Janzen, Henry - Nov 21, 2020 at Undisclosed

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Henry Janzen has gone to Glory! He passed peacefully in his sleep on November 14, 2020 at the Carman Memorial Hospital, after a long battle with cancer, and more recently contracting COVID-19. He was 85 years old.

Henry was born on December 16, 1934 to Abram and Helene Janzen. He was the youngest of nine children and, according to his sisters, he was spoiled, but Henry always said, “not too spoiled”. He grew up on a farm five miles east of Elm Creek, Manitoba. He was given the nickname Sam by his family and that was how he was known for many, many years. Clara tells a story of one of the professors at MBBC who thought she was married to two men - Henry and Sam. She made sure to straighten that out very quickly.

Henry’s education started at the Dakota School which was a half mile south of the farm. He attended the one room schoolhouse until Grade 8 and then went on to high school at MBCI in Winnipeg. In Henry’s faith story, he shared a significant moment that happened at the Dakota School. He knew about Jesus and His death on the cross and that he needed to accept Him as his Saviour. One day at school he needed to use the outhouse which was a small building at the back of the school yard. When he got there, the Holy Spirit suddenly convicted him and he needed to have his sins forgiven. He knelt down in the outhouse and prayed and immediately he had peace. After graduating from high school, he took one year off, and then with the encouragement of his father, he decided to attend Winkler Bible School.

It was on the Yearbook Committee at Winkler Bible School, where Henry met Clara Hyde, the woman he married on July 10, 1959. In 1960, Clara gave birth to a baby boy, David, who lived only a few hours. Henry and Clara were then blessed with four girls (Sandra 1961, Viola 1964, Constance 1967, and Fern 1973). Henry liked to say he had his own Ladies’ Aid Society at home.

Henry felt God’s call to the ministry, much to the delight of his parents. He attended Mennonite Brethren Bible College and Winnipeg University, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Divinity. Henry was called to pastor the small North Battleford MB Church in Saskatchewan in 1969. He served in ministry there for five years, after which, the family returned to Manitoba and settled into their home in the town of Elm Creek. Henry was eager to put his gifts to work for God. He served in many roles in the Elm Creek MB Church over the years - Sunday school teacher, Moderator, choir director, and he preached on many occasions. In later years, Henry and Clara were active members of La Salle Community Church.

Henry and Clara raised their girls to know and love the Lord. Every morning started with family devotions and prayer and as a family they served in the church and the community. To say that Henry enjoyed singing would be an understatement. The family would often sing in four part harmony while driving in the car. “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” was a favourite. Henry also sang in numerous choirs and male quartets. He loved to harmonize.

God also gifted Henry with the ability to work with his hands and instilled in him a natural creativity when it came to woodworking; he could see things in his mind and know how to make them. He worked as a carpenter for many years, helping to build such landmarks as the Cargill grain elevator in Elm Creek. After full-time carpentry became too strenuous, Henry worked as a caretaker at the Elm Creek School and then as the maintenance person at the Heritage Manor. When Henry decided to officially retire, he knew he needed to keep himself busy, and after making a willow chair at a workshop, the business, Elm Creek Willow was born. He made and sold beautiful willow furniture and arbors. The pieces he made for his family are still treasured possessions.

Henry loved fishing, and a highlight for the family was the annual May long weekend trip to the Whiteshell Provincial Park, which is where he and Clara spent their honeymoon. In later years, Henry would go fishing with his brother, Abe at Jackson Lake, near Austin, MB. He also thoroughly enjoyed watching sports, particularly hockey (Go Jets Go), baseball (Toronto Blue Jays) and CFL football (Winnipeg Blue Bombers).

Henry and Clara took the family on many camping trips, spanning Canada from coast to coast. Henry loved being out in nature and building campfires. He could recognize a bird by its call or flight pattern, and knew a great deal about wildflowers. Gardening was also a passion for Henry. The family always had a vegetable garden; but he had a particular fondness for roses. He delighted in sharing them with his family and friends.

In 2016, Henry and Clara moved to the Heritage Manor in Elm Creek and they enjoyed being a part of the community there. Henry busied himself in the shared garden plot growing Clara’s favourite, tomatoes, as well as roses. For many years, Henry and Clara enjoyed attracting all manner of birds to their yard, something they continued at the Manor.

Originally diagnosed with lung cancer in December 2017, Henry was given a timeline of 4 to 14 months to live. God had other plans, and made it possible for Henry to pray at three of his grandchildrens’ weddings over the following two summers. And in 2020, Henry and Clara celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary. Henry went into hospital at the end of July 2020. Due to COVID-19, the hospital had restrictions that only allowed for very few visitors. Thankfully Henry was able to come home for nine days in September and during this time children and grandchildren came to visit, to say goodbye and show their love.

Henry is survived by his wife, Clara, his four daughters - Sandy, Vi (Ray Snaith), Connie (Paul Bergen), and Fern, as well as eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren, as well as his siblings: Mary, Maggie, Fred, Jack and Abe. He was predeceased by 1 son in infancy as well as his brother, John, and sisters, Anne and Irma.

The family would like to thank Dr. Woelk and the staff of Boundary Trails Hospital, and Dr. Villeda and the staff of Carman Memorial Hospital. In particular, thanks to Enid, the head nurse, for her kindness and patience in answering many phone calls and to Rosemary, who made it possible for the family to visit Henry via the computer. These acts made an extraordinarily difficult time a little easier to handle.

Free of cancer, free of pain, Henry is, at last, where he has always longed to be; with his Lord. Dad, we look forward to seeing you again in Glory.