March 26, 1932 – April 30, 2020
With broken hearts we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and brother-in-law: John Mytz, son of William and Katherine Mytz. After a brief illness, John passed into the arms of the Lord on April 30, 2020 at Selkirk General Hospital. He leaves behind his devoted wife Irene of 62 years; his children Leeann (Jill), Bill, Nancy (Brian), Steve (Tyanna); grandchildren Katrina (Chad), Natassia (Dillon), Emma (Stefan), Declan, Zoe and Destinee (Tom), and many nieces and nephews. John is predeceased by his parents William and Katherine Mytz, sister Ann and brother-in-law Roy Dowell and nephew Michael Dowell, his mother-in-law Elizabeth Bedard, brothers-in-law Henry, Melvin and Robert.
John had a strong work ethic, starting with a paper route as a young boy, then finding work in the summer months between school years at various construction sites, and eventually working as a deck hand on the dredge. This began a long love affair with the lakes and rivers of Manitoba. He always joked that he must have had a drop or two of Viking blood in him--he loved being on the water so much! John entered engineering at the University of Manitoba, but was lured back to the water and waves of Lake Winnipeg, and summer jobs on the dredge and as wheelman on the Bradbury turned into a 35-year career with Canadian Coast Guard Base Selkirk.
John was the perfect gentleman, a devoted son, husband, father, and grandfather. There was never a kinder, more honest, or more gentle man than John. He had class and was an example of humility and calm. A quote from Seaports and the Shipping World, June 1992 says it all: "For 31 years John Mytz has served the coast guard well. His exceptionally calm and friendly manner inspires immediate confidence. Visiting with him is a real pleasure. If I were shipwrecked on Lake Winnipeg during a violent gale, just knowing that he's in charge of the base would instill some degree of hope which might not otherwise be present."
John was an intelligent, well-read young man with a quiet demeanor and good manners. These qualities captured the attention of a 16-year-old young woman, a fellow Selkirk north-ender, when John was the recipient of the Governor General's medal upon graduation from Grade 12. After meeting at the roller-skating rink, a casual friendship developed. Years later a romance blossomed, and John married the love of his life, Irene in 1958, a marriage which lasted for 62 years.
Whatever project John took on, he remained committed to its completion. John and Irene built their home on Maple Drive in Selkirk, where they raised their young family of two girls and two boys. These were happy, busy years, with hockey, soccer, skating, and piano lessons, and always camping trips in the summer, and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter.
John loved the outdoors; hunting, fishing, and camping. He had a green thumb and could coax orchids and African violets to bloom year-round, and wilted plants to become lush again. Birding was another hobby of John's, and he could identify local bird species by sight or sound.
In 1983, John and Irene embarked on their big adventure of building a cabin at Sandy Bay in the R.M. of Victoria Beach. When John surveyed this property, Irene was his "pole man." They continued to work together as they built their "happy place," welcoming grandchildren and friends over the years to "Mytz's Harbour," where many celebrations took place. This little bit of paradise was where John could completely relax, leaving the pressures of work behind. Being basically home bodies, "winter vacations" were also enjoyed at the cabin, after the Thanksgiving celebrations which ended the regular summer season.
In 1995, while on a pilgrimage to Italy, John and Irene visited the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi, where their hearts were touched by the spirit of St. Francis. This spiritual experience helped them come to terms with John's final journey on earth and to marvel at God's gracious creation and gift of life.
John was a charter member of the Selkirk Knights of Columbus and a life-long member of Notre Dame Parish. He was a member of Gordon Howard Red River Carvers, and carved birds and animals that have become treasured keepsakes for his family.
In 2010, John and Irene moved to Mapleton Lane. Here they formed new friendships and enjoyed various activities. John enjoyed his daily walks and maintained a feeding station for the birds, which lasted until he became ill in March 2020. Until his illness, John remained a devoted friend of his old classmate Frank Neskar, visiting every week.
John was incredibly proud of his children and grandchildren and it was a further blessing that he able to spend time with each child and grandchild when it became time for him to depart for the spiritual world.
A small family service has already taken place, co-officiated by Fr. Stan Gacek and Fr. Art Seaman.
If so desired, Donations may be made in John’s memory to the Selkirk Marine Museum.
Condolences may be left on his tribute wall at www.gilbartfuneralhome.com.
Gilbart Funeral Home, Selkirk in care of arrangements.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Mytz, please visit our floral store.