John Harmer

May 17, 1953 ~ October 28, 2023 (age 70) 70 Years Old

John Harmer Obituary

John B. Harmer died at St. Michael’s Palliative Care Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta October 29, 2023 with family members by his side. He was born in Dawson Creek, B.C. to Reginald and Irene Harmer on May 17, 1953. He was predeceased by his parents. He is survived by his wife Barbara Harmer (nee Kaipio), his two daughters Jennifer and Janice, his siblings Susan Groat, Nancy Large, Mike (Denise) Harmer, and many nieces and nephews.

After graduating high school and leaving home at age 17, he worked to support himself and attended the University of Victoria and various regional colleges. He held many positions with B.C. Rail including operations, administrative and accounting positions. John married Barbara in Vancouver, B.C. in 1977. John and Barb later became parents.  John worked as a controller for H. Brum Enterprises Ltd. in Richmond, B.C. and completed the CMA program of studies. After John obtained his CMA designation, the family moved to Dawson Creek, B.C. where John began working for the Kenn Borek Group. Shortly after the arrival of their second daughter, John and Barb decided to move to Lethbridge, Alberta; a city they felt would be a good place to settle down and raise their two daughters. John accepted a position with The Premiere Group as the CFO, where he re-structured the corporation, working himself out of a job. He became the CFO at H&R Transport Limited, before going out on his own as a consultant for Bentley Banks Financial Corporation. Later John returned to working for the Borek Group and became the president of Kenn Borek Air. He accepted the National Air & Space Museum Trophy (2017), on behalf of the Kenn Borek South Pole Rescue Team at the Smithsonian Museum.  

Over the years John was involved in the Kiwanis Club of Lethbridge (past president); the Kiwanis and Speech Arts Festival; the Lethbridge Chapter of the Society of Management Accountants; the Advisory Council to the Faculty of Management, University of Lethbridge; the Lethbridge and Dawson Creek Chamber of Commerce’s; the Lethbridge Rotary Club; and MENSA.

John loved music and was an avid musician; in his youth he played drums in a rock band; later he taught himself to play the violin and played violin with his daughter. At the age of 50 John started to learn to play the saxophone. For the last 20 years, he played the alto, tenor and baritone saxophone. He played with various music groups in both concert, and jazz bands (Lethbridge Community Band Society, Westwinds Music Society, Timeless Jazz Band, and several others). John went on a tour to Spain with the Westwinds band in 2010. John also supported the Kiwanis Music Festival and the Lethbridge Jazz Society.

Other activities John enjoyed include golfing, skiing, camping and travelling. John enjoyed golfing, and was a member of the Hamptons, in Calgary; the Springs, in Palm Springs; and the Country Club, in Lethbridge, where he played with the Not-So-Fast League.  John has travelled around the world to many continents including the Artic and Antarctica. He took his two daughters on many skiing adventures. John and Barb took their girls on many family camping trips and other vacations. John was a loving and devoted father; he made many sacrifices to give his daughters the best possible life.  John spent many weekends camping behind horse barns while his daughters attended horse shows. He always made time to attend the girl’s concerts, dance recitals, and theater productions. Whenever someone needed good advice—business, financial or otherwise—John was the person to ask. Unfortunately, he wasn’t available to give advice on how to write his obituary. John has touched the lives of many people and will be greatly missed.

He will be remembered as a wise, loving and devoted father; who cares about his family, friends and community.

A gathering for family and friends will be held on Friday, November 10, 2023 at 3pm, at 210 Sandstone Place South.

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