George John Janzen son of the late Johann and Justina Janzen of Glenbush, Saskatchewan, passed away on Sunday, September 30, 2018.
George was born on September 24, 1931 in Glenbush and was the second youngest child of 7 - he had one brother and 5 sisters. He grew up on a farm in Glenbush where George received his education and learned to love the Lord. As a preacher's kid of the Mennonite faith, church community was a part of his upbringing. Upon the death of his Father in 1954 George, and his younger sister Katie and their mom auctioned off the farm and moved to Winnipeg to live with sisters, Erna and Mary.
It was in the same year of moving to Winnipeg that George met the love of his life Helen at a young people's meeting in the Mennonite church close to where he now lived. They got married 3 years later on April 27, 1957 and were married for 61 years. Their love for each other remained strong over all these years. They were a team in all sense of the word. George helped around the house especially doing the dishes and did the grocery shopping at Safeway which was 3 blocks away where he would take one of his children for company during the walk there and back. When George left to go grocery shopping he would kiss Helen goodbye and kiss her hello again when he came back. With this strong bond for each other they created a family filled with their love, content and peacefulness. Devotions, singing hymns and prayer was a daily family occurrence. Saying "ich liebe dich"(I love you) before bed along with hugs and kisses was the family's way to end the day. Not once did George and Helen's children hear them arguing. Their love for each other was always present.
Volunteering your time for the church community was always a part of George's life. The family attended the Sargent Avenue Mennonite church where George was an usher, helped with the PA system and held the role of "Haus Vater" - Building Administrator - for the church for over 20 years. As the family lived 2 blocks from the church George was seen almost on a daily basis going to check up on the church. The neighbours as well all knew George and once they learned he was so handy he became the handyman of the neighbourhood either helping with house or car repairs or shoveling or mowing the grass for the widowed or sick. George was a doer and found joy in helping others. After he gave up the volunteer position of the Building Administrator he volunteered with his wife at the MCC Thrift Store on Sargent a few blocks further from the church. Helen had volunteered at the Thrift Store since it opened in the 70's and when she became the Assistant Manager George was seen there on a regular basis. After Helen gave up the Assistant position they continued to volunteer until his health started failing him and he ended up in a Care Home. Even then George still always talked about wanting to go help at the Thrift Store so Helen started bringing cards and strings and they sat and cut out small tags to be used for pricing items at the store. Even some Aids from the Care Home started helping them make tags for the Thrift Store. Dad's volunteerism was limitless.
George's first job in Winnipeg was with a moving company before finding a job at Christie's Biscuits on Notre Dame where it turned out Helen was also working but they both didn't realize they worked at the same place until after they had met at the church. George was a machine operator mixing dough and Helen worked with packaging the cookies. George ended up getting laid off from Christie Biscuits and found employment as a machine operator for feminine hygiene products at Kimberly Clark where he worked for 25 years before the company transferred to Montreal. George had just received his gold watch from the company before he was told of the factory move. He was offered a position to move the family as well but he choose to stay in Winnipeg where his extended family and church community lived. As George was so familiar with the Kimberly Clark products he was able to secure a job immediately at Livingston International in the warehouse that was handling the Kimberly Clark products and worked there a number of years before getting laid off at the age of 55. As George was not ready to retire at that age he was so grateful to John Buhler for being offered a job at Buhler Furniture warehouse where he remained until he turned 65.
When George was in his early 60's he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. It was only in his 80's when his health started deteriorating more rabidly and his strength to keep himself balanced upright became more difficult that he really needed to be in a wheelchair the decision was made to put him in a care facility where he could get fulltime medical care. June 5, 2017 was one of the most difficult days for the family when George and Helen had to be separated and George was placed into the Charleswood Long Term Care Home where he stayed until the following February when he was finally able to get a room in Bethania Mennonite Personal Care Home where he was now once again back to living together in a home with his 2 sisters Erna and Mary but also as well sister-in-law Helen. This move also brought George back into the Mennonite community again where he could attend church services. The last year-and-a-half was very difficult for George living separately from his wife and being hampered by a wheelchair. George was more comfortable caring and helping others than he was at receiving help but he never complained. He loved when family and friends visited and played games, cards or dominoes, helped him do puzzles, or when he was involved in the Home's activities. He also loved to have devotions together with anybody who offered. Though his voice was fading and hearing him at times was difficult he still liked to read the Bible to you. George's love for the Lord stood strong.
George was predeceased by his older sister Anna and 2 months ago by sister Erna. He was also predeceased by brothers-in-law Peter Wiebe, Harry Schmidt, Peter Janzen, Horst Parei, Tina Janzen, Jake Baerg and nephew Rick Baerg; as well as Peter and Katie Janzen in Germany.
Left to mourn George is his sweetheart Helen, daughters Hedy (Ken), Ruth (Terry) and son Leonard (Kiersten); grandsons Sean (Sara) great granddaughter Hannah; Jordan (Cara); Jared; Kailan and granddaughter Kethry. He is also survived by his brother, Jake and sisters Clara, Mary and Katie as well as many nieces, nephews, family and friends. George was beloved by so many and will be dearly missed.
Funeral services will be held at Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church, 926 Garfield Street on Friday, October 5, 2018 at 11:00 a.m., with viewing prior to the service. Interment to follow in Sargent Avenue Church Cemetery in Springstein.
If friends should so desire, donations may be made to Mennonite Central Committee.