John Blohm dies in his 80th year
When John Blohm, died from a heart attack on Tuesday, August 1 this village lost an ally, a man willing to stand up and say exactly what he thought and willing to work hard to prove his point. He had a gruff demeanor and on the wrong day, he may even have been called grumpy. But if you were able to get on the right side of his smile, which you could easily do if you asked him about the many community activities he dedicated himself to, you could quickly see he had a heart of gold.
Blohm was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1938 and trained as a pastry chef. He loved the outdoors, the wilderness and a good western novel. Perhaps that is why, on a whim, he immigrated to Canada in 1957, taking a job at Browns Bakery in Peterborough.
An accident in 1964 landed John in hospital. A fateful delivery to the recovering patient, coordinated by a mutual friend, saw a 19-year old Marie drop off a few items and meeting the man who she would marry, and share over five decades, two daughters and two granddaughters with.
Married life took them to Toronto where John worked at Weston Bakery. They bought a piece of land in Mulmur and enjoyed weekend retreats working hard on their lot.
When Oliver and Hazel Siddell put the Terra Nova store up for sale in 1967 John and Marie bought the business and moved north full time to enjoy “the simple life”. But it was not that simple. John dug into community life as a member of Mulmur council, a member of the Shelburne Kinsmen Club and the convener of Fiddle Fest parade. The Blohms ran the store until 1981, moving to Creemore so it would be easier for their daughters Katherine and Joanne to attend their many extracurricular activities.
Once in the village John joined the Lions Club. With his experience in Shelburne, it wasn’t long until he was running the Creemore Santa Claus Parade. He was in charge of seven parades during the 1980s and then took on five more in the 2000s. He was involved with the building of the Creemore Arena and Creemore Medical Centre. He was an active member of the Creemore Legion and Clearview Accessibility Committee. He was a Big Brother and a huge supporter of Rayès Place. He organized Canada Day events, instating awards for exceptional citizens and he ensured marching bands were part of any parade he managed.
“He was always such a go-getter,” recalls daughter Katharine Blohm. “If he cared about something he just dug in. He would speak strongly, from the heart, and tell the truth… which did not always make him popular, but he was bull headed for a reason.”
Katharine says he brought the same sort of grit and determination to the work he did professionally, as a mason installing fieldstone. “He used this crazy glue in the mortar and once you stuck it on, well… let’s just say there is no changing it.”
His handy work can been seen throughout the area including the family home in Creemore and their former store, now the Terra Nova Pub. He believed in building things to last.
In a 2012 interview with the Creemore Echo John Blohm was quick to share his motivation for his many activities, and in particular his work as a parade organizer. He said he was a believer in Creemore, he loved the feeling in this town when it is gathered in celebration. “There’s a cohesion in this town that you don’t see in other places,” he said. “People are inclined to work together, and help each other. It’s a special place, and that’s why I’ve tried to do my part.”
A memorial tea (or what the family prefers to call a “coffee” because of John’s love of the beverage) will be held on October 1st from 2 to 4 at the Creemore Legion.