Kurta, John

April 30, 1932 – November 8, 2019
at the age of 87 years

On Saturday November 23, at 1:00 pm, the family invites friends and family to celebrate John’s life at the Sockeye Room – Comfort Inn (1090 – 22  Street NE, Salmon Arm)

John Kurta, age 87, of Salmon Arm, BC (formerly Clearwater and Kamloops), passed away on Friday, November 8, 2019.  He was born in Granada, Alberta.  When he was school age, his family moved to Toronto, and then in 1946, moved again to Salmon Arm.  After attending UBC and attaining first a forestry degree, and then a law degree, John settled in Kamloops where he and his wife Edwina raised their family.  Being a man who preferred to be his own boss, John set up his own law practice (Law Offices of John Kurta).  He also offered law services to the community of Clearwater. Edwina and John moved to Clearwater in 1997 where John continued to practice law and was ‘semi-retired’. Law was one of John’s many passions and his knowledge of case law was extensive due to many hours spent in the law library. 

When not practicing law, most of John’s time was spent in the bush – fishing, hunting and camping with family or friends down some bumpy backroad, on the top of a mountain, or boating on a lake or river. Much time was also spent at ‘the farm’ in the upper Clearwater Valley, where John and Edwina eventually built their retirement home.  He also traveled with his family to many Rotary conventions and danced up a storm with Edwina on the dance floor whenever an opportunity came up.

John’s contributions to community included membership and leadership roles with Kamloops North Rotary Club, Friends of Wells Gray, and Upper Clearwater Community Hall. John and Edwina also donated private land to The Land Conservancy to support the development of the Clearwater Wetland project, which was John’s vision in the early 70’s when he purchased land in the Upper Clearwater valley – with this, he and Edwina have left a legacy that will continue to be expanded and developed.

Things that we will always remember about John – his ‘Cheshire Cat smile’, his willingness to help family and friends, his long and detailed stories, getting set up for the perfect picture, his love and respect of the outdoors and the importance of the preservation of unique and special ecosystems.

Left to honour John and to remember his love and passion for life are his wife, Edwina, three children Sheryle (Neil) Campbell, Sandra (Chris Greenaway) Sulyma and Jim (Charlotte) Kurta, grandchildren Devon, Emma and Keean Campbell, Joel and Emily Sulyma and Anni and Sam Kurta, sister Iva Bonar, and half brothers Rick Gunderson and Ron Gunderson.  He was predeceased by his parents Walter Kurta and Lena Gunderson, his brothers Eddy and Len and his sister Ella.

On Saturday November 23, at 1:00 pm, the family invites friends and family to celebrate John’s life at the Sockeye Room – Comfort Inn (1090 – 22  Street NE, Salmon Arm).  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Land Conservancy (http://conservancy.bc.ca/), directed to the Clearwater Ancient Swamp and Wildlife Corridor Campaign, which will serve to connect to the land that John and Edwina have previously donated.


  1. Our thoughts and love are with you and your family..Edwina..
    We miss your monthly visits and chat..so sorry for your loss.

    From the ForestHouse Wellness Centre Staff
    Love and hugs

    Sharon, Pati, and Tianna

  2. My love to you Edwina and to your family…

    I am holding John in my heart as I’m sorry I cannot be at the service..
    Thinking of what a passion John had for our valley and his contribution to our little community will not be forgotten.
    He was a powerhouse of a man as a neighbour , a lawyer, an outdoorsman and an ecologist John was all of these for us in Upper Clearwater..( maybe to some people’s detriment, ahem). He was always ready to offer his wisdom his services and gifts to anyone in need.
    His amazing stories, his quick smile and his strong words were all aspect of the amazing man he was.
    I think they broke the mold when he was made..and it feels like a big gap without him in the fabric of life..
    On Saturday at 1 The ladies in the valley are gathering for a wreath making party at the old school house and we will raise our cup of tea to you Edwina and to John..for his journey.

    Love Sharon

  3. Edwina and family,
    Sorry to hear of John’s death but did enjoy reading John’s obituary, we go back so many years. Ironically, shortly after reading it I was looking in my photograph albums for pictures of my Grandson when he was one year old as his son, my great-grandson will be celebrating his first birthday soon and thought it would be fun to compare the pictures.
    In that book I also found pictures from 1990 of our winter visit to your cabin. The Kuhns were also there and we went snow-shoeing and cross country skiing, etc. Brought back so many wonderfully happy memories which I would like to share with you. If you would like to see them I will scan them and forward to your email address if you would like to share it with me. Note to Fischer’s Funeral Service, I am quite comfortable with you sharing my email with the Kurta family and you can obtain it from this email. It is an odd email address caused by a typing error, was supposed to be “polewalker”! It is unique!

  4. My thoughts are with you.

  5. Edwina. Our thoughts are with you.

  6. John was an inspiration to all of us at TLC The Land Conservancy of British Columbia. His forward thinking, and generosity has lead to the establishment of the Kurta Wetlands, where biodiversity thrives, and where animals are provided protection as they move between their summer and winter ranges. Our thoughts are with Edwina and the rest of the Kurta family.

  7. Dear Aunty Edwina, Jimmy, Cheryl and Sandra (and families),
    I’m saddened to hear of Uncle John’s passing and send you all hugs during this difficult time. I have many fond memories of holidays at the farm; hunting, fishing, hiking and picking wild huckleberries with Uncle John and you all. Shortly after my Dad passed away, I had a vision of him, about 40 years old, in his old blue puffer, riding Amigo! I felt he was in a good place and find comfort that he will be keeping company with Uncle John. Thinking of you all and wishing you peace in the wonderful memories.

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