Madison Ryann Switzer
Professor Ken Hill
Arthur and Frances How
Norm and Fran were well-known for their involvement and service in the SDA church and the several communities where they resided over their lives together. Settling in Lacombe, AB in 1993, they became involved with College Heights church, with Norm eventually becoming a board member. This sowed the seeds for a great connection with Eric Rajah, the co-founder of A Better world. Eric knew Norm as a man who was well-respected as a minister, secretary of the Canadian Union Conference, and even the editor of the Canadian Adventist Messenger.
Norm’s role as a board member, however, is what really allowed the two to connect. When ABW first started, the CHSDA church board oversaw the organization. Today, Eric remembers his friendship with Norm and Fran with gratefulness and admiration. “They lived their faith through serving others,” Rajah said. “He was very passionate about service,” Eric remembers firsthand. “They regularly contributed to projects when they were alive—they gave their money to building schools and water wells.”
This introduction to ABW began a long-lasting legacy of support, which also inspired their family members to get involved. The couple had two sons, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. Robyn, one of their granddaughters, volunteered on physiotherapy trips to Kenya with the ABW Rehab Team.
Norm and Fran lived a life full of love and service that took them, too, outside of Canada. After their retirement, they volunteered with a charity called Seniors Over Seas, spending nearly two years in a suburb of Cairo, Egypt. Norm passed away in June 2011 at the age of 95 while Fran died two days short of her 106th birthday in May 2018.
This long legacy of service inspired their son David and his family to leave a financial gift in honour of Norm and Fran in support of the construction of the Professor Hill Rehabilitation Centre at the Kendu Adventist Hospital in Kenya. Pastor Ron Sydenham, ABW Board Chair, and Eric express their gratitude to the Hows for making a lasting difference in the lives of many young people in Kendu Bay.
Written by Laura Tester / Edited by Jacqui McCarty
Paul Johan Melitz
Besides his loving wife, Johan is survived by his son, Menno (Kerry) Melitz of Edmonton and daughter Siea (Jason) Newton of Calgary. Johan is also survived by two grandchildren, Reid and Julia Newton. Johan is also survived by his brother Henk (Betsie deceased) Melitz and his sister Betsie (Willem deceased) Hengeveld, both living in the Netherlands and his brother-in-law Anthon (Adriana) Slangen and sister-in-law Edith (Amadeo) Riduavets.
Johan was born in 1943 in the Netherlands into a farming family. Johan went on to study at the Agricultural University of Wageningen, where he met lifelong friends and also during this time met the love of his life Gerdy. In the early years of his career, Johan lived with Gerdy in Suriname and worked as a tropical soil scientist, which was just the beginning of his desire to fully experience cultures around the world and immerse in different ways of life. After starting a family, they lived off and on in Indonesia, where Johan would venture deep into the jungle for weeks with local teams to complete his research. At the age of 49, believing there wasn’t an adventure too big to pursue, Johan and his family moved to Canada to farm in the Lethbridge area. Johan’s zest for life combined with his keen judgment and unlimited determination meant it was no surprise he managed to expand from one farm to four farms. After winding down the farms, retirement was not his cup of tea and he built up a North American long haul trucking company and owned a Lethbridge based taxi business. His determination to find a fair solution for anything he encountered was his guiding force. As his career wound down, he and Gerdy set up the Bernhard Melitz charitable foundation aimed primarily at supporting efforts to provide basic education in developing countries. Johan was a lifelong learner and his curiosity and strength of character truly defined him.
A private service was held in Lethbridge. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to A Better World, one of Johan and Gerdy’s favored charities.