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Obituary of David Graves
David Graves David Graves was born April 27, 1919 to David & Katharine (nee Neufeld) Graves in the Ukraine. It was during the time of the revolution, and David’s father was serving as an orderly in a Moscow hospital. He contracted typhus fever. A nurse who was caring for him, heard him pray that he might be allowed to go home and see his wife before he died. This prayer was not granted, and he was buried in a grave with 25 others. The nurse removed his wedding ring and brought it to David’s mother. We used this ring at our wedding in 1974. David’s mother gave birth to David a few months after her husband passed away. She returned to her parents’ home, the Heinrich Neufelds. Here David grew up in the dark days of the Russian revolution. After some years his mother remarried to John Krause and together with David and a baby sister, Mary, they emigrated to Canada in 1927. They were detained in Rega, Latvia while David was hospitalized with pneumonia. They settled in Arnaud, Manitoba. David started his schooling here – at Langside, North Star and Dominion City. In 1931 they moved to a farm in Randolph (Chortitz). Here they were joined by David’s grandparents, the Heinrich Neufelds and their eldest daughter, “Tante Lena”. A few years later both David’s grandmother and his mother passed away within 6 months of each other. David’s stepfather remarried and moved his family to Steinbach. This left David, his grandfather and Aunt Helen to rent a house. David had a job on a farm for $5.00 a month, and took jobs working for local farmers and threshing crews. At 18, he and his friend Victor Dyck rode the rails to Ontario in search of jobs. He was able to send money to grandfather. When grandfather became ill, Aunt Helen wrote to him asking him to come back to Manitoba. Grandfather died shortly thereafter. This was during the great depression when money and jobs were very scarce in Manitoba. With $20.00 down and a handshake, he purchased 40 acres of bush land for $250.00. This place continued to be his home for over 60 years. They kept a few cows. Aunt Helen was able to do the housework with David’s help in spite of her poor eyesight. They lived here together until Aunt Helen’s health began to fail and she was hospitalized and moved to the Personal Care Home in Steinbach. She passed away in 1983 at age 96. David received Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour through the faithful witness of Rev. William Schroeder, a wonderful friend and neighbor. He was baptized and joined the Mennonite Brethren Church in Steinbach in 1953. I have always admired David’s practical Christianity. He loved the Lord and we had many precious times together reading and discussing the Word of God and praying together. Although I grew up about 5 miles from David’s place, I did not know him. In 1970 I returned home from Ethiopia and started to teach at the Suncrest Colony just west of Kleefeld. Here the women would come to visit me at the school and at our home and they kept saying, “You should meet David Graves - he believes exactly as you do.” I had not told them what I believed and I wondered about this man “that believed exactly as I did.” I asked my father to point him out to me if we should happen to see him somewhere. When the men of the colony would meet David in town they would tell him, “You should meet our teacher, she believes exactly like you do”. It seemed inevitable that we should meet. It was at a fall supper in Grunthal that Dad had a chance to point out David to me. The only problem was that he was always looking at us and I didn’t want to stare at him. But he happened to be beside me as we stood in a double line for the food at supper and handed me the plate. Sometime later he phoned and invited me over for noodle soup. The rest is history. We were married in 1974. David was a week short of 55 and I was 42. Life on our little 40-acre farm was lots of fun and hard work. We worked together getting our year’s supply of firewood with the tractor and trailer, sawing and piling it in the woodshed. We hauled bales and worked in the garden together. We spent time selling produce at the farmer’s market where we met so many wonderful people. In 2006 we sold our farm and moved to Steinbach. In spite of failing health, David appreciated the time here and especially enjoyed making meat buns where his job was to fry the meat and package the buns. It was a busy time at Christmas. On January 9, 2009 David wanted to call his friend who was sick and while dialing the number, he collapsed. He was taken by ambulance to Bethesda Hospital where he passed away. We have a blessed hope of seeing each other again. David is survived by his wife, Eva; his sisters Mary (Alex) Alton (St. Catharines, Ontario), Mrs. Helen Shortreed (Oshawa, Ontario), his brother Henry (Lil) Krause (Langley, BC). The funeral service will be held Monday, January 12, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. at the Mennonite Brethren Church, Corner of Lumber & 2nd St, Steinbach with interment at Heritage Cemetery.