Obituary of Helena Loewen
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7
With overwhelming love, sadness, and thankfulness for the years we were blessed to have her, we say goodbye to our mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Helena Barkman Loewen, who passed away February 21 at the Vita Hospital at the age of 98.
It’s difficult to summarize in a few short sentences what Helena Loewen meant to those whose lives she touched, and with 98 years under her belt, those lives are innumerable.
Helena Barkman Loewen was born October 28, 1922 and spent her childhood years in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan. It was in her youth, while visiting family in Steinbach, where on a warm summer day, surrounded by friends, that she met the young man with whom she’d spend 48 years of marriage. George and Helen were married on October 23, 1942. George preceded Helen and has been walking the golden streets with the Lord since August 10, 1990.
Together, George and Helen lived an adventuresome life. Helen loved to tell stories of living in the lumber camps, how their accommodations were humble, to put it mildly. How her hands would ache from peeling potatoes in the cold, and how their house mates (George’s brother Edward and wife Anne) divided their space with only a sheet that froze to the wall during the cold winter nights.
A new adventure had George and Helen returning to Steinbach in 1948 where they continued the task of growing their family with sons Gary, Roger, Curt and Gordon (who died at birth). Helen lives on in her son Gary and his wife Linda, son Roger and his wife Sharon, his children (their mother Joyce Loewen) and grandchildren. Son Curt, wife Brenda and their children and grandchildren.
Helen had so many stories to share, and was the center piece of so many of our memories, from her trip around the world, her love and devotion for supporting missionaries, time spent with her children and grandchildren at the Mennonite Heritage Museum, afternoons sweating it out on the tennis court, driving down the California freeway in stressful conditions, and playing cards or Rummi with her circle of friends. Helen’s life was full and our countless memories prove what an extraordinary life she led.
If you were blessed to have Helen in your life, you likely knew she had a deep love for music. Helen offered her time and her gifted ability in playing the organ at church and in her later years in the common room of her residence on Stonebridge. It was likely one of her great disappointments that she couldn’t pass down the same love for the instrument to any of her children or grand children, though her grandchildren spent many a memorable visit pushing the foot peddles and pressing dramatic chords that would fill the room to the rafters.
Music played such a pivotal role that even in her last difficult days she blessed her family with her singing voice and love for the Lord by singing Jesus Loves Me. What a precious gift, indeed.
If you had a bird’s eye view of Helen’s side table or a compartment of her purse, you’d know she always had a copy of the Daily Bread at the ready and her Bible at hand. Many a memory comes to mind of rehashing devotions or something new discovered in the Word where Helen could recite large portions of scripture for memory with authentic joy. Having battled numerous health issues through her life Helen remained faithful; her hope was in the Lord; what a precious gift and testimony to have Helen as the matriarch of our family.
A few key words have been chosen that will forever memorialize Helen, mother, grandma and great grandma. One word does little to define a life encompassing 98 years, but these words are not small and they paint a beautiful picture of a race well run.
Courageous: she was small but mighty, there was no quit in sight
Influential: gracious, classy and generous
Champion: her belief in you made you believe too
Steadfast: her purpose was defined, her faith was strong
Delightful: quick to smile with those she loved
Bless is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test,
that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
A livestreamed private family memorial service will be held on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at Birchwood Funeral Chapel, Steinbach, MB. To join the family via livestream please click the following link shortly before the time of the service.