We Remember


The Life Journey of John Wollenberg


John was born on March 26th, 1930, one of five children of Julius and Helena Wollenberg. His birthplace was Maunders, Alberta, near Hanna, Alberta. In 1933 the family moved to homestead at Onoway, Alberta. John often spoke of the great privilege of being raised into a Christian family.

At the age of 12 (March 19, 1942) John committed his life to Christ at which time he also sensed God’s call upon his life for pastoral ministry.

In high school he was nicknamed “Preacher” by his classmates. This was one of God’s reminders of John’s vocational calling. At the age of 22 he left the farm and headed to college and seminary in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

On June 9th, 1951 he met the love of his life and on their very first date he knew that Irene would be joining him in life and in his calling. They were married on August 7, 1953 and were later blessed with two wonderful sons, Mark and Timothy. John and Irene’s years of pastoral ministry lead them to many marvelous and exciting places and they served in giving spiritual leadership in a number of locations.

From 1957–1961 they pastored the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Ebenezer Saskatchewan. The Emmanuel Baptist Church in Morris Manitoba was their community from 1961–1965. They then moved to Kelowna and pastored Trinity Baptist Church from 1965–1974. Sunshine Ridge Baptist Church in Surrey BC was the next church they pastored from 1974–1977.

It was during their time in Surrey, on January 20th, 1978, that John received a kidney transplant. This was indeed a miracle as it added almost 38 years to his life.
Evergreen Baptist home in White Rock, BC was the place where John served as the program coordinator and chaplain from 1977–1981. He returned to pastoral life when he moved to the Osoyoos Baptist Church where he and Irene stayed from 1981-1986. The last church in which they served was the East Olds Baptist Church from 1986–1992. At the completion of their vocational ministry John and Irene retired to Kelowna, BC where they reconnected with the Trinity Baptist community.

Over the course of his ministry years John also served as the President of the North American Baptist Seminary Alumni and the President of the North American Baptist Pastors Fellowship. During the time before John’s transplant, when his kidneys were failing, he received a citation from the seminary for displaying a spirit of love and courage and strong faith. In John’s retirement years he loved to sing with the men’s choir and was very involved in the seniors group at the church.

John was willing to serve people, encourage people and pray with people after he finished his “working days.” He continued to lovingly pastor people and care for them long after his official retirement. John was pastoral in his very nature and he took every opportunity to add value to the lives of the people he met.

God called John home but those who continue on in their journey here on earth are the following: his dearly loved wife and helpmate, Irene; his sons Mark (Brenda) and Timothy (Kathleen); his grandchildren Matthew (Liz), Samuel (Megan), Joel, Rachel (Eldon), Rebekah, Joshua and Jacob; and his great-granddaughter and her family. He also leaves his sister Tobae and her husband Jake Esau and their family, and his brother Reuben Wollenberg and his family. In addition, John leaves the many great friends that he made over the years.

John found enjoyment in many of life’s experiences–traveling throughout North America with Irene in their RV, staying connected with relatives, playing cards with friends, hanging out with his grandkids–but he had only one major goal and that was to follow his Lord and to obey him in the day to day journey through life.

In his own words John summed up his life by saying:

There was a man sent by God, his name was John and they walked hand in hand down life’s pathway and then God said: “Come Home.”


A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, January 23, 2016 at 10:30 am at Trinity Baptist Church, 1905 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC; where John served as Senior Pastor from 1965 to 1974. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the International Justice Mission Canada, PO Box 336 Stn B, London, ON N6A 4W1, www.ijm.ca or the Kidney Foundation, 200-4940 Canada Way, Burnaby, BC, V5G 4K6, www.kidney.ca. If you wish to send a condolence, post photos or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Share Your Condolences.”


Saturday, January 23, 2016 at 10:30 am

Trinity Baptist Church

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International Justice Mission Canada, PO Box 336 Stn B, London, ON N6A 4W1 or Kidney Foundation, 200-4940 Canada Way, Burnaby, BC, V5G 4K6 Link: www.ijm.ca, www.kidney.ca


Service Information

Service Details

The service for WOLLENBERG, Rev. John is scheduled for Saturday, January 23, 2016 at 10:30 am. Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.

Address & Contact for Service Location:

Trinity Baptist Church

1905 Springfield Road Kelowna, BC


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  • Ray Sommer says:

    Sincere condolences to cousin Irene and family. May the Grace of God comfort and sustain you in your time of sorrow.

  • David & Ann Heaslip says:

    Our sincere sympathy Irene and family. Pastor John was a joy to know. David and Ann Heaslip

  • Miriam Morse says:

    Dear Irene & Family;

    Saying “goodbye” to our dear ones is never easy, yet we as believers in Jesus Christ are particularly blessed since we know we will see each other again. I was always so fond of John, even from the time I was a young girl. I remember his gentle spirit, his warm smile, & his hearty laugh. As a young medical student, I remember his openness regarding his dialysis shunt and allowing me to examine it–how many people would do that? John loved people, and John loved Jesus. May you take comfort in knowing he really is in that place we call Heaven–the place Jesus said he was going in order to prepare a place for us to come. I feel sure that John heard some very precious words: “Enter into the joy of your Lord, good & faithful servant!” I hope you will all find comfort in the promises of God. May you often recall sweet & precious memories of John–husband, father, brother, grandfather, and friend. I too was privileged to know him.

  • Karin Laser Ristau says:

    Dear Wollenberg family – As you go through this valley of sorrow and grief, may you feel the Lord’s compassionate comfort and His amazing peace surround you in ways you’ve never experienced before. My heartfelt sympathies! My fond memories of Pastor Wollenberg date back to the days at Lake Nutimik campground in the Whiteshell area. I was kids camp counsellor for a few years before I married and moved away. May the Lord give His strength and continued hope for each day forward until we all meet at the feet of Jesus!

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