John Kurta

November 8, 2019
John Kurta, age 87, of Salmon Arm, BC (formerly Clearwater and Kamloops), passed away on Friday, November 8, 2019. He was born in Granada, Alberta. When he was school age, his family moved to Toronto, and then in 1946, moved again to Salmon Arm. After attending UBC and attaining first a forest degree, and then a law degree, John settled in Kamloops where he and his wife Edwina raised their family. Being a man who preferred to be his own boss, John set up his own law practice (Law Offices of John Kurta). He also offered law services to the community of Clearwater. Edwina and John moved to Clearwater in 1997 where John continued to practice law and was ‘semi-retired’. Law was one of John’s many passions and his knowledge of case law was extensive due to many hours spent in the law library.
When not practicing law, most of John’s time was spent in the bush – fishing, hunting and camping with family or friends down some bumpy backroad, on the top of a mountain or by a running river. Much time was also spent at ‘the farm’ in the upper Clearwater Valley, where John and Edwina eventually built their retirement home. He also traveled with his family to many Rotary conventions and danced up a storm with Edwina on the dance floor whenever an opportunity came up.
John’s contributions to community included membership and leadership roles with Kamloops North Rotary Club, Friends of Wells Gray, and Upper Clearwater Community Hall. John and Edwina also donated private land to The Land Conservancy to support the development of the Clearwater Wetland project, which was John’s vision in the early 70’s when he purchased land in the Upper Clearwater valley – with this, he and Edwina have left a legacy that will continue to be expanded and developed.
Things that we will always remember about John – his ‘Cheshire Cat smile’, his willingness to help family and friends, his long and detailed stories, getting set up for the perfect picture, his love and respect of the outdoors and the importance of the preservation of unique and special ecosystems.
Left to honour John and to remember his love and passion for life are his wife, Edwina, three children Sheryle (Neil) Campbell, Sandra (Chris Greenaway) Sulyma and Jim (Charlotte) Kurta, grandchildren Devon, Emma and Keean Campbell, Joel and Emily Sulyma and Anni and Sam Kurta, sister Iva Bonar, and half brothers Rick Gunderson and Ron Gunderson He was predeceased by his parents Walter Kurta and Lena Gunderson, his brothers Eddy and Len and his sister Ella.
On Saturday November 23, at 1:00 pm, the family invites friends and family to celebrate John’s life at the Sockeye Room – Comfort Inn (1090 -22nd Street NE, Salmon Arm). In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Land Conservancy (, directed to the Clearwater Ancient Swamp and Wildlife Corridor Campaign, which will serve to connect to the land that John and Edwina have previously donated.
Shared memories and condolences may be sent to John’s obituary at

Fischer’s Funeral Services

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