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John (Jack) Forster

October 3, 1922 - December 16, 2021


Jack Forster was a man of compassion, generosity, wisdom and integrity. During his long life of over 99 years, he touched many lives and left the world a better place.

He was born in Alberta in 1922 and raised on a ranch. He attended schools in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and later enrolled in the University of Alberta, graduating with distinction, with a Civil Engineering degree in 1944. He followed with a Masters degree in Hydraulic Engineering from the University of Iowa in 1946. His engineering career took him to Alberta, Sao Paulo Brazil, Quebec, northern BC, Madison Wisconsin and finally Vancouver BC. His most recent position was Manager of Hydroelectric Design at BC Hydro. Jack always took his responsibilities to serve the public very seriously and worked with high personal ethics and moral standards.

Besides his professional career, Jack enjoyed his hobby of photography for many years, photographing weddings, community and church events, family gatherings and nature. His gallery showing of “Appreciation of Creation” highlighted his eye for beauty and artistry.  He also enjoyed gardening, hiking, and running, and was involved in activities at West Van United and North Shore Alliance churches, the local Community Centre and gym. Jack made friends easily and nurtured friendships formed throughout his life. At the age of 99 he was still in touch with friends from his childhood and university years, and from all the areas he worked in, still actively interested in them and the details of their lives.  

Jack met Bernice Opgarden while they were teenagers, and his marriage to her in 1947 lasted more than seventy years. Bernice was the source of his greatest joy and inspiration throughout his life. He honoured and loved her as his wife and life companion and the mother and grandmother of their family. They had four children, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, who brought them much happiness and enjoyment. He was pre-deceased by Bernice, and leaves to mourn three daughters (Elaine, Marilyn and Beverly) and one son (Marc) as well as his dear sister (Marjorie Sinal) in Calgary. The family is especially thankful and would like to express their appreciation for the kindness of the care staff at The Mayfair in Abbotsford, where he and Bernice lived since 2015. 

Due to the current restrictions of Covid, a service of Remembrance will be held at a later date. 


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From: Wiebe and Jeske Funeral Home

Wiebe and Jeske Funeral Home Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: William (Bill) J. Ackerman
Relation: a good friend

John was a good friend — he worked with my father (Adolph J. Ackerman) on many engineering projects. Their last office was a room in my parents’ home at 1250 Sherman Avenue in Madison, WI. He always found time in his busy schedule to share a little small talk with my sisters; and and discuss my activities at the University of Wisconsin and on various engineering projects of mutual interest.

From: Carol Chivilo
Relation: Jack was my cousin.

Jack was my cousin. My name is Carol Chivilo but maiden name Bray. Byron Bray is my brother. I remember the family reunions we had and conversations with Jack and Bernice. They were lovely people . Jack always had a smile and and a big hug.

From: Judy and Bouwe Wierdsma
Relation: Friends

We have very fond memories of Jack. He was the photographer at our wedding 26 years ago. During our years as missionaries overseas, Jack and Bernice always kept in touch with encouraging messages and ensured us they were praying for us. When on furlough, He and Bernice would warmly welcome us into their home for a delicious meal and good time. Thank you Jack for so generously sharing your life with us and so many others.

From: Peter & Manuela Kesseler
Relation: friends since 1996, through North Shore Alliance Church

We met Jack at North Shore Alliance church when we first moved to North Van from Montreal as newlyweds. Jack and Pete instantly connected and shared stories as both were civil engineers. Jack’s youthfulness, joy, warm smile, keenness and love for life, generosity and sincere interest in us made it easy to love him. He was always up for a good time and happily took our photos when we went out on “a night on the town” with a group of 5 fairly newlywed couples all clad once again in our wedding garb!! Fun times. Our sincere condolences to the whole family. I’m sure Jack’s presence will be greatly missed by all who knew him. When we think of Jack, we think of “a life well lived”. See you later, Jack. Your eye for beauty will now be fully satisfied. Thank you for all the good you left behind. You made a difference in our lives. We move forward inspired to leave footprints of the love of God wherever we go.

From: Michelle McKinnon
Relation: Family friend

I knew Jack through my father, Paul McKinnon. They were good friends and Jack was a solid support to my father’s faith outreach program. His photography skills were appreciated as well and he took the photos at my brother’s wedding. A generous life well lived.

From: Alan & Loverna Hood
Relation: Good friend

Jack & Bernice were like close members of my family. Jack had a huge impact on my life as I became a professional photographer with Wycliffe Bible Translators. He helped me in practical ways being generous and encouraging. Conversations were always good & the highlight of my trips to the coast. It is hard to describe why he treated me like a son & how he was like a father to me. Jack & Bernice’s lives have taught me about generosity, hospitality & friendship. I have shed many tears but am comforted to know their sincere & deep faith in Jesus. I will miss them. I pray for all Jack’s family will rejoice in a life well lived.

From: David Stewart
Relation: Wisconsin friend

Jack had the gift of friendship. He was my best friend when we both lived in Madison. I was the beneficiary of his wisdom and caring during a difficult time in my life. With his intelligence and engaging persomality he was always good company. Jack was one of the founders of a church group that befriended prisoners in a Wisconsin prison. He and Bernice were at the forefront of efforts to help parolees find jobs ansd return to society. This was often a challenging task, but Jack’s commitment never wavered. Jack’s sense of humor was always in evidence, too. One summer I I asked him to water my garden while We were away on vacation. When I returned, I saw that my tomatoes and cucumbers were thriving. Also thriving was a huge milkweed that Jack had planted in that space. If I were to suggest an inscription for Jack’sgrave marker I would say “HERE LIES ONE OF GOD’S NOBLEMEN.” That says it all I rhink.

From: Floyd Grunau
Relation: Pastor and friend

My wife Joyce and I first met Jack and Bernice when I started serving as Associate Pastor at North Shore Alliance Church in 1993. Jack had a friendly disposition with a ready smile–so easy to be liked and appreciated. After we left North Van in 1999, we returned for visits. Jack and Bernice would gather friends together for a time of food and fellowship at their lovely home and one time they opened up their home for us to stay for a few days. We still have a few photos of us that Jack took. We took the opportunity to visit Jack and Bernice and later Jack in Abbotsford when we would visit my aging mother. Jack had a love for life, for people and for God. I will really miss seeing him but look forward to our meeting in heaven when we’ll catch up on the latest.

Service Schedule

Private service arrangements have been made.

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The family has not designated a preferred charity at this time.

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