Obituary of Abe Friesen
Abe (Abraham) Friesen was born on December 27th in 1939 to Peter and Helena Friesen in the Niverville area. Abe passed away on Thursday, July 20th, 2023 at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, MB.
He is survived by Mitzi, his wife of almost 63 years and four sons, Barron and Cathy, Rod and Ellie, Al and Cecile, and Mick and Marnë, and many cherished and beautiful ice-cream loving grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
He is survived by a sister, Henrietta Friesen, and a brother-in-law, John Reimer and in-laws: Helen Giesbrecht, John and Erna Hiebert, Jake and Anne Hiebert, Ed and Cathy Hiebert, and Pete and Cathy Hiebert.
He is predeceased by his parents, Peter and Helena Friesen, older sister Mary, as well as parents-in-law, Jacob and Elizabeth Hiebert, and brother-in-law, Bill Giesbrecht.
Growing up on the family farm, Abe learned many life lessons. The most important of these lessons was how to care for people. By the age of fifteen, Abe was running the farm due to his father’s ailing health. This carried through his adult working life and how he raised his family.
Around the same time, he met Mitzi. In a moment, she became the love of his life. They later married and soon after began a family. Their four boys presented numerous challenges and unbelievable joy. As a dad he indulged his sons and their passion for everything speed-related from snowmobiles to boats, and dirt bikes. He shared this passion, of course, and it earned him the nickname, “Abe J. Foyt” after the former Indy Car driver. Summer vacations at the Whiteshell included endless adventures of hiking, fishing, and water skiing. How lucky were we!
Having learned early that farming was not for him, Abe found he had an aptitude in the world of sales. He went from selling chicks and feed at the Steinbach Hatchery, to two Steinbach car dealerships and eventually to Mid-Canada Truck in Winnipeg. Abe had customers follow him to each new business and he earned himself another nickname as “Honest Abe.” He knew the art of the deal, and put together multi-million dollar sales of fleets of trucks and school busses. Abe’s work ethic was an admirable example for his boys.
In his forties, Abe developed significant health challenges during which he continued to make attempts to keep his career going. However, by his late fifties, he needed to retire to care for his health. Despite this, mom and dad still enjoyed some good years of camping and spending time at the lake with family and friends.
Abe’s faith was very important to him. He was never very noisy about it but in interacting with him, people knew exactly who and what he was. A man of faith and integrity, he served in the Free Church congregations in both Steinbach and Winnipeg in a variety of ways and he carried his faith with him wherever he went because it was central to his character.
The family thanks the many healthcare professionals who cared for Abe over the years. Abe’s last place of residence was Golden Door in Winnipeg and we thank the staff for the comfort and care they provided him.
Lastly, we are grateful for family and friends who have supported Abe in any number of ways. And we are thankful to God that Abe has been released from his physical difficulties. He has earned his rest and we will forever carry his spirit with us.
The funeral will be held Wednesday, July 26th, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. at Birchwood Funeral Chapel, Steinbach, MB., with a private family burial prior to the service.
Donations in Abe’s memory can be made to: Mennonite Collegiate Institute, Box 250, Gretna, MB., R0G 0V0.