Early Sunday morning on June 30, 2019, with his wife of 57 years at his side, Bernard De Vries, age 83, took his last breath on earth and went to his heavenly home after battling cancer for close to 4 years. While he will be joining numerous family members and friends there, he will be sorely missed here by his family, cousins, nieces and nephews, friends, and neighbours.
Bernard, or Ben as he was known to many, was born on October 10th, 1935 to Fred and Hannah De Vries in their farmhouse in the Municipality of Ochre River. He was the second child of a family of two and he, along with his sister Frieda, made many memories on the same land he would later farm. Ben went by horseback and sometimes sleigh with his sister, cousins, and neighbours to Roxton School. Ben loved learning, but by Grade 8 he was needed at home to help on the farm. In 1953, at the age of 18, he went to Edmonton for six weeks to take a Diesel and Auto Mechanics course.
Ben loved farming and also loved learning which became a lifelong pursuit. Ben taught himself or sought out information on many things; how to read music, how to better conduct a choir, how to use an in-depth accounting program and ways on how to incorporate the latest technology on the farm and in his personal life. Ben could also carry on a lively conversation covering a wide-range of topics from world events to the retelling of his favorite Reader’s Digest joke accompanied with a laugh that consumed his whole being. Usually the jokes were funny, but what made them even more so was his laugh that made you want to join in his joy.
Ben became a Christian at a young age and was baptized at Grace Baptist Church at the age of 10. Devotions were part of his morning routine and worship through music was an everyday occurrence. Service at Grace Baptist Church was very important to him where he was the choir director for over 25 years and served in various capacities on the church board. He also served on the Ste. Rose Hospital board for a number of years.
Ben was devoted to his wife and his family. Ben met Elsie Thun when she was in nurses training at Ste. Rose Hospital and offered to drive her to and from church from time to time. This transportation arrangement quickly evolved into courtship and Ben and Elsie were married in Steinbach, MB on October 21st, 1961. Together they farmed the same land that he grew up on, while Elsie worked part-time as a nurse at Ste. Rose General Hospital. Their marriage was blessed with three children; Esther, Elizabeth, and Daniel. Together they created a home that was a combination of hard work, tenderness and laughter. Ben had the ability to love well.
Ben was pre-deceased by his parents, Fred De Vries (1984), Johanna De Vries (2002), his sister Frieda Schroeder (1980), brother-in-law Herman Schroeder (2004) and niece, Edith and nephew, Norman.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Elsie, children and grandchildren, who will cherish his memory and walk out his legacy. Children: Esther with her husband Marno Klein, Elizabeth with her husband Jeff Neufeld, and Daniel De Vries with his wife Janell (nee Kopecky). Grandchildren: Matthew, Anton, and Lianna Klein, Samuel and Benjamin Neufeld, and Hannah and Sarah De Vries.
Special thanks to the numerous people who have shown and continue to show their love in various ways. We also would like to thank the medical and nursing staff at Ste. Rose Hospital and Dauphin Palliative Care Unit where Ben was able to live out his last days in dignity and comfort.
…but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him.” Psalm 32:10b
Funeral Service will be held on Friday, July 5, 2019 at 2:00 pm from the Grace Baptist Church, Ochre River, MB
Interment in the Turtle River Cemetery.
Should friends so desire, donations may be made in memory of Ben to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Canadian Cancer Society
55 St Clair Avenue West Suite 300, Toronto ON M4V 2Y7