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Born: May 22, 1921

Date of Passing: May 28, 2022

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May 22, 1921-May 28, 2022

Our dad Henry P Friesen was born on May 22, 1921 in St Anne, Manitoba to John E and Gertrude Friesen. He was born again into his eternal home Saturday May 28, 2022, just after his 101st birthday.
Dad only needed 7 years of school to acquire enough formal education to lay a good foundation for a lifetime of learning. Dad spent a lot of time reading, and in his last weeks in the hospital he could often be found in his room reading his Bible that he loved so long and knew so well, but never well enough for his own satisfaction. On one visit family walked in to his hospital room and saw a nurse on one knee beside Dad sitting in his wheelchair, both reading the Bible.
Dad grew up near Blumenort with 7 brothers and 5 sisters, who all preceded him, plus one sister who died in infancy. Dad's comment in recent years was that it felt a bit like he was being kept after 4, when all of his family was going home and he had to stay. This was never said with bitterness as he loved his family here and continued to enjoy new friends all of his life, but in his last days he was ready to go. Trudy was wheeling him around the hospital one day and asked him where he would like to go. His response was "Take me to where the stairs go up to heaven."
World War 2 and the attendant conscription presented Dad with challenges as he stood before judges to make his case as a conscientious objector to serving within the war machinery of his country. Dad's determination to follow in the ways of Jesus the Prince of Peace, and the God of love who gave his own body for others, compelled him to refuse his country's call to take up arms against fellow human beings. Dad qualified for alternative service in a lumber camp in Norquay where he developed a lifelong love for the woods. Later in life he spent hours in the woods on his home farm blazing walking trails that became a community attraction, trails that his grandson Dylan now maintains in loving homage to his beloved grandfather.
Mom and Dad were married July 11, 1948 in a double ceremony with Mom's younger sister Katherine who also had a Henry she wanted to keep. When Mom and Dad moved to Morweena they found homesites across the road from each other and shared joys and sorrows, farm equipment, work and play, into retirement.
Dad was baptized in the Blumenort church and became active as a songleader, deacon, and minister. Mom and Dad moved to Morweena in 1960 to start a new farm and a new church in a new to them community near Arborg. Dad lead this church until 1984 when he resigned and became engaged in supporting churches in other far-flung communities.
Soon after this move Mom and Dad experienced tragic loss when two of their sons Alfred (age 12) and John (age 6) were killed in a farm tractor rollover in 1965. In 2002 the oldest daughter Bernice (age 52) was taken far too soon after a brief battle with ovarian cancer. Ten years later the love of his life went home on her 87th birthday after 63 years of marriage. Dad's tenacity in maintaining a positive outlook through all of these experiences leaves us in awe, and is an everlasting challenge to us.
Dad spent his life loving God and people and bringing both loves together, farming in Manitoba, and doing stints of service in Mexico, USA, Belize, and Paraguay. This resulted in relationships that enriched their lives, and ours. Mom and Dad were not only lifetime partners, but life time sweethearts and lovers, and we like to imagine them strolling heavenly gardens hand in hand, together again at last and for always. They can no longer come to us, but we go to them.
We cannot adequately express our appreciation for the communities that have been an immeasurable support to Dad through the years. Dad loved his place at Assisted Living, but much more he appreciated the people. The staff and residents quickly learned to love our Dad dearly and they gave Dad the best of care. Thank you to the staff and residents of Assisted Living, Arborg Hospital, and Arborg Personal Care Home. Thank you to Doctor Loudon, Dad's physician for many years, who developed a deep friendship and a relationship of mutual respect with Dad, and Doctor Donnelly who cared for Dad during his last hospital stay. You have been nothing less than God's angels sent to care for Dad.
We want to thank the Morweena community that has supported Dad and us through the years and in our time of loss. We appreciate your support. Thank you. Moutich veeda.

As published in The Carillon on Jun 09, 2022

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