Growing up on the family farm near Ruthilda, Saskatchewan gave John Nyquist an appreciation for the value of hard work.
As children, John’s parents emigrated to Canada with their families in the early 1900s, full of hope for a better life. Years later, John’s mother and father met and married, then settled down to farm and raise a family. When homesteaders took up land, the government realized the need for a good supply of fresh water on each farm. The government made well-drilling equipment available to local farmers. In 1910, John’s grandfather and father took advantage of the opportunity, drilling wells primarily for the railroad, which came through the district in 1911. Later came the Dirty Thirties and its frustrations.
Through all the difficulties, the family continued to work hard and play a role in bettering their community. For many years, John’s father served on the Ruthilda School Board, the United Church Board, and as a Saskatchewan Wheat Pool representative, while John’s mother managed the home front. “Through the hardships, like the majority of prairie people, we continued to work hard and save any penny we could,” says John.
In 1942, John enlisted with the Canadian army. After a brief training course in mechanics, he was sent overseas with the Signal Corps, seeing action in England, France, Belgium, Germany and Holland.
“I’ll never forget, when we liberated Holland, the great number of people starving. We soldiers would get our dinner, but it was impossible to eat because of the hordes of children watching you. Quickly you lost your appetite and gave your meal to the kids,” remembers John.
Life experiences shaped John into the man he was. He was a strong believer in higher education and hard work. A little luck doesn’t hurt, either. John’s beliefs have served him well and he’s had a comfortable life. He was at a point in his life where he could share some of his wealth with others less fortunate.
“I’ve got some money and I don’t want the government to take it away,” John jokes. He adds thoughtfully, “And since I can’t take it with me, I thought I’d help some organizations that mean a lot to me.”
In discussion with his financial advisor, John discovered that he could assist his favorite charities for the long term by establishing an endowment with Saskatoon Community Foundation. Through the John Nyquist Fund, each year earnings from his donation will assist Diamond Lodge, Saskatoon City Hospital, and St. Paul’s Hospital.
John passed away January 5, 2012.