A West Shore man involved in countless Greater Victoria developments is being remembered for his work ethic, his contributions to the community and his love for his family.
John Scheeren, a superintendent for Campbell Construction, died on Dec. 21 from injuries sustained in a workplace accident on Nov. 30 at the Yates on Yates building. He was 64 years old.
Scheeren started working for Campbell Construction in 1975 and oversaw countless projects in the four decades that followed. When he died, he was a Gold Seal-certified senior project superintendent.
A lifelong Greater Victoria resident, Scheeren was well-known and respected in the local trades industry, says his son, Robbie Scheeren. In fact, it would be nearly impossible to visit the region without seeing or using a building that Scheeren worked on.
In the early years, Scheeren juggled smaller jobs such as renovations to banks and restaurants. His career eventually encompassed more than 300 projects across Greater Victoria, including start-to-finish construction of multi-million-dollar condominium buildings and commercial projects.
Scheeren oversaw some of the region’s largest projects, such as the Westin Bear Mountain Resort and Spa and North Langford Recreation Centre, various largescale condo buildings, and the Oak Bay High School replacement project, to name a few.
After 45 years, Scheeren leaves a tangible legacy in the region’s skyline and community structures.
“He built these buildings, and when he was building them, it was everything to him,” Robbie said of his father’s work.
“But at the end of the day, when he was done … the pride he took in that was knowing that this building was going to stand here for 100 years and be used by hundreds and thousands of people.”
Robbie said his father was also a tireless advocate for the trades and encouraged young tradespeople to get certified and advance their careers.
“He really wanted the smartest kids to come into these trades and take over, run buildings, build buildings, be plumbers and electricians,” Robbie said. “He was very, very prideful in his work and all trades as well.”
Scheeren was known for having high expectations for himself and his crew, Robbie said. He points to a condolence message left behind by Ian Doomer, a man who worked with his father, in which he quotes Scheeren as saying: “As a tradesman, you are only as good as the work you did today. Do your work well and you will work tomorrow. Remember no one has to call you back. Let your work speak for itself.”
Below the quote, Doomer remarks: “John has taught me more in one phrase than any other man could learn in a lifetime.”
Scheeren grew up on the West Shore and attended Belmont High School, where he met his wife of 42 years, Lesley. Together they raised two sons, JR and Robbie, in Langford before moving to a five-acre farm in Metchosin in 2007.
Scheeren also leaves behind a two-year-old grandson, Brooks. Robbie says that becoming a grandfather brought out his dad’s soft side. For his grandson’s first birthday, Scheeren bought him a miniature John Deere tractor, one he wouldn’t be able to use for several years.
“He wanted to spoil him,” Robbie said.
Scheeren’s trades work will stand for decades to come, but his family will also hold onto the legacy of a man who put his loved ones first.
“He loved his family, he would do anything for his family,” Robbie said. “It was work and family for him, and sometimes work was ahead but it was always to better the family.
“JR and I were his prize. His two sons were everything.”