Neumann, John Henry (1926-1997)
John Henry Neumann: educator and churchman; born 5 March 1926,
in Rosenwald in the Slavgorod settlement of western Siberia, to Heinrich Dietrich Neumann (1885-1955) and Sarah (Wiebe) Neumann (1890-1958). He was the eleventh in a family of sixteen children. On 31 July
1947, John married Mary Hooge. They had four daughters and one son. John died at
70 years of age on 25 January 1997, in Chilliwack, British Columbia.
Before his first birthday, John H. Neumann moved with his family to Canada,
settling in Gerald, Saskatchewan. In 1928 the Neumanns moved to Bredenbury,
Saskatchewan, and in 1932 to Gem, Alberta. In 1945 the Neumann family moved to
British Columbia. Then for two years John attended Bible school in Sardis at
what is now the Greendale Mennonite Brethren Church. There he met Mary, who was
a classmate. John spent the rest of his years in leadership and service, for the
most part in the Chilliwack area.
John's vocation as a farmer and sawmill employee altered when he broke his leg
and his doctor advised a change of vocation. John and Mary moved to Vancouver in
1950, completing grades 12 and 13 at King Edward High School and then attending
the University of British Columbia. Four years later they were back in
Chilliwack, John at his first teaching assignment. In spite of a bout with
rheumatic fever in his second year at UBC, he earned a BA in English and history
as well as completing teacher training. Later he also earned Bachelor of
Education and Master of Education degrees there. Thirty years of educational
experience saw John as an outstanding high school teacher and principal, with
his final half year as a Director of Instruction at the District #33 board
office. During those years and on into retirement (1983), John was involved in
professional service and leadership at both district and provincial levels. John
was both respected and appreciated by his many colleagues. In succeeding years,
John and Mary were both engaged in teaching English as a Second Language in
China (1985-86, under China Education Exchange, an inter Mennonite agency to
send north American teachers to China and to bring Chinese educators to North
America as teachers and students) and in Lithuania in 1992, connected with
Lithuania Christian College).
The community beyond the school system also benefited from John's contributions.
He served on the Chilliwack General Hospital Board of Trustees, in the Rotary
Club, as a District Returning Officer, in Family YMCA fundraising, and in Man to
Man prison ministry. With his leadership gifts, John was also active in the
church. A member of the Mennonite Brethren Church since 1942, he served as
secretary on the executive of BC and Canadian Conferences. At
Broadway Mennonite Brethren Church he worked at various times with youth and Sunday school, in
Christian education, as moderator, and on the board of elders. In the mid 1950s
he was provincial youth leader. John served Mennonite Central Committee, BC, as
chairman for five years, and was also on the executive of
Mennonite Central Committee Canada.
In spite of John H. Neumann's busy involvement, Mary, his wife, and their children did not feel they were being neglected. Mary fondly remembers John's sense of humor and occasional absent mindedness, his love for their children and grandchildren, and his tireless charm. He was a man of principle who loved God, the people around him, and the work he had chosen to do.
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MLA style: Friesen, George. "Neumann, John Henry (1926-1997)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2002. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/N487.html.
APA style: Friesen, George. (April 2002). Neumann, John Henry (1926-1997). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/N487.html.