Obituary of Peter Wiens
Peacefully, on Sunday, October 15, 2023, Peter Wiens, age 94, was called home by his Lord and Saviour.
Left to mourn are Louise, Peter’s loving wife of 67 years; his four children, Dennis (Norma), Terry (Victor), Erica (Rob) and Robert; his eleven grandchildren: Mitchel, Emily (Erik), Mikayla, Kurtis, Darren (Claire), Jacqueline (Malal), Angela, Craig (Jessica), Nelson (Kristin), Brad and Tawny; and thirteen great grandchildren: Adelaide, Nate, Yero, Maymouna, Cali, Greyson, Karter, Connor, Caleb, Caysen, Kora, Raelynn and Jonathan. He is survived by one sister, Edith.
He was predeceased by their first child, an infant daughter (Kathleen), his grandson (Cole), five brothers, one sister and his parents.
Peter was born on July 30, 1929, at the Concordia Hospital, and grew up on a farm by the Red River in Glenlea, Manitoba. He was the seventh child of eight born to Aganetha and Franz Wiens.
Dad told many stories about hard times growing up on a farm in the 1930's, but those stories included much fun with his siblings, cousins and other friends, whether in the Red River, on the hockey rink, at the Glenlea or Springstein school, at Sunday School picnics by the river, youth events with other church groups, or at the MCI in Gretna.
It seems that everyone in those early years seemed to learn how to swim by being thrown into the Red River, and dad was no exception. Dad could tell so many stories of mishaps in the water, like having to dive down sifting through the muck to eventually find his brother’s false teeth. Meanwhile, his dear mother, who could not swim, was keeping an eye on the rascals.
Hockey started in Glenlea in the 1930's, where the kids played against teams from neighbouring small towns. Dad was one of the younger players and thoroughly enjoyed all the time he could spend on the ice.
The one-room schoolhouse in Glenlea is where Dad spent Grades 1 through 8. It seems he was always getting into trouble as he often told his grandchildren that “I got the strap every day”. Whether it was sticking a ponytail into an inkwell or dismantling someone’s new bicycle in the playground, there were so many opportunities to cause mischief. Dad said himself that he never was a scholar, but he learned how to learn what he needed to know.
Dad attended high school in Springstein, and then at the Mennonite Collegiate Institute (MCI) in 1947-48 for his Grade 12 year. Later, as his own children attended MCI, he became active on the MCI Board.
Dad’s entrepreneurial skills developed at the MCI where he learned, among other things, how to buy Coca-Cola in Neche, North Dakota, and sell them for a profit back in the dormitory at the 9 pm snack break.
Dad was baptized at the Glenlea Mennonite Church on May 20, 1951. He actively served and loved his Lord and his beloved congregation throughout his life. This included multiple terms as a Sunday School teacher, Sunday School Superintendent, and Church Secretary. Dad also saw farming as a way to work together with His Lord. Every spring, before one kernel was planted, he would stop the tractor and say a prayer asking for God’s blessing.
Dad enjoyed time with other youth groups from the Schoenweiser Gemeinde (First Mennonite Church and its sister congregations such as Glenlea and Niverville). Dad also said it was a custom back then for country boys like him to drive up to the edge of Winnipeg, which started by the Osborne underpass. He and his friends would then share a crowded phone booth and call around to see which young ladies might want to join them for fun at the Winnipeg Roller Rink or other venues. It was at a house party that Peter crossed paths with the love of his life, Louise Braun.
Mom and Dad were married on November 3, 1956 at First Mennonite Church. They lived with Dad’s parents for the first year after their marriage. Tragically, they lost Kathleen, their first child, as an infant. Mom and Dad were joined by both Dennis and Terry in 1960, and this growing family worked the Glenlea farm until 1962 when they sold it to the government and it eventually became the Glenlea Research station.
The young family moved to a new farm in Sanford. And it was here that Dad became active on the Board of the local Manitoba Pool elevator. Erica and Rob soon joined the gang, and together the family built a successful farm and made many happy memories together.
Wednesday and Saturday evenings were Hockey Night in Canada tv evenings. Under no circumstances could anyone ever change the channel. Dad continued to enjoy watching hockey and then football throughout his life.
Dad also loved to make trades whenever he had the opportunity. When he was offered a good price for their Sanford farm, he relished starting on a new adventure. The family moved to a beautiful home by the Red River in St. Norbert. Together with his brother John, in 1977 they purchased a car dealership in Oak Bluff, renamed it Wiens Chev Olds, expanded the building, and soon created an award-winning business.
As the children started to marry, Dad began building a new home in the bush by the La Salle River around the mid-1980's. They sold the car dealership in 1988 which gave him extra time to plant thousands of evergreen seedlings and, as a newly-minted Grandpa, he began to make this home a place of wonder for the grandkids on the way. The yard was filled with endless walking trails, towering Cottonwood trees, swift and curvy toboggan runs, and endless golfcart and tractor rides.
Dad loved his children, of course, but he adored his grandchildren! They probably weren’t more than a few months old when they would take their first garden tractor ride tucked carefully on Grandpa’s lap. We would get annoyed when he would dip their soothers in icing sugar.
Dad and Mom enjoyed travels to Hawaii, Mexico, the southern United States and even Hong Kong. Dad took up golfing when he was in his fifties and regularly played into his early 90's. Dad and Mom also enjoyed camping in Minnesota and elsewhere.
After renting a house for a short time in La Salle, they called the Marina del Rey home, which was also home to Dad’s brother John (and Alice), his sister Edith (and Abe) and friend Margaret Redekop. Here they had many good times with regular table game nights and playing ladder ball.
Dad felt useful when he could help with any number of chores at his children’s places. He especially loved working from the tractor.
Dad’s final move was to Lindenwood Manor around 2018. A small group of men started to play pool everyday after lunch and again in the evening. Dad enjoyed this very much. Once Dad’s health began to decline he was happy to be in a place that could look after them so well.
Dad always loved driving and it wasn’t uncommon for Dad and Mom to go for a drive when they had nothing else to do. They would check on the crops (once a farmer, always a farmer!) and stop in for coffee at any one of his kid’s homes. They would never stay long, but just getting out and about was their pleasure.
Dad always had a body of steel and nothing could slow him down. However, it was right after his 90th birthday that dad’s health declined and then came the diagnosis of colon cancer.
However, it was because of Dr. Sharkey, Dad’s cheerleading doctor of 50 years, that dad went into the operating room and walked out of the hospital two weeks later. Enough can’t be said about Dr. Sharkey and how he supported Dad throughout his many health crises. Dad survived and enjoyed some of the next 2 years but in the final stages of chronic kidney disease there was only so much that could be done.
The family would like to thank the medical team at the Grace Hospital where dad spent the last two weeks of his life. Dr. Goulet looked after dad when he first arrived by ambulance with severe pain and brought his condition under control, and it was Dr. George who, treating dad with an extra dose of kindness and gentleness, granted Dad his wish to be taken off his medications and IV so he could go home.
Dad passed away peacefully and was able to communicate his final words “I love you” to mom just hours before he died.
Dad, we love you. We will miss you dearly. But for now we say Auf Wiedersehen, as we look forward to seeing you again in your heavenly home.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Glenlea Mennonite Church (re: Cemetery Fund) or to a charity of one’s choice.
The memorial service for Peter Wiens will be held on Saturday, October 21, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at the Glenlea Mennonite Church, Glenlea, Manitoba. To join the family via livestream please click HERE 30 minutes before the service.
If you would like to view the memorial slide show please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cremation has already taken place.