February 9, 1937 – January 9, 2019
Cherished husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend.
Born February 9th, 1937 in Neuendorf, Ukraine; moved to his eternal home on January 9th, 2019 in Chilliwack, B.C. Predeceased by his Mother, Susanna Thiessen in 1998 (separated by war from his father Johann Thiessen in 1945 – presumed dead); Predeceased by his Brother Frank in 1999, brothers-in-law Bob Cummins and John Vangolen, Sister-in-law and brother-in-law Irmgard and Henry Fleming, and mother-in-law Mary Barkowsky. Survived by his loving wife of over 57 years, Veronica, and their five children (spouses): Jim (Dayle) Thiessen, Gary Thiessen, Caroline (Loren) Tempel, Julie (Rob) Unger, Debbie (Tim) Winter. Thirteen Grandchildren: Sam, Nik, Daniel Thiessen; Austin, Jordyn, Sarah Thiessen; Richelle, Ryan Tempel; Mackenzie, Nate, Emily Unger; Mikayla, Thomas Winter. He is also survived by three siblings: John (Louise) Thiessen, Suri Vangolen, and Gaye Cummins (John Ross), along with many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Dad’s life might be summarized by a love for God, love for family, strong work ethic, and passion for growing, cooking and eating good food.
At an early age he saw firsthand his parents’ faith lived out; they continued to trust God as they navigated the trials of leaving their home in the Ukraine and fleeing across war-torn Europe. Eventually arriving in Canada in 1948 with his mom and four siblings, they joined the faith community at Yarrow United Mennonite Church where he attended and served for the remainder of his life. He attended Bethel Bible Institute and was baptized at the age of 17. Dad’s love for Jesus permeated every area of his life, and while he would be the first to admit he made many mistakes he repentantly asked forgiveness and accepted God’s grace right to the end. His faith was lived out in his spiritual guidance of his family and his volunteer work with his church, the Mennonite Disaster Service and support of various ministries and missions including Mennonite Central Committee, Camp Squeah, and Kingdom Ventures.
Dad loved his family; both his family of origin – and the family he would have with Veronica the love of his life, whom he married on May 27th, 1961. As a husband and father he was the consummate provider; together with mom building a family and home life that was a constant source of stability and love. He taught his kids how to do farm chores and yard work, raising animals and helping them with 4-H projects. Dad found a new lease on life with his grandkids – attending events, supporting them in their endeavors and praying for each of them daily. He loved them all, and developed a unique and special relationship with each of them
Dad worked hard. From hop fields to pipeline building, making bricks, selling drywall at Lumber City, and working the desk at Canex – Dad always found work and took pride in doing a good job. In addition to this Dad always maintained a farm (with the help of mom and kids) providing fresh milk, homegrown beef, pork, and fresh vegetables, fruit and berries and sharing the bounty with family and friends. Even when his health prevented him from keeping livestock, he loved nurturing the plants in his yard and greenhouse.
Dad’s last year presented him with a lot of medical challenges – he recovered from successful open heart surgery in July only to break his neck in October, landing him in hospital where he lived out his final months. It was our privilege to journey closely with our dad through his final weeks. Our sincerest gratitude to all the health care professionals involved in Dad’s care – especially his GP Dr. Gord Enns, and all the nurses and support staff on the 5th floor – you all feel like family. While we who remain are broken hearted at his passing, we rejoice in his home-going knowing he is at peace with Jesus, claiming the promise that God will never leave him or forsake him.
Celebration of life Thursday, January 17, 2019 @ 11 am at Yarrow United Mennonite Church (Eckert Road); public viewing at the church between 10:00 and 10:30 am. Wiebe & Jeske in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of Flowers – donations to MCC, Mennonite Disaster Service, Camp Squeah, or Kingdom Ventures.
Wiebe & Jeske Burial & Cremation Care Providers