JOHN GUST CANELAKEJohn Gust Canelake, 92, candymaker and lifelong resident of Virginia, Minn. died Dec. 25, 2012, at Saint Mary’s Hospice in Duluth.
John Gust Canelake, 92, candymaker and lifelong resident of Virginia, Minn., died Dec. 25, 2012, at Saint Mary’s Hospice in Duluth.
John was born Oct. 15, 1920 to Gust and Anna Canelake, immigrants from Greece.
John was the youngest of five children and fondly remembered his mother referring to him as her “baby” well into his adult years. John grew up working in the Virginia Candy Kitchen, which was later named Canelake’s Candies. He told many childhood tales of making due with very little during the depression years and developed a savvy business sense that led to his many successes. His happiest moments came with the third and fourth generation candymakers carrying on his legacy.
When World War II broke out, John enlisted to join the efforts and served as surgical nurse in mobile medical units in the South Pacific. He was encouraged by the army doctors to pursue a career in medicine, but when John returned from the war, he joined with his brother Leo, to continue the family business his father opened in 1905. John married the love of his life, Xanthi Anne Calivas of Hibbing, Minn., in 1947, and together they raised six children and built the home where he chose to live until, in his words, “when I go to the great candy kitchen in the sky.”
John Canelake was well known in the North Country. His candy store and soda fountain was a hub of the community and a place where many memories were made. He was always charming and friendly, a great supporter of the local business community and generous with caramel apples and Easter baskets for children. John was honored in his later years as a Grand Marshall in the Fourth of July Parade and a beautiful Canelake’s Candies mural from the Virginia Community Foundation. John was an avid woodworker and boat builder and brought a love of sailing to his family and the North Country. He was a member of the Optimist Club, and built over 30 sailing prams for children’s sailing regattas. He remained active through his later years, walking through the neighborhood and businesses. He was loved and supported by family and caring neighbors.
He is preceded in death by his loving wife, Xanthi Anne (Calivas) Canelake; daughter Connie; son, Robert; and siblings Stella, Helen, Mary and Leo.
John is survived by his children, Pamela Canelake Matson (Dennis Matson), Patricia Canelake (Frank Sander); sons, John Canelake, Jr. and Chris Canelake (Jayne Hartley); grandchildren Andy Matson, Sarina, Nicholas and Samuel Canelake.
SERVICE: 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Virginia, Minn., followed by a reception at the same location. Memorials can be made to the Virginia Community Foundation and the Virginia Public Library.
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