Frank Wiens

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Frank Wiens, a Past President of the Rotary Club of Selkirk, passed away on May 12, 2010. Frank, a Selkirk Rotarian since 1982, was co-founder and headmaster (1962-1986) of the Manitoba St. John's School. It was his educational philosophy that guided the three schools in their unique approach to educating boys. His legacy will live on in all the young men he mentored over the years. We shall all miss him very much.

FRANK A. WIENS The large family and the many, many friends of Frank A. Wiens mourn his passing but rejoice in his full and well-lived life and in the many gifts and teachings, he has left with us. Frank made his final passage on the afternoon of May 12, 2010, and is now with his Father. Frank was born January 24, 1927, near Warren, MB. His parents, Abraham and Katherina Wiens, were immigrant farm settlers of Mennonite background who had fled the privations and persecution of post-revolutionary Russia. Frank grew up on a farm near Poplar Point with his four brothers and three sisters. The family persevered and thrived through hard work and faith during the Depression years. His early schooling was in the multi-grade classrooms that were common in the era, and he took enthusiastically to schooling and study, out of joy of learning and, he later said, also as a reprieve from the hard work of the farm. Early and lasting influences were Rev. Harry Cartlidge, the local Anglican priest, and his library which was full of books of history, heroes and adventure. Through the encouragement and intercession of Rev. Cartlidge, Frank attended St. John's College at the University of Manitoba, where he subsequently earned degrees in Arts and in Education. It was during the St. John's College years that Frank met the love of his life, Nancy Shepherd. Frank and Nancy were married in December 1947. To support his growing family while he completed his education, Frank worked on the railway and in mining and later took teaching assignments in Bowsman, MB. Frank began his full time teaching career in the Winnipeg public school system where he taught nine years at Sargent Park School. In 1957, with Nancy, and with his friend and colleague, Ted Byfield and other like-minded leaders, he began his life's great adventure, the founding and direction of St. John's Cathedral Boys' School. Their vision was to create a learning experience for boys that would challenge the full capability of mind, body and spirit; and would present Christian principles, worship and ritual. The School began operations on a full time basis in 1962 at Dynevor, north of Selkirk on the Red River. Over the years, Frank and his colleagues led canoe expeditions along the old voyageur routes from Montreal to the Rocky Mountains. During the winters they raced on snowshoes or on dogsleds. Subsequently two sister schools were founded in Alberta and Ontario. As well, Frank and his students built a wilderness cabin on the Gammon River, which they visited regularly by canoe. In 1990, the School closed its doors and Frank and Nancy retired to their little home in Selkirk. The teaching adventure had ended, but not without influencing hundreds of young men and boys who grew up to adventures of their own, all across North America and the world. These young and (now) older men and their families are part of Frank's greater family. During the retirement years Frank and Nancy cheerfully welcomed their visits. In 2006, a documentary film, Frank, one man's life... was produced by three of them, with the help of many of the others. There were other adventures for Frank as well. He spent many happy years in his retirement volunteering and sharing companionship with friends in the Selkirk Rotary Club. He loved music and he loved to sing; a gathering of Wiens family and friends was seldom without musical instruments and lots of harmonizing. The family is grateful to have the memory of his last musical evening on a day pass from Selkirk Hospital to celebrate Nancy's birthday just a couple of weeks before his passing. Frank was predeceased by his father Abraham; mother Katherina; step-mother Maria; brothers Cornelius, Abraham and Arthur; sisters, Anne and Maria-Theresa; and infant children Richard and Cynthia. He is mourned and cherished by his wife of 63 years, Nancy; children, Robin (Emilie), Johanna (Bruce), Rick, Linda (Curtis), Barbara (Keith), Kimberly (Bill), Kevin (Faith), Christopher (Lynn), Susan (Richard) and Sigrid (Tim); grandchildren, Jean-Paul (Ria), Philippe (Clare); Elizabeth (Bruce), David; Mara (Tyler), Alaric, Xenia and their mother Teri; Matthew, Christopher, Roberta, Patricia; Charles (Michelle), Robert; Ryan, Karyn; Terry (Shawna), Denise; Katie (Wade), Kurt, Hugh; Susan (Kayne), Ben (Andrea) and Sam; great-grandchildren: Samantha, Adrienne, Nicholas, Jacqueline, Shayla, Rylan and Alexandre; his brother David (Betty) of Ottawa, his sister Edith (Robert) of Vancouver, and many nieces and nephews. The family thanks Dr. B. Ryckman and Dr. H. Demsas along with the caring staff at the Selkirk and District General Hospital. Special thanks to Frank's nurses in the Selkirk and Seven Oaks Dialysis Units. Thanks also to the staff on 4E at Riverview Hospital in Winnipeg for their care during his stroke rehabilitation. A Service of Holy Communion, followed by the Office of Compline officiated by The Reverend Brian Ford will be held at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 18 at St. John's Cathedral, 135 Anderson Street, Winnipeg. A private family interment will take place at a later date. Flowers are gratefully declined. Memorial contributions may be made to either the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba or Kidney Foundation of Canada. Frank wrote this prayer for us: Grieve briefly for him that is. Celebrate him that was, as long as memory lasts; on the rivers and lakes and in the forests around a thousand campfires in the evening dews and damps; between the wolves and the huskies and their chorus beneath the frosty stars. Ardently pray for him that will be; that his sins be forgiven, that his name be written in the Book of Life and that he humbly return to his Father. CROPO FUNERAL CHAPEL 586-8044