Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. Psalm 116:15
John Bandstra died peacefully at home on the morning of November 20, 2020 at the age of 97 with his wife Margaret and his children by his side. John lived a life of deep faith in his Lord and commitment to his family and community.
Born in Lioessens, Friesland, the Netherlands on August 23, 1923, John (Jan) was the eldest of the seven children of Jan Bandstra and Antje Fokkema Bandstra. In 1945, John professed his faith in Jesus Christ at a church in Sri Lanka on his way to Indonesia as a member of the Frisian Battalion. Upon his return, he fell in love with Margaret (Martje) Mulder and they were married on March 20, 1951. Their wedding verse was “Be a blessing” Genesis 12:3. John and Margaret’s honeymoon was passage on the freighter Edam to Canada.
In 1955 in Smithers, BC, John co-founded a small trucking company, which was named Smithers Transport, and is now Bandstra Transportation Systems. John viewed establishing a solid business as a means of providing employment and serving his community and was keenly interested in the business long after his retirement in 1988.
John helped to establish Smithers Christian Reformed Church where he served as an elder for many years and was instrumental in launching Bulkley Valley Christian School. In later years, he was an active and well-loved member of Bethel Reformed Church. John and Margaret supported many charities, and they welcomed many family members, friends, and other guests into their home over the years. He lived a life of blessing others.
His deep faith in God and devotion to serving Him was evident to all. John was a genuine, gentle, and gracious man, a supportive husband, a dedicated father, and a “Pake” (grandfather) who was interested in each of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Camping was a favourite activity, taking their motorhome to see children and grandchildren. John and Margaret enjoyed traveling around the world including spending time with family in the Netherlands. They played many, many games of Scrabble and he always enjoyed a good game of Chess.
John is survived by his beloved wife of 69 years, Margaret, eight children: John and Bev Bandstra, Teena and Ross Nicolai, Ann and Gary teRaa, Dorothy and Alan Koopmans, Sid and Sharon Bandstra, Glenda and Bob Posthuma, Irene and Dan Schat, and Christina and Tim Binnema, twenty-nine grandchildren and forty-eight great-grandchildren. Also, his brother Dick Bandstra of Smithers, BC and his sister Eelkje Visser of Drachten, Friesland, the Netherlands.
John chose Ephesians 2:8-10 as the Scripture for his memorial service: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Safe in the arms of Jesus.
The live-streamed memorial service, held on November 24, 2020, may be viewed at www.bethelsmithers.ca
Correspondence: Margaret Bandstra / PO Box 2299 / Smithers, BC / V0J 2N0
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