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Image by Tirza van Dijk

John Iwanski



(Mr. I and Hey Dave!)

Sadly, John passed away January 6, 2022 at the young age of 67, due to complications of a bone marrow transplant.


He is survived by Susan, his loving wife of 36 years; his sister, Wanda (Douglas) Tripunovic; mother-in-law Joyce Baker; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Cathy (Archie) Campbell, Barb Baker, Jeff Baker (Natalie Nordin), Deb (Gary) Horrocks, Lynda Baker; seven nieces and nephews, Dushan Tripunovic, Michael Horrocks, Hayley Baker (Kasali Akili), Chelsea Baker, Jessica Baker, Cole Baker (Ashley Normandeau), and Katelyn Horrocks (Braeden Savage); as well as great niece, Madelyn Barrate, and great nephews Noah Baker and Everett Akili. John was a special godfather to Justin Cochrane, Liza Jones Smith, Teaghan Wellman and Katelyn Horrocks. John has extended family in Kielce and Czestochowa, Poland.


 A loving and happy husband, brother, brother-in-law, friend, mentor, coach, “Hey Dave”, chef and wine “connoisseur”, John was also regarded as the best “daughter-in-law” my mother had, as he prepared and hosted many, many, many Baker and Tripunovic family celebrations.


John was employed with the Winnipeg school division, starting in September 1977 and retiring on January 31, 2013. As an educator, John was proud to have taught every grade from kindergarten to Grade 12 – at St. John’s, David Livingstone and Shaughnessy Park and he ended his career as a guidance counsellor with Sisler High School. John was a track and field coach for more than 30 years, continuing to coach after he retired from education. Over the years, he enjoyed time spent with countless athletes and had many a kind word and some practical tips to help the athletes/students reach their full potential. Many of his athletes have kept in touch and became extended family. Sports Manitoba recognized John as coach of the year in 2010. John also coached for Team Manitoba and at the International Peace Garden camp.

His track and field interest began at Luxton School with Orin Cochrane as his school coach and later his track club coach. John held the 1972 high school provincial record of 49.6 seconds for 440 yards, until the record was tied in 1990. Gladys Nortey, a former Sisler athlete who became a family friend, lived in San Francisco and in 2006 invited us to run in the Bay to Breakers when John was 52 years old – it was great entertainment and fun to run from the bay to the ocean, a long way with hills. The race attracts many participants; some who choose to run naked or costumed; like the runaway brides in their white finery. We Winnipeggers ran fully clothed, in sportswear.

John was part of a group of like-minded coaches and friends – the Daves. You guys and gal know you were extra special people to him. He loved the annual coaches’ golf where you all sat around our dining room table, well fed and watered, fixing the world.


John was passionate about good food and wine – many people told him he should be a chef with his own restaurant but he much preferred cooking for family and friends. To think as a young boy, John’s Mother had to chase him around the house to eat a spoon full of food! John became a “foodie” during his university years and continued into his married life; when he married, he called his cooking self preservation. We were fortunate to make great friends with our neighbours, The Martins, who were in a wine tasting group and we were invited to join in the late 80’s. We still enjoy the friendship of that great group of people – The Martins, Cooks, Zayatzs, Jastrzebskis and the Charleses.


John prepared for a salary deferred leave for the school year 1996 – 1997 and we left In November for Australia, New Zealand, Maui and California, driving into Nevada and returned to Winnipeg for the spring flood of 1997.


Every Spring Break, we made an effort to travel somewhere warm – Venezuela, Vegas, Texas, Cancun, Cuba, Acapulco, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. When John retired in January 2013 we vacationed around a number of the Hawaiian Islands. Future years saw February into March renting in Puerto Vallarta with the Charleses. In the fall of 2013, we travelled with the Martins for the Wine Tour Country Roads and Vineyards of Italy excursion. A few years later we traveled with them to Montreal and Quebec City to experience the explosion of the fall colours that area is known for. We golfed and traveled about Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in June 2017. That fall we travelled to Barcelona and then met up with the Koschicks to tour Nice (France) and Monaco. While in France we were welcomed and well fed by Josie’s extended family. In 2018 we enjoyed experiencing England with the Koschicks, my sister Cathy and brother-in-law Archie. The Iwanskis and Campbells then went on our own crazy driving around Ireland! John was planning our next life-size adventure to Greece or “somewhere exciting” before Covid shut down travel, and cancer touched John. He wanted to see the world and experience the food, wine and sights of different cultures. He is probably now meeting with new travellers on a higher plane and exchanging recipes; sipping on a glass of wine.


John was a strong man; he fought - he chose to the have the stem cell transplant and his spirit didn’t give up, but his body could not take the multiple issues that were bombarding him near the end. He is at peace now. Thank you for being his friend, you are too many to mention, but you are all in his heart. He loved us.


In accordance with John’s wishes, cremation has taken place and no formal service will be held. At a later date, a celebration of life may be held. In the meantime, the family kindly requests that all of his friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour his memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos, memories, and stories by making use of the comment section on this page.


In lieu of flowers, donations in John’s memory may be made to Cancer Care Manitoba Foundation – 675 McDermot Avenue, Rm 1160 Winnipeg. MB R3E 0V9 Tel: 204-787-4143 Please specifically direct donations to Blood Marrow Transplant (BMT)


Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St, Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 -

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