John Edward Skocdopole

February 1, 1941 – May 2, 2021
John Edward Skocdopole of Parksville, B.C. passed away peacefully at home on May 2, 2021 with his cat Maggie by his side. He leaves behind his loving wife Barbara.
John was born in Stettler, AB to Kathleen and Edward Skocdopole on Feb. 1, 1941. In 1946 his family moved to a new farm his parents had purchased just east of Olds, AB. John attended Huntcliff School and Red Deer Composite High School. A farm boy at heart, he returned to the family farm to work alongside his dad and his brother Harry to grow the family business.
In addition to their love of farming, John and Harry had a passion for flight and the business of flying. They became licensed pilots in their 20s and built a landing strip and a hangar on the farm.
Their flying skills were unique to their farming community and with a shared entrepreneurial spirit, they established a crop spraying business, a flying school, pipeline patrol and a charter business that continues to this day.
A crop-dusting accident in 1970, when John was just 29, resulted in a spinal cord injury that left him paraplegic. John navigated the road to recovery and a new life with a disability with determination, strong will, courage and ingenuity.
In his 40s, John travelled the world with friends while in his wheelchair. And when he installed one of the very first mobile telephones in his car, he earned the title of ‘grandpa with the phone’ to instantly become the coolest grandpa ever.
John never let physical challenges get in the way of his entrepreneurial spirit, sharp sense of humor or world view. Speak to him for five minutes and you would forget he was in a wheelchair.
With a deep-rooted passion for flying, he continued to operate the air charter business for several years from the farm before relocating the business to the Calgary International Airport. After selling the aviation business, he dabbled in various corporate ventures including real estate.
On the outskirts of Calgary, John built a home at the Bearspaw Golf Club where he and Barbara enjoyed the quiet countryside, stunning views of the foothills and the Rocky Mountains before moving back to Calgary into a downtown condo.
After retirement, John particularly appreciated the efforts of life-long friend, Sandy Negropontes, who helped him keep in touch with their aviation colleagues and old friends from Olds.
In 2017 John and Barbara moved to Parksville, on Vancouver Island to be near John’s daughter, Maria, and her family. John enjoyed the milder weather and loved his backyard garden. He took great pride in his tomato, strawberry and blueberry plants while ‘Herbie’ the lawn robot kept the lawn perfectly manicured. John and Barbara embraced their new community, exploring farmer’s markets, local hot spots, trying new restaurants and attending weekend cul de sac parties with friends and neighbours. Small, quaint and reminiscent of the past, the Qualicum Airport was a favourite lunch spot that fueled his love for flying.
John is lovingly survived by his wife and best friend, Barbara, his daughter Maria (Gerry), his cherished grandchildren Aaron (Robyn) Kadatz, Amanda Kadatz, Shelby Kadatz (1993-1998), Kassi (David) Martens, Keenan (Sarah) Martens, sister, Norma (Jim) Leslie, brother, Harry (Kathy) Skocdopole and sister Betty Johnstone, as well as nephews, nieces, a host of friends and wonderful neighbours.
A special thank you to the incredible home care team who helped care for John over the past several years.
John is predeceased by his parents Edward and Kathleen, his in-laws Donald and Sally Binney, brothers-in-law Ron Johnstone and Wayne Binney and his granddaughter Shelby.
An informal virtual celebration of life will be held on Saturday, May 15th at 10 am PST. We invite you to join us; everyone is welcome to attend.
Please RSVP to celebratewithjohn@gmail.com. A Zoom invite will be emailed prior to May 15th.
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