John Andrew (Andy) Blomquist was born in March 1947 to Astrid and Jonas Blomquist, who farmed on land north of Kinistino. Andy and his siblings attended school nearby in a one-room schoolhouse. After Jonas’ death in 1955, Astrid moved the family off the farm to find work and eventually settled in Choiceland. In Choiceland, the family was near Astrid’s cousin, Nore Johansson, who played an important role in Andy’s and his siblings’ lives. Andy had a close relationship with his ‘Uncle Nore.’ Both Andy and his younger brother Jim enjoyed visiting Nore on his trapline north of Smeaton, where Nore taught them bush skills and they developed their love of nature.
After graduating from high school in Choiceland, Andy went to work as a linesman for SaskTel and remained with the company for some 30 years. In 1977, Andy met and married Darlene Fiddler and settled in Nipawin to raise their family. Their three sons – Brian, Andy Jr., and Perry – were the joys of his life. The family built a small cabin along the Torch River, adjacent to Uncle Nore’s home on the trapline, and spent as much time at the cabin and with Uncle Nore as possible. After Nore passed in the 1980s, Andy took over his trapline. Andy’s life revolved around being outdoors. Whether it was working the trapline, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, or just sharing his knowledge of the bush with his family, the bush was where he was most comfortable and happy. This past summer, he continued to pass on these skills to the next generation by teaching his grandson, Eric John, how to use a chainsaw to cut wood.
Andy retired from SaskTel in 1997 after 30 years of service that marked him as a ‘SaskTel Pioneer,’ an honourific of which he was quite proud. Retirement for Andy meant freedom to combine contract work as a lineman while also spending time with family and at the cabin. Ever the bargain hunter, Andy also continued one of his favorite pastimes – finding good deals at yards sales. He was always trying to give his sons second-hand cowboy boots that he bought ‘for just 25 cents,’ regardless if the boots were the correct shoe size or if any of them even wore cowboy boots.
Andy spent the latter part of his life with his friend, Bertha Welsh, and they spent many years visiting friends and family, going to the cabin, travelling when they could, and renovating their home. Andy and Bertha are both animal lovers who took great delight in the birds, deer, stray cats who were regular visitors to the house and cabin, and the small dogs who were Andy’s constant companions.
A friend to all, Andy was known for his kindness, generosity, and easy-going nature. With a ready smile and a quick wit, he could make anyone laugh (and frequently did). Andy had a strong work ethic; even in retirement, when he wasn’t building or fixing something he was always willing to lend a hand to anyone who needed it. Andy had many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and acquaintances who were important to him.
Andy lived a full and happy life rich in experiences, adventures, fun, and love. He was also a caretaker who helped look after his mother and siblings after his father passed, and continue to care for his family and community throughout his life. He will be missed dearly by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Andy is survived by his sons, Perry and Brian; his niece Candace Fiddler; his grandchildren Abby, Callie, Eric, and Leah; his brother Jim and sister Irene; and his friend Bertha Welsch. He is predeceased by his son, Andy Jr, his parents, siblings, and Uncle Nore.
A memorial service will be held at Heritage Funeral Home on December 29th at 2pm with a reception to follow. This summer, his ashes will be interred alongside Uncle Nore, Andy Jr, and his sister-in-law Dianne Fiddler at the family cabin. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the to the Nipawin Salvation Army. Andy was a dedicated blood donor to Canadian Blood Services, and donations in his memory would also be a fitting tribute to his kindness and generosity.