John Frank Kish’s Legacy Story

Legacy Stories

John Frank Kish was born in Backa Topola, Yugoslavia on January 1, 1927 to parents Louis and Viktoria.  His father immigrated to Canada in 1929, eventually settling in the Fraser Valley.    John and his mother remained in Yugoslavia, living with his maternal grandmother. In February of 1934, they were able to make the 11-day journey across the Atlantic Ocean to reunite with Louis in Canada.  With his mother ill for most of the trip and his English skills minimal at best, John had his run of the ship, eating bacon and eggs and hiding in the engine room.
John attended Upper Sumas Elementary and Philip Sheffield high school, meeting his lifelong best friend, the late George Ferguson, at the school bus stop.  George would tease John relentlessly about his poor English, but the two managed to put their differences aside, remaining the best of friends until George passed away in 2017.
John met his wife Betty at a dance in Mission during the late winter of 1949, and they were married the same year, in November.  Initially, they lived on the family farm on No. 3 Road, then moved to a farm on the corner of Atkinson Rd and Eldridge Road, before settling on their dairy farm on McDermott Road in 1959.  John and Betty had five children: Larry, Vickie (Bruce), Johnny, Kathy (Doug) and Darren and always tried to do things together as a family.  Whether it was working in the barn, picking rocks or going to the lake for a swim, family was most important to them.
In addition to dairy farming and raising their growing family, John worked road construction throughout the province of BC including projects such as the Blueberry Paulson Highway outside of Christina Lake, Rodgers Pass between Revelstoke and Golden and the TransCanada Highway in the Lower Mainland.  He spent countless hours on bulldozers, loaders and dump trucks, clearing and leveling land.
John, along with his father, Louis, and brother, Louis Jr, started Kish Equipment in Chilliwack, BC in 1964.  Louis Sr became ill and passed away in 1967; John, along with Louis Jr and brother-in-law Nestor Deputan, took over business operations before closing their doors in 2004.
Life for John wasn’t all about work.  He and Betty traveled to locations such as Mexico, Spain, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and enjoyed Alaskan cruises. John loved his children, grandchildren Andrea and Brian and his great-grandchildren Keaton, Evangaline and Axel.  He liked hunting at Lakemount Lodge, sports, horse-betting, billiards, business and flipping for coffee with his friends at various coffee shops.  He was proud of his farm life, baling hay, washing the parlor and scraping feed until he was 75 years old.  He always considered himself a farmer.  John treated each day as a new challenge – one that he was bound and determined to complete before each day’s end.
John and Betty were married for 57 years, before she passed in 2006.  In his final years, John had much help from Terry Broadworth, visiting and cooking great meals together.  He also spent time with his wonderful friend and companion, Bonnie Corcoran, with whom he travelled to Cuba, Mexico, Europe and the Mediterranean.
For all that he accomplished over his lifetime, John was a man of few needs.  A cup of tea with lemon, head massages, strong coffee and good conversation.  He didn’t need a fancy vehicle, enjoyed watching children get into good quality mischief and loved coming back home to the farm for dinner each night.
John will be deeply missed by his family and friends and while he may no longer be with us, his memory will be treasured forever.


Legacy Stories
Walter & Mabel Paetkau’s Legacy Story
Reflections written by their son, Trevor Paetkau In 1969, Walter Paetkau took possession of the keys to a set of...
Legacy Stories
Doug Taylor’s Legacy Story
Doug was the younger of two boys born to H. E. (Buster) Taylor and Dorothy Taylor. Doug attended Mount Lehman...
Legacy Stories
Peter Dobson’s Legacy Story
Peter Dobson was an adventurer. The Dobson Clan Coat of Arms signifies the qualities of: peace and sincerity; military fortitude...
Legacy Stories
David Lanphear’s Legacy Story
As the undersigned, I promise to contribute to the future of the community of Abbotsford through a bequest to the...

We respectfully acknowledge that we are located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Stó:lō people, the Semá:th First Nation and Mathxwí First Nation. As treaty People, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, we share the responsibility for the continued stewardship of this beautiful land.