JACK Vanjoff

Jack Vanjoff was born on December 21, 1928, in a village in the Doukhobor community of Christovoye in Grand Forks, B.C., now known as the Outlook District, to the family of Vasya and Masha Vanjoff. Jack had one brother, Billy, who passed away at a young age, and three sisters, Mabel, Louise and Anne. Most of the people who lived in the village were of the Vanjoff clan, therefore it was referred to as the Vanjoff Village. A large group of friends, especially boys, were born in Christovoye about the same time. They grew up together forming a close bond, attending the West Grand Forks school, where Jack received his formal English education up to Grade 4. The Russian language of reading and writing he learned at a Russian school, which was provided by the community. His first Russian teacher was Vasyliy Balabanov who lived in the Vanjoff village for several years.Growing up in the village within a communal lifestyle, Jack, from a young age started working with horses in the fields and gardens, and also tended to the milking of cows and looking after the chickens. In the winter time, Jack, together with his father and other elders, went into the bush with horse and sleigh where they got wood for heating purposes. In his younger years, Jack participated in the community meetings and spent a lot of time singing together with his friends, mainly Russian folk songs and Doukhobor hymns. He knew many songs and devoted much time and energy throughout his life to the Doukhobor singing culture. In 1947 he was one of the original members of the Young Mens’ Choir organized by the late Paul G. Samsonoff. Women soon joined the men and the choir became known as the Youth Choir and later the Friendship Choir.In his teen years during summer seasons, Jack worked in the fruit orchards of the Okanagan Valley, then followed with jobs at several small sawmills and the forest industry of the Boundary Area, and later he worked for many years for Pope and Talbot sawmills from where he retired. During the summer when there was leisure time, Jack and his friends occasionally went swimming in Smelter Lake. He also played an accordion and whenever there was a youth gathering or party he entertained his friends.Jack met Polly Konkin in Grand Forks, fell in love, and on December 5, 1953, they were married. Their life together started in the village where Jack lived. Soon after, they built themselves a modest home not too far from the village just a short distance from their Community Centre. Here they were blessed with four children: daughter, Teresa who passed away in infancy, daughter, Debbie and sons, Jim and John. In the 1960’s when the former Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood lands were resold, Jack’s family bought themselves a small parcel of land in the Sion Community, moved their home and settled to live there. Several years ago, they sold this home and moved to town. Jack was a devoted husband and a dedicated father, did his utmost in raising his family in the Doukhobor faith and way of life. He was always there, helping Polly with the vegetable garden and their yard. Jack was a lifelong member of the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ organization and took an active part in its activities. When they lived in the community of Christovoye, he together with Polly, took an active part in the youth evening meetings and community choir. They were members of the Youth Choir, afterwards renamed Friendship Choir, and actively participated in their local programs and tours to other provinces. Also, they were members of specially organized choirs which took part at Expos in Montreal, Spokane and Vancouver. When their son, Jim, was studying the Russian language at Ivanovo in the former Soviet Union, Jack and Polly, together with a group of parents, travelled there to visit their children and afterwards toured other historical sites where the Doukhobors lived, including the Kavkaz area, District of Bogdanovka, the site of where the Doukhobors destroyed their firearms in their stand against militarism. Jack also served on the Board of Directors of the Sion Improvement District for several years.In 2006, his wife, Polly passed away and for three years Jack lived on his own. Throughout his lifetime he had some health problems, took medical treatments and his health became stabilized. The years took their course and his health started declining and he moved to Boundary Lodge, where he adapted nicely and was well liked by everyone there. Some two weeks ago he went to Kelowna for a medical check-up and there he was admitted to Kelowna General Hospital, had surgery where complications set in, and on Sunday, December 6, 2009, with his family by his side, Jack peacefully passed away. He was 80 years of age, just two weeks short of his 81st birthday.Jack was predeceased by his young brother, Billy; by his daughter, Teresa; by his parents: mother, Masha, and father, Vasiliy Vanjoff; by his wife, Polly; and his sisters, Mabel Nadain and Louise Prokopetz. He is survived by his children: daughter Debbie, with her husband Kevin Yule of Calgary, Alberta; son, Jim, with his wife Jane Vanjoff of Abbotsford, B.C.; son, John Vanjoff, of Grand Forks, B.C.; six grandchildren: Dylan and Paula Yule of Calgary, Alberta; Joel and Christopher Vanjoff of Abbotsford, B.C.; Justin and Ryan Vanjoff and their mother, Colleen Verigin, all of Grand Forks, B.C.; sister, Anne Pereversoff of Kelowna, B.C.; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Jack’s dedication to Doukhoborism and his devotion to its leadership was firm and loyal. He was a quiet and gentle father and grandfather and a hardworking and peace-loving person. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by his family, relatives and friends. May God accept his soul into His heavenly abode, and may he rest in peace.The family of Jack Vanjoff wishes to express our sincerest, heartfelt gratitude to all our family, relatives and friends for their love and support. We would like to thank the following: the doctors and staff at Kelowna General Hospital; the staff at Boundary Lodge where Dad spent the last year and felt very much at home and made many friends; all those who brought food, phoned, and sent flowers and cards; Jerry Seminoff for officiating and for his guidance and friendship; everyone for attending the service in Dad’s memory; all those who sang or spoke; the Verigin family for their kind words and support; the cooks for the excellent meal and the men who prepared the gravesite; the Grand Forks Funeral Home for all the arrangements; the USCC staff for all their assistance; and the Kootenay men for preparing and delivering the casket. We would especially like to thank Dad’s sister, our auntie, Anne Pereversoff, for all of her love, support and assistance over the many years that our parents needed to be in Kelowna and she was always there for all of us. If we have missed anyone, we thank you and please forgive us. You all helped comfort and guide us through this very sad and difficult time in our lives. The Vanjoff family.

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