This year’s Creston Valley Blossom Festival will be missing the presence of an integral piece of the community – John Huscroft.
Born in 1945, Huscroft spent most of his life in Creston. He was very proud of his family’s heritage, as some of the first pioneers to settle in the area.
After growing up in Lister, he moved to Calgary and then Vancouver to further his education.
Even after travelling heavily in his youth, he chose to live in Creston and always believed it was the best place in the world.
In 1975, he married Carol Herchmer, who became his confidant in all things. In 47 years of marriage, they managed several businesses and raised three children together – Nicole, Jennifer, and Traven.
Over the years, Huscroft had several entrepreneurial pursuits in logging and trucking. In 1976, he opened Creston Truck Ltd., which later became Kootenay Peterbilt.
He built a network of life-long friends and often spent the evenings on his phone calling to check in and chat with someone in his contacts list.
Even his wallet was stuffed full of business cards from all of the people he met.
“He was always very social and just wanted to hear everyone’s story,” said his daughter Nicole Nixon.
His philosophy was to always help others, and he did just that wherever he could.
“The silver lining of him passing is so many people reaching out to us with stories of what he had done for them, like giving someone their first job or helping them them write up a business proposal,” said Nixon.
“Even just shovelling someone’s driveway, he loved doing things like that.”
He also volunteered his time with many different organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce, Creston Valley Rotary Club, Kootenay-Columbia Discovery Centre, Creston Valley Thunder Cats, and Search and Rescue.
“He definitely came from an era that doesn’t exist anymore,” said his son Traven Huscroft.
“He was all about spending time with family and supporting the community.”
As a lover of live music and entertainment, being part of organizing the opening ceremonies for the Creston Valley Blossom Festival was a very special passion project to him.
“He actually got me to join the Blossom Fest committee the week before his accident,” said his daughter Jennifer Huscroft.
“He’d been pushing me for years to come to a meeting. He just believed it was really important to put on these kinds of events for the community. He loved it.”
At this year’s opening ceremonies, his granddaughter Amelia Baumbach Huscroft will be performing with Discover Circus. Huscroft had originally booked the group in 2020 before the event was cancelled due to the pandemic.
During his time on the committee, he also had a hand in taking the nominations and announcing the winners for the annual Citizen of the Year awards.
After many years of resistance, he was finally awarded Citizen of the Year himself in 2020.
He thought it a great honour but preferred to celebrate the achievements of others, which can be seen with his most recent project.
As an avid pilot himself from the age of 16, Huscroft had a great appreciation of aviation and its history.
For the last decade, he had been working on creating a monument to commemorate the legacy of pilot C.B. Lang of the Golden Centennaires, who was born and raised in Lister.
In 1967, Lang was squadron leader for the team and was renowned for his incredible talents and leadership.
“My dad just really wanted to honour [Lang] and his contribution to the aviation industry and bring that awareness to the Creston Valley,” said Jennifer.
Huscroft’s close friend Mayor Ron Toyota has since taken over the project, with plans to have a CT-114 Tutor jet installed just north of Millennium Park.
Huscroft passed suddenly in February. At his funeral on April 2 , over 400 people attended to pay their respects.
“During the eulogy, we asked everyone to raise their hand if he helped them in some way, and almost every single hand in that place went up,” said Nixon.
“There was a lot of special moments that really showed how well rounded his life was.”
The service included the Rotarian Honour Guard, the Mennonites Choir, a speech from Mayor Toyota, and a traditional Ktunxana song from Nasukin Jason Louie.
“It’s really inspiring to see how many people you can touch in your life, just by helping when you can and giving back to the community,” said Jennifer.
While he served so many roles in the community, Huscroft will be remembered most as a devoted dad, grandpa, and uncle by his family.
Just by sitting in his office, you can tell that was his greatest love. The walls are lined with pictures of the family together and kids with big smiles.
All of the grandkids, nieces, and nephews share fond memories of driving on Sundays, going out for ice cream, and visiting the lake.
At the funeral, his eulogy included a quote that Huscroft had framed on his wall.
“I think this is the most impactful part of who he was,” said Nixon.
“It said, ‘One hundred years from now, I will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.’”