he, with a few of his coworkers, decided they needed to move on. Unfortunately, the only way in or out of Renabie at the time was by train, and there wasn't one scheduled to stop by for a while, so they ventured out into the wilderness on a voyage to Winnipeg.
Outfitted with nothing but an axe and a case of beer, the men followed hydro lines all the way to Winnipeg, walking for four days.
The mine knew these men had embarked on a long and potentially dangerous trip, so unbeknownst to the travellers; planes were deployed each day to fly by and make sure they were still OK.
After finally reaching Winnipeg, John was lucky enough to meet the love of his life, Norah.
His cousin Russell was seeing Norah's sister, Rosemary, and told John that she had a cute sister, setting them up on a blind date.
When the time came for John to finally tie the knot, he was too sheepish to even ask Norah in person. Instead he searched for the perfect ring, and had it delivered to her by mail.
They were married on May 28 in the early 50s, and decided to start their family life in Thompson.
They adopted their first child, Barry, in 1959 and moved to Thompson in 1961, one year before adopting their second child, Shelley.
John worked at the nickel mine in Thompson as the head crusher operator on the surface from 1961 till 1991, while being highly involved with the community the entire time. ?John was one of the volunteer workers to help construct the Advent Lutheran Church in Thompson in the early '60s, and he coached minor hockey and baseball for many years.
He worked hard for his family, as his wife Norah was diagnosed and lived with rheumatoid arthritis for 15 years. When he wasn't on shift at the mine or volunteering somewhere else, John spent all his time with his wife and children, snowmobiling, skating and ice fishing in the winter, camping, travelling and fishing in the summer.
After a long struggle with her arthritis, Norah passed away in 1990, shortly after her first grandson, Christopher, was born. A year later, John retired from the mine and moved to Brandon, where he still lives now.
He has lived a life full of adventure and love, but now those memories are fading.
John Creaser has been struggling with Alzheimer's disease for the last 10 years, and it is progressively getting worse with each day.
He now resides in Fairview Personal Care Home, after the disease became so bad it put him in danger. Before moving into the care home he often became confused with his surroundings and would walk around the city, lost. There were times, in the middle of the winter, that he would actually walk out of the city without proper winter protection, lost and looking for home.
John Creaser has always been a family man; he loved his family, and spent as much time with his four grandchildren as possible. But now, due to the progression of his horrible disease, he has difficulty remembering their names or recognizing their faces.
Alzheimer's disease destroys the life of those affected, erasing memories and deleting consciousness. While John may not be able to remember many things for much longer, his family will always remember him. He gave a second chance to his own adopted children, and he helped raise his grandchildren, making them all who they are today.
I love you Grandpa.