Anne Friesen

Anne Friesen

1935 - 2024

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Obituary of Anne Friesen

With heavy hearts, the family of Anne Friesen announce that our remarkable matriarch has passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her daughters. Her courageous battle with metastatic cancer is now over and she is free from pain. Her faith and the support of family and friends helped her live with grace, gratitude and humour even in trying times. 

She will be lovingly remembered by; her daughters Bev (Randy), Judy, and Carolyn, her grandchildren Samantha (Mark), Matthew (Emilie), Tanner (Lauren), Noah and Annika, and her two great-grandchildren, Simeon and Teslyn. Also missing Anne will be her siblings Peter (Erna), Martin (Sheila), Frank, Marian (Erv), Henry (Betty) and all her Friesen in-laws. The love of her life, Henry, her parents, Martin and Justina, and her sisters, Helen, Katie, and Hilda, have lit the path to heaven for her.

Anne was born December 31st, 1935, in Foam Lake, SK, the 2nd of nine children. Characteristics of hard work, generosity, good humor and a value of education were fostered in the Durksen home. The family moved to Ontario when Anne was a young girl. Here, Anne completed her high school education at Eden High School and then entered nursing school in Hamilton. In nursing school Anne developed deep friendships that have lasted a lifetime. The group of nursing grads from ‘58A held annual reunions until well into their 80’s. 

In 1957, Anne met Henry, they were both summer employees at the Bethesda Institution. After sharing a few ping pong games, and bowls of ice cream, they were both smitten. Henry returned to Manitoba, while Anne stayed in Ontario. They were married in 1958 and eventually settled in Steinbach, Manitoba. With the birth of their three daughters, their family was complete. As daughters, we learned early on that our mom was not your typical mom. Despite her busyness, she made sure we learned how to swim, how to do household chores, she always had sound advice and a listening ear. She created traditions and instilled the values of looking out for others, doing our best and living life with a positive attitude. We knew we mattered and were loved. 

Anne worked at Bethesda Hospital where she created a legacy as a progressive nurse. She brought her knowledge into the community as a prenatal instructor, a First Aid instructor, a CPR instructor, and a health care aide instructor. She then moved into Public Health holding a variety of positions. Anne loved her work and the people she met through her interactions in the community. Through her work she became involved in several organizations such as Manitoba Heart and Stroke Foundation, Manitoba Association of Registered Nurses, St John’s Ambulance, and the Canadian Nurses Foundation Board. She was honored with numerous awards for her dedication to nursing.

More than her work, more than her committees, Anne loved people. She could light up a room with her energy, enthusiasm and care for others. She loved to laugh, and her distinctive laugh could be heard at any get together. She had an infectious sense of fun and loved a good party. Sunday company after church, gourmet dinners, and regular Rook parties brought her great joy. Sunday lunches at Frantz with the “regulars” were a highlight of her week. Even after her retirement from nursing, she found employment where she continued to help others. Her volunteering at the Mennonite Heritage Museum and the library were particularly important to her. She was a problem solver and a lady of possibilities. She was sought out for her wisdom and practicality. She rarely turned anyone away when they needed help.

Anne and Henry were a good team. He supported her endeavors and was her biggest cheerleader. When he became ill, she took on the role of caregiver with compassion and strength. She was determined to give him as full a life as possible. These were trying years for them. Her dedication, care and love for Henry was admirable and inspiring.

Her faith in God played an integral role in her life. She practiced a pragmatic faith that was lived out in love and acceptance for others. She believed in active service and held a variety of roles within the Steinbach MB Church. Anne felt connected to people of all ages at church and many often greeted her with a hug; these interactions mattered a great deal to her.

She valued any time she could spend with her family, especially her grandchildren and great grandchildren, and always greeted them with a big hug and a bigger smile. “Granny” held a special place in each of their hearts. Granny was interested and involved in anything her grandchildren were doing. Attending graduations, concerts and sports games brought her great joy. She never failed to tell each grandchild that she loved them.

Throughout her life Anne struggled with various medical conditions which necessitated the help of others. She had an incredible support system that helped when needed–either a bed for a nap, or a ride to pick her up. She expressed her gratitude to others over and over. Anne always had a thank you for anyone who helped her. We are forever grateful for all the acts of kindness that were shown to our Mom, even into her last days.

Special thanks to the staff and home care team at Bridgepark Manor, especially Sue, Greta and Galina. We also extend our heartfelt thanks to the staff at The Cottages, Neta, Kathy, the Phals, and her dinner partners Frank and Tina. Thank you to the two Bible study groups that became like a second family to her over the years. Your care and kindness to our Mom was greatly appreciated.

We will miss our matriarch.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, June 15, 2024, 11:30 a.m. at Birchwood Funeral Chapel, Steinbach, Manitoba. To join the family via livestream, click HERE prior to the service. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mennonite Heritage Village.





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Celebration of Life

11:30 am
Saturday, June 15, 2024
Birchwood Funeral Chapel
162 PTH 52 W
Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada
(204) 346-1030