J.J. Oncescu of Assiniboia broke a few stereotypes as he celebrated his 98th birthday. “I was born on February 8, 1919 on a very cold February morning at home on the farm,” Oncescu said.
Almost a century later February weather in Saskatchewan hasn’t changed much, but Oncescu has lived through dramatic changes in lifestyle and technology in Saskatchewan. He was born on a farm near Limerick a few months after the end of First World War, brought into the world by his grandmother who was a midwife. Living in the days before medicare, she had helped to deliver his siblings and all of the children in the district.
He went on to study automotive and diesel engineering at college, but then in 1939 the Second World War broke out. Oncescu joined the Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air force, where his skills were in demand. After the war, he returned to Limerick to farm and a family life. He farmed for 40 years and was an insurance broker for 50 years. Oncescu recalls serving on many committees where the members worked hard to bring in basic services like roads, telephone lines and schools. He sat on the boards of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool board, Co-op and Telephone, and he was also an RM Councilor.
For more on this, see the Feb. 17, 2017 print or e-edition of the Assiniboia Times. You can also subscribe to the Assiniboia Times here: www.assiniboiatimes.ca/subscribe