In Memoriam: Rev. James Simon Mantel (1937-2019)

Jim Mantel often felt there was too little emphasis in the church on Jesus’ command to love one another. He sought to have it shine brightly in his own life and ministry. Mantel died Aug. 16 of heart failure.

Mantel’s family emigrated from the Netherlands to Canada in 1949 and bought a farm near Hamilton, Ont., where they grew produce and flowers. At age 14, his dad took Mantel out of school to help on the farm. By the time he was 16, he was selling flowers at Toronto’s Wholesale Market. That was also the year he attended a Billy Graham rally, which subsequently made a significant impact on his faith formation as well as on the direction of his life. Mantel began high school at age 20, finished in two years, and went on to Calvin College and Seminary.

Ordained in 1967, Mantel served the following congregations: Athens (Ont.) Christian Reformed Church; Nobleford (Alta.) CRC; Sunnyslope CRC, Salem, Ore.; Kelowna (B.C.) CRC; Sonlight CRC, Regina, Sask.; and Neerlandia (Alta.) CRC.

After retirement in 2000 at age 61, the Mantels moved to Three Hills, Alta., where he created a greenhouse business called Jim’s Garden Centre. In doing so, he was going back to his early roots when he had loved seeing plants grow and flourish. He worked in his garden until a week before his death.

Mantel is survived by Louise, his wife of 54 years, four children and their spouses; and seven grandchildren.

About the Author

Janet Greidanus is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

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