John Bertram Mantle, beloved father of Brian & Greg, passed away on June 2nd at the F W Green Home in Cranbrook. Greg was able to serenade him with comforting songs with his 12-string guitar near the end. Dad had hoped to reach his 99th birthday June 17th, but wasn't quite up to the task, even though he had lived independently at Joseph Creek Retirement Centre until recently. John & his 2 siblings were brought up mostly by his mother after his father was hospitalized for many years with wartime injuries. In 1935 she moved the family from Payton to Saskatoon for a better education for her children. Dad excelled academically and was awarded a war veteran's bursary that paid for him to attend college. He chose mechanical engineering & graduated in 1941 with great distinction. A year later he married his wife Nina & joined the RCAF. He spent the war years doing flight electrical design & mechanics in Moncton & Ottawa. Dad stayed in the reserves until the early 50's, retiring with the rank of Wing Commander. In the fall of 1945 he joined the U of S as an instructor. After completing his Master's degree in Illinois in 1947 Dad was appointed an Assistant Professor. Dad stayed with the U of S his entire career. Highlights were being appointed head of his department & becoming first Dean of the new College of Engineering in Regina in 1967. He was active in engineering organizations, both provincially & nationally & published 23 papers. Dad was an early leader in establishing work study as a part of engineering education. He took two overseas sabbaticals to Australia, one in 1964-65 and the other in 1974-75. His activities there involved both research & lecturing, mainly at universities in Melbourne & Brisbane. In 1961 he had an extensive visit to the UK, following up his research on fatigue of metals & orthopaedic surgery applications. When Dad retired to Creston in 1979, he started contributing to scholarships at both U of S & U of R. Years of active service in Kiwanis were followed up with membership in Rotary. He helped the handicapped through
Cresteramics & was Chairman of their Management Committee for three years. Mum & Dad were both involved in Christ Church & the New Horizons Snr. Citizens group. They kept up their camping, curling, square dancing & bridge. John learned new skills at the rock & mineral club & set polished stones in jewelry his family were proud to possess. While in Creston, he & Nina walked many trails in the area & turned their entire backyard into a garden. There were always goodies to eat from there, even in the winter. Mum would pickle beets and cucumbers and make jams to enjoy year-round. They even froze their raspberries individually so they would not stick together! In 1985 Nina & John became "snow birds", spending 7 winters in Hemet, CA. By the 1990's Dad's eyesight was failing & Mum was starting to have memory problems. Cranbrook offered better medical care, so they moved to an apartment at the newly-opened Joseph Creek in 2001. Their many years of square dancing stood them in good stead as they soon became known as the "dancing couple" there. After Mum's passing in 2009, Dad's life was simplified as he no longer had to act as her caregiver. Despite his near blindness, Dad was able to stay on in the familiar apartment. Greg took him to his & Terry's home on Kootenay Lake & to Nelson from time to time. Brian played the piano when he & wife Jan visited from WA state. Dad took himself to Shopper's Drug at the mall & was a regular at Janice's Main Street café at Joseph Creek. He became an ardent radio follower of the Kootenay Ice until the team hit some lean years! On July 31st, the day of his memorial service in Creston, the flags will fly at half-mast at U of S & U of R. In addition to his 2 sons, Dad is survived by 5 grandchildren & their offspring in B.C. & WA state. Dad set a fine example for us of a life well-lived & will be fondly remembered by all who knew him. We are in debt to those who worked with Dad at Inland Health, Joseph Creek & F W Green home. John's ashes have been interred alongside Nina's at Forest Lawn Cemetery at Erickson, BC
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