John Frederick SOVEREIGN

April 3, 1949September 16, 2020

John Frederick Sovereign, April 3, 1949 – September 16, 2020 John Frederick Sovereign passed away peacefully on Wednesday September 16th, 2020, after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. John was born on April 3, 1949, in Fort William (now Thunder Bay), Ontario to Herbert and Irene (Beaney) Sovereign, and often spoke fondly of growing up in Conmee on the family farm. John met his wife, Allyson, in school and they married in 1975, later having two children. After graduating from Lakehead University School of Engineering, John worked on a number of jobs as a surveyor, estimator, and project manager. This included the Big Thunder Ski Jump, one of his proudest accomplishments. He eventually became a partner in Exucon Construction. Throughout his life, John had a deep faith and involvement in the church. In 1993, he felt called to the ministry, moving to Saskatoon to attend Emmanuel & St. Chad. Graduating in 1996, his first posting was at St. John’s Anglican Church (Schreiber, Ontario), later also taking on Trinity Anglican Church (Marathon), Holy Spirit (Manitouwadge), Chaplain of McCausland Hospital, and Regional Dean. He made many deep and lasting friendships at this time, and had great memories of canoe trips, working with Camp Gitchigomee, hiking the trails, and music nights with friends. In February 2006 John became Priest in Charge at St. Thomas Anglican Church in Chilliwack, where he remained until his retirement in 2017. John brought compassion, humour, inclusiveness, and a deep love of music to his ministry. To many community projects, John gave his caring nature, and a desire to learn, listen, and grow. He was honoured to be a part of the Mayor’s Task Force on Inclusiveness, Diversity and Accessibility, Inclusion Chilliwack, and had a deep commitment to Truth and Reconciliation initiatives & education, amongst others. He brought his compassionate heart to many and knew how very much work is left to do. John was very active in Rotary, and a recent recipient of the Paul Harris Fellowship, the highest honour given to a Rotarian. In his retirement, John loved landscaping with his son, lending his voice and energy to advocacy, occasionally conducting services in the Fraser Valley, as well as hiking with family and friends through places like the Community Forest. John was predeceased by his parents, Herbert and Irene, niece Erin, nephew Matthew, and sister in law Isabel. Survived by his wife, Allyson, son Brad (Brittany), daughter Sarah (Jamie), and grandkids Connor, Mary and John, as well as four brothers, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins, whom he loved very much. John had a lot of heart for his community and made space for many meaningful friendships – he will be so missed. John’s greatest legacy would be that the work he felt so passionate about be carried on, and that we walk through life with a generous kindness and grace, meeting one another where we are, supporting people to become who they wish to be. In lieu of flowers, John wished for donations to be made to a community initiative in his name - as the details of this are still in process, please email for when further information becomes available. The family will be having a closed service for John on October 24th, 2020 at 11 a.m. at St. Matthew Anglican Church. A livestream link will be made available for those wishing to attend online.


  • Celebration of Life, closed service, Live Streamed

    Saturday, October 24, 2020


  • Live Streamed-:

    Saturday, October 24, 2020



John Frederick SOVEREIGN

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October 26, 2020

I had the pleasure of meeting John when he did church services at The Waverly of Chilliwack. Our residents looked forward to Sundays knowing that he would be there. He always brought a smile to their faces and they were blessed and lucky to have had the opportunity to spend time with him. My son had the awesome chance to have his wife as his Kindergarten teacher. I never made the connection between the two of them until one Sunday at work. Both my son and I are enriched to know this family and we send our deepest condolences to each of you. The world was a better place with John in it and I pray that good memories of wonderful times spent with him carry you through this difficult time!

Bishop Rod Andrews

October 13, 2020

I met John when I moved to Algoma in 1991. He was always cheerful, positive and optimistic. He will be missed. Sympathy to the Sovereign family.

Kirsten Hauge

October 6, 2020

I knew John only through the NDP , but recognized his dedication and faith in humanity early on. Although I attended only 2 of his services, as a Facebook “friend” we often go involved in great discussions. He will be missed by so many and his wisdom, most especially will be missed by me. God speed,.

Norm olson

October 1, 2020

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints" Psalm 116:15

My wife Shiro and I appreciated being able to visit with John and Allyson a couple of times recently. During these visits, we were able to share jokes from our shared past. My history with the Sovereigns goes way back. The Olson and Sovereign names are displayed on the same signpost in Conmee Township, outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario where the roads named after our families intersect.

It was therefore a joyful celebration and reunion when John was installed in 2006 as the priest at St. Thomas Church in Chilliwack. Shiro and I were able to attend that evening with my dad who was visiting from Conmee at the time. We enjoyed being able to connect with John and Allyson off and on since then. Two memorable events that we celebrated with John's family were the marriage of Sarah to Jamie and John's 70th birthday that his family organized. We will miss John, his brilliant conversations, caring ways and his good humor. He leaves a strong legacy of a man who pivoted mid-career to serve God and others wholeheartedly. We will surely miss him!

Jennifer Woodroff

September 30, 2020

I was so sad to hear that John passed away. While I wasn't able to message anyone to offer my condolences at the time - due to being banned on Facebook for a month - I was thinking of him throughout his illness and will always remember the many conversations we had via Facebook messenger. We talked about the Church, life in general and just the latest scuttlebutt. I was grateful to have known him.

He was truly a wonderful person and will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace. Que lo descansen in paz.

Shelly Yerburgh

September 30, 2020

Anyone who knew him knew that John was a character. I shall be hard pressed to forget his laugh for laughter often accompanied whatever was in progress. And who could forget the jokes! He had a call on his heart that brought many face with their own faith. By living his faith larger than life John called all of us to examine our own. WWJD? It's so hard to think of Chilliwack without John being there. Condolences to his family and friends. We are all better people for having known him.

Kenneth Burningham

September 30, 2020

While being in the congregation at Christ Church Hope BC, John was our stand in vicar many times. John would speak clearly and forcefully about christian issues during his sermon. What I loved about it he would start to read from his prepared text, then suddenly would close the folder and speak from the heart. We all miss John he brought a level of humility which many find it hard to do. God bless John and all of his family.

Woutrina Adams

September 30, 2020

John was a very caring person and although I didn't live in Chilliwack I came to visit my mother on holidays and she was a devote Anglican. I especially loved Christmas Eve service and listening to John sing. He had a voice of an angel. He always made me feel welcome. He will be missed. RIP

Dianne Astle

September 29, 2020

John was a fine human being and a great minister. I appreciated his commitment to justice, peace and equality.


September 18, 2020

Allyson and family, John will be truly missed by my family. We have so many memories from camp with John, His love and support he gave us will always be in our heart. John was a truly great man.
Our condolence and love.
Lesley Reszitnyk and family


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