John Tarangle

(June 16, 1914 – August 2003)
Tribute written and presented by Eva Melnechuk Proskiw
Funeral service, Abbotsford, British Columbia
August 2003

John Tarangle and my sister, Annie, celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on August 7, 2003 so I have many fond memories of my brother-in-law over a period of 65 years.

As many of you know, John was a schoolteacher, a graduate of “Normal School” in Edmonton as it was known then. He began his career by teaching Grade 1 through10. He loved learning and through the years he attended summer school until he earned a Master of Education degree. He specialized in Business Administration and Language. He worked in schools throughout Alberta and British Columbia and served in the Abbotsford School System for 13 years before his retirement.

He loved languages and was proficient in several: Ukrainian, his mother tongue; English, his second language; French (in St. Paul, Alberta he was taught by Francophone nuns while enrolled in high school); Spanish; and Russian.

In this age of computer technology, he enjoyed using the Internet and Email immensely.

As a teacher, we was a “Serious, No-Nonsense Type”, and I speak from personal experience as I was a student in his Grade 10 class in Beauvallon, Alberta. Here is one of my experiences as his student:

In a History assignment, each student in the class was to write a research paper and present it to the class. A discussion would then follow. I remember working very diligently on the project and I felt I had done a good job. However, after I presented my work, my teacher, John, only said, “Good” and nothing else happened—no discussion, no other comments. To say the least, I was very disappointed by his lack of response to my hard work.

Years later, when we reminisced about Beauvallon school days, I mentioned this incident that had disappointed and surprised me. John said, “Eva, I never heard one word of your class presentation. When you stood up to give your report, all I saw was your sister Annie, and I just went into a daydream, hoping that Annie and I would get married that summer!”

So much for my “Serious, No-Nonsense” teacher. He was in love!

John did have another side to him; he wasn’t always serious. He was the eldest of a family of five boys and 5 girls. Annie’s family consisted of 8 girls and 2 boys and so there were often visits between the families. The Tarangle home was always open and we were made to feel welcome. Here is a story about the other side of John:

When the Tarangle family would get together and we would be invited to visit, Annie and I would frequently be in the kitchen. Soon we would hear peals of laughter coming from the living room where the men were visiting and this would often continue for several hours. Annie and I would be curious about what was going on. She would watch the men laughing for a few minutes and would just look at John and shake her head. When Annie left the room, John would say, “I’d better stop this nonsense. Annie doesn’t like it”.

Later, after the guests left, Annie would ask John, “Well how are things with your brothers?” John would reply, “ I don’t know” or “I didn’t ask them” or “We didn’t talk about that”. Annie would say, “John, I just can’t understand how an intelligent professional man like you could waste two hours being so STUPID!”

John, taking no offense would reply, “Well, I always have to act so professional, so once in awhile I have to let my hair down–even though there isn’t much there–and we had fun!”.

On our way home, I would ask my husband Anton, “What were you guys talking about that made all of you laugh so much?” Anton would say, “Nothing really. But the Tarangle brothers try to outdo each other in telling tall tales and jokes. We sure laughed and had fun. I really like that family!”

John loved his church and he served as church elder for many years. I know many of you here enjoyed his Sabbath School class. I always appreciated his strong principles and his ability to look at a problem objectively and unbiased—looking at “both sides of the coin” as the saying goes.

We will miss John. His death brings us sorrow, but we are not without hope—as the song that my husband Anton, our daughter Elayne, and I will now sing.