Harvey Barkman

Harvey Barkman

1924 - 2021

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Obituary of Harvey Barkman

Harvey K. Barkman was born September 3, 1924 in Giroux, Manitoba, son of John D and Susannah Koop Barkman.

His early years were spent in Saskatoon and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in a loving and hard-working family that included sisters Annie, Ella, and Sara (who died in infancy), and brothers Edwin and John.  His father was a steam engineer caught up in the depression, so when Harvey was 7 years old the family came back to settle on a farm in the Prairie Rose (Landmark), Manitoba area.

The skills Harvey learned from his parents, including blacksmithing, mechanics, building, farming, a hunger to learn, pursuit of God, general resourcefulness and perseverance, stood him in good stead all his life as he pursued education and missionary outreach in the Congo and raised a family across three continents.

In 1945 he married Avril Reimer and together they invested their lives in reaching people for Christ.  From their home church in Prairie Rose, to outreaches in rural Saskatchewan and Manitoba communities, to Belgium, Congo, Algeria, and back again to Manitoba –notably in Prairie Grove—Harvey was truly on a mission to tell people about Jesus.

His many talents and strong work ethic proved invaluable, as he studied to become fluent in French and 3 Congolese tribal languages, along with the German and English he was raised with.

Dad started out permit teaching in Manitoba and eventually administered schools of higher education in Congo, Canada and Algeria.  He pastored churches from Kamsack to Algiers to Prairie Grove and ministered in low German communities from Ontario to Mexico, usually in conjunction with teacher training.  Throughout his life he kept company with farmers, logging and construction crews, tribal leaders, students of all ages and presidents of companies and countries as well.  He “knew well” everyone from local relatives to top executives.  Every person and opportunity God put in his path was equally important and he gave them his all.

Dad never pursued anything half-heartedly. He didn’t know the word “can’t”.  With hard work, innovation, determination and prayer, he would tackle any challenge, from…

                Being 16 years old and conscripted into service far from home

                Broken down in the middle of nowhere—en panne—bwala bukole

                No money anywhere in sight (often, for many years)                      

                Reciting word for word the linear history of Belgium in his sleep

                Multiple evacuations from war-torn Congo

                Building an airport at Nyanga with machetes, spades and muscle

                Taken prisoner in Congo and jailed in Algeria

                Overcoming cerebral malaria as well as aneurysm and open heart surgeries

Living with cancer for years

…and countless other challenges over the course of his life.

He loved to sing, and did it with enthusiasm…With his accordion or guitar he would sing his children to sleep, lead the family in rousing song on roadtrips, accompany the extended family singing Christmas carols, sing in quartets or direct choirs.  Music was part of life.

God led Dad step by step through life, and finally put an arm around his broken shoulder to welcome him home on March 28, 2021.

He was predeceased by his wife Avril in October 2010, and by his parents, all of his siblings and their spouses, and daughter in law, Trudy Mesher-Barkman. 

He is survived by daughter Sandra (Lorin)Ensz, and sons Gerald and Lowell Barkman.

By grandchildren Jonathan (Dana) Barkman, Adam (Ashley) Barkman, and Daniel Barkman, Sean (Jessica) Ensz, Kirsten (Justin) Eck, Amber Barkman, Michael Barkman, Karen (Cam) Peters,and  Monica (Greg) Peach,

And by great grandchildren Addison and Aidan Barkman, Heather, Tristan, Caitlyn, Lana, Logan and Althea Barkman, Ellie and Mollie Ensz, and Titus, Thea, and Ava Eck.

The story of dad’s life is a story of God’s faithfulness.  What a friend he had in Jesus!  Surely today he is singing loudly with the saints in heaven to praise his Redeemer and Saviour.

A public come & go viewing will be held on Sunday, April 4, 2021, from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at Birchwood Funeral Chapel, Steinbach, MB., with Covid protocol's in place. 

The private family livestreamed service will be held on Monday, April 5, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. at Birchwood Funeral Chapel, Steinbach, MB.

To join the family via livestream please visit the link provided below. https://view.oneroomstreaming.com/authorise.php?k=1617311508108770 The livestream will be available for 90 days following the service. 

Donations in memory of Harvey may be made to Water Wells with Mwangaza International to donate online please click the following link https://mwangazaint.org/projects/water-is-life. Or to AIMM



Public Come & Go Viewing

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Birchwood Funeral Chapel
162 PTH 52 W
Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada
(204) 346-1030

Private Family Livestreamed Service

2:00 pm
Monday, April 5, 2021
Birchwood Funeral Chapel
162 PTH 52 W
Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada
(204) 346-1030


Prairie Rose EMC Cemetery
PR 210
Landmark, Manitoba, Canada