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VERN SIMONSEN Vern passed away peacefully on April 8, 2018 at Grace Hospice. He is survived by his wife Ann, children Karen (Michael Dow), Paul, Lise and Christine (David Rochette), grandchildren David Christiansen (Elizabeth), Scott Christiansen, Michael Christiansen, Cleo Syverson, Jack Syverson (and their father Dean Syverson), Michèle Rochette and Marc Rochette, stepgrandchildren Gillian Romeo (Anthony), Katherine Dow and Elizabeth Dow (Will Coombs), and great-grandchildren Henry Christiansen and Joseph Romeo. Born in 1931 to Simon and Anna Simonsen, the fifth of their eight children and the first to be born in Canada, Vern was raised on the family farm near Redvers, Saskatchewan - as he would spend the rest of his life enjoying telling anyone who would listen. Growing up on the farm during the Great Depression was a defining experience for him. After attending a one-room schoolhouse in his early years, Vern carried on to Luther College in Regina and Dana College in Blair, Nebraska. He then worked as a high school teacher in rural Saskatchewan and The Pas, Manitoba. It was during this period that he decided to enter law school. He won the University of Manitoba Gold Medal in Law and was called to the Bar of Manitoba in 1959. From 1959 to 1982, he practiced civil litigation, first with Scarth, Honeyman, Scarth and continuing with the firm until it eventually became Scarth, Simonsen, Dooley, Olson and Weins. He was President of the Law Society of Manitoba from 1973 to 1974. In 1982, he was appointed a judge of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench. He continued to work as a judge until his retirement in 1997. Vern loved the law, and lawyers. He believed in the profession, the role it played, and the good it could do. And he thoroughly enjoyed the collegiality, whether it be at a curling or baseball event, or shooting the breeze with lawyers in his judicial chambers. Vern was very proud of his Danish heritage, and appreciated everything Dansk. He served as the Honorary Danish Consul in Manitoba for many years. He also contributed to his community as a supporter of youth sports teams, a school trustee with the Tuxedo School District, a member of the Winnipeg Police Commission, and co-founder of Tennis Seventies. He loved the family cottage at West Hawk Lake, the clear skies of Palm Springs, and cooking great food in his kitchen. But first and foremost, Vern was a family man. He was dedicated to his family beyond words, always supportive, never judgmental, and an inspiring role model. His spirit was indomitable and his joy for life endless. He was tireless in his commitment to making the lives of family members better. Quite simply, Vern was a unique individual. The family would like to thank Vern's caregivers, Mafi, Lily and Jeanneth, as well as the entire staff at Grace Hospice for their compassionate care and companionship. In accordance with Vern's wishes, there will be no funeral service. A reception in his honour will be held on Monday, April 23, 2018, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at Niakwa Country Club, 620 Niakwa Road. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Pulford Community Living Services Inc., 1146 Waverley Street, Unit 5, Winnipeg, MB R3P 0P4, or a charity of your choice.
As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Apr 14, 2018
Condolences & Memories (5 entries)
This is a very late remembrance of Vern and I don’t recall why it is this late but I am very upset with myself for not knowing of Vern’s passing! I first met Vern in his office in 1971 following my wife’s car accident and he made quite an unexpected impression on both my wife and I! He spoke our language and we both knew we had the right guy representing us. To say that Vern was unique was an understatement. He was magnetic! Following our introduction I subsequently taught his daughters and coached his son on our midget hockey teams. Vern was always supportive of the instruction given to his kids. Del and I will always remember Vern with a great deal of fondness. Thanks for being there Vern! - Posted by: Jack Matheson (Friend) on: Dec 21, 2018
I was very saddened to learn of Vern's passing. He was my peewee hockey coach and my early memories of him are as a force in the local community club. Later in life our paths crossed when I was a junior lawyer and he a senior member of the bar and later a judge. Always someone interested in what was going on in your life. And of course always a cigar ready to hand. He was larger than life and will be well remembered. - Posted by: Tom Saunders (School friend of kids) on: Jun 19, 2018
Vern was one of the best 'parents' I ever knew...for sure. And that is because he had such a huge personality....and a great laugh. I used to look forward to seeing him as a kid. And man...like Clive, I fondly remember those cigar smoke filled rides in his station wagon going to and from practices and games. Even as a teenager making one mistake after another, he still greeted me with a warm smile and a handshake. He was as sincere and genuine as they come. A true gentleman. - Posted by: Reg Wightman (Friend) on: Apr 23, 2018
My brother Reg and I grew up with Paul and played hockey together as children. Vern was always at our games cheering us on...it helped that Paul was the best player on our team..by a mile....I remember the smell of a good cigar whenever Vern was around...some of the best memories of my childhood....a super nice man. My condolences to the Simonsen family....Clive Wightman - Posted by: Clive Wightman (School friend of Paul) on: Apr 16, 2018
My sincere condolences to the Simonsen family on Vern's passing. Vern was a unique individual, with a fabulous memory. I had the opportunity to work for Vern (he always made me feel like I was working "with him") as a young lawyer in the late 1970s. I learned a lot about the practice of law, and life, from my years at Scarth, Simonsen. Vern had a way of cutting through the myriad of details of a legal matter and trying to reach a common sense solution that was fair and ethical to all parties (back in the days before "win-win" became the saying). Vern was well liked by all who met him. He had a way of focusing just on you when he was talking to you; and he made you (and your opinion) feel valued. I remained friends for many years with Vern (even after I moved away from Winnipeg in 1984); and he was always interested in my work, activities and family. Vern was a special, unique, man. - Posted by: Peter Harris (Friend) on: Apr 14, 2018
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