Donald Henry Friesen was born April 30, 1947 in Warman, Saskatchewan. He returned to the Lord July 1, 2019, age 72 in Stetler, Alberta after a battle with mesothelioma lung cancer.
Don grew up in Langham Saskatchewan, oldest son to Alfred and Eldean Friesen. His younger brother, Vic, was born 14 months later. Don attended the Walter W Brown school in Langham, graduating in 1966. Don and Vic attended Bible School at Millar Memorial Bible Institute in Pambrun SK , graduating in 1969.
After graduating from Millar, Don moved to Swift Current SK working as a carpenter and volunteering as pastor’s assistant at Fairview Bible Church. In 1970 he moved to Kelowna BC, joining Okanagan Youth for Christ. On June 10, 1972 Don married his best friend & the love of his life, Joanne Seward.
Their son Jason was born a year later in Kelowna. The small family moved to Abbotsford to continue their ministry with Youth for Christ and welcomed second son Richard in the fall of 1975. Third son Curtis was born in Trail BC at the end of 1977. By the Grace of God, Amy Joy joined their loving family in 1992.
Don started work at Cominco in Trail BC in 1976. Don and his brother Vic created a singing group called Gospel Road Trio with Juanita Unger as alto and Verna accompanying on the piano. The group toured together from 1977-1985, spreading God’s love around western Canada and the USA.
Don and Joanne were blessed with hearts of love, and were foster parents to 54 children over the years and proudly displayed the photographs of “their kids”, keeping in touch with many of the children as they grew up and became parents of their own.
Don was a passionate member of the Rossland Light Opera Players, as an actor and singer, as well as building stage props. He was ecstatic when he bought his first lathe and could continue building beautiful items from wood. He made many masterpieces on his favorite toy, and enjoyed using his creations to reach out to many people over the years.
Don worked at Cominco for 26 years while continuing his ministry. He was interim pastor at Kinnaird Church of God in Castlegar BC, and after retiring from Cominco in 2002, Don, Joanne, and Amy moved to Schuler Alberta where he was the pastor at Schuler Church of God until 2010.
After leaving Schuler, they moved to Erwood, Saskatchewan to pastor the Erwood Church of God until 2012. In the Fall of 2012, they moved again, this time to Deer Valley Meadows Camp, Alix AB where he was a member of the maintenance crew, putting his carpentry skills to good use. He also was happy to preach at many churches around the Red Deer area, where he touched many more lives.
Even in the darkest of times Don’s love for Jesus never failed, until the very end, he gave all the glory and honor to God his Father.
Don leaves to mourn, and carry on his legacy his loving wife Joanne, his 4 children: Jason (Quinn), Richard (Ashley), Curtis (Sherry), and Amy (Steve) and 11 grandchildren: Thalion, Celia, Seth, Caleb, Joshua, Bailey, Kelsie, Braden, Karley, Asher, and Tobi, and his brother Vic (Darlene) as well as many relatives, countless friends, the 53 foster children and many “borrowed” children. His love has reached far and wide, and will continue to grow as we share our memories of this very special man.
The celebration of Don’s life will be on Monday the 15th of July, 2019. Graveside service with open casket will be held at Mirror Cemetery at 10:30 a.m., 1 km north of Mirror AB on Highway 21.
The memorial service will be at Deer Valley Meadows Camp at 1:00 p.m., 39017 Range Rd 230, south of Alix AB off highway 11.
Memorial donations may be made to Deer Valley Meadows Camp, Box 690 Alix AB T0C 0B0.
Serenity Funeral Service, Wetaskiwin. ph: 780.352.5300