John Frederick was born in Elmwood on Monday, January 22, 1945 to parents George and Elsie (Schuknecht) Dirstein. He was the third of six children, with older sisters Marie and Bernice and younger siblings, Dorothy, Herb and Kathryn following him. The Dirstein family resided in Elmwood where John attended public school.
Rather than enrolling in high school John decided he would head off into the workforce. He soon began at Krug Bros. in Chesley, a position he held for the next 13 years, before a short stint (4 years) at Heirloom.
At the young age of 15, John along with two friends met up with three young women for a night out. One of those young women, Brenda Marlene Nightingale, also 15, attracted John’s eye. Their relationship blossomed and the two were married on August 11, 1962 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Elmwood. In time they welcomed their three children and the family settled in Chesley.
John loved the outdoors, especially the warm, summer months. He was forever out in the bush doing what he loved, cutting wood. Apparently, in John’s mind at least, you could never cut enough wood! The Dirstein family also enjoyed camping together. Back in the 70’s the family started with the basics. In time they found a permanent summer home at Lion’s Head Beach Campground. Over the next 35 years they occupied site 3, building and enjoying the friendships created along the way.
John’s appreciation of wood was not just seen in the bush, but at work as well. He was very skilled at his craft. Over the years he held the position of Head Sawyer and then later operated the “Gibben” machine at Hanover Kitchens, were he worked for 34 years, until his retirement in 2005.
In his spare time, John enjoyed watching sports on TV, a good game of cards, particularly Caribbean Stud or Euchre, or the occasional scratch ticket. As you can probably tell he wasn’t afraid to gamble a bit, and always had fun at the casino! He appreciated the occasional Old Vienna and later Sleeman product. When it came to music, it had to be classic country westerns with “Maple Sugar” being a favourite. And who could forget his four-legged friends! John and Brenda always had a dog around the house. John was particularly fond of German Shepherds, however in recent years their beloved little terrier, Sadie, won over his heart.
John, or Chief as he was sometimes referred to, was a hard working, charming, “gentle” man. He was a great storyteller but also enjoyed just shooting the shit! He had an exceptional memory and in recent years perfected the art of lip reading, due to hearing loss from the workplace.
Sadly, John’s health had declined recently and he passed away at Hanover & District Hospital on Thursday, April 12, 2018 in his 74th year.
Beloved husband of Brenda. John will be missed by his children, grandchildren and his entire extended family, including his four-legged companion Sadie. He was predeceased by his four sisters and parents George and Elsie (Schuknecht) Dirstein.
At John’s request, cremation will take place and there will be no services.
Memorial donations to SickKids Foundation or London Health Sciences Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.