Vivian Friesen

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Vivian Victoria (Vavra) Friesen on May 28, 2021, at the age of 89 years. Vivian was predeceased by her husband Don, parents John and Anna Vavra, sisters Mary, Marion, Theresa, Evelyn, brothers Frederick, and John, and many aunts and uncles. She is survived by her sons, Dallas (Sharon), Darcy (Carrie), and daughters Jae (Neil) and Allyson (Ken); grandchildren Jaron, Caverly, Alana, Drew, Ian, and Sam; her siblings Ann Romanoski, Bill Vavra, Veronica Orton-Johnson, and Barbara Fletcher; aunt Elizabeth Hardy; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends.

Vivian was a first generation Canadian, born the sixth child of eleven to Czechoslovakian (Hungarian) immigrants. Her family homesteaded a farm near Outlook, Saskatchewan, on the South Saskatchewan River valley.  It continues to be a treasured family gathering place, and the farm and river valley were one of Vivian's favourite places.

Vivian left public school at 16 to support her family, and eventually, work took her to Saskatoon. She stayed with her Aunt Mary and Uncle Jimmy Girgulis and worked at their restaurant, the Elite. Her eldest sister, Theresa, encouraged her to take a commercial course and she landed a job at Dunn & Bradstreet as the Office Manager.  It was during this time she met a mercantile reporter named Don. The couple was married in Saskatoon in 1956. Soon after, Don began his lifelong career in Municipal Administration, working, living, and growing their family in Mayfair, Hafford, Luseland, and Hudson Bay.  Vivian often worked alongside Don, supporting with administration duties, and it was also in these rural Saskatchewan towns, where Vivian honed her cooking skills in delectable cultural dishes, such as halupki, pierogi, and numerous soups and baking.

The family moved to Dawson Creek in 1973, when Don accepted the position as City Clerk. The move to Dawson Creek afforded Vivian the opportunity to work outside the home and she flourished in a variety of positions with School District 59, most notably as payroll clerk.  She revelled in the meticulous work and was appreciated by many new teachers for providing important benefits and payroll tips.  Vivian retired in 1997. It was no coincidence that Vivian’s work supported education; she was a voracious supporter of higher education and taking courses to better oneself. Nearly 40 years after leaving high school, and after helping her own children graduate from high school, university, and other post-secondary endeavors, Vivian went back to school to attain her GED.  This is a prime example of Vivian’s perseverance and tenacity that she demonstrated throughout her life.

Vivian also held many volunteer positions for several organizations in Dawson Creek including board member of the Peace Country Highland Dancing Association, Dawson Creek Public Library, Camp Emile, and was a trustee for Notre Dame School. Most dear to her heart were her roles with the Dawson Creek Hospital Auxiliary, and as a faithful member of the Notre Dame Catholic Church. Many will remember her singing in the choir and supporting the Seniors’ Lunch through the Catholic Women’s League.  Vivian was a strong advocate for volunteering your time, especially to someone or something, with no promise of personal gain, just in the spirit of lending a helping hand.

Vivian had a deep love and commitment of family.  She was enormously proud of her four children and deeply devoted to her six grandchildren.  She loved nothing more than to share in their latest activities or accomplishments.  She loved her friends and cherished her time travelling, singing, camping, and going out for meals and drives; she loved any opportunity for an adventure, a story, and a cheeky joke. 

Vivian’s life took a sudden and surprising turn in late January 2021, when she was diagnosed with advanced stage pancreatic cancer.  She battled with grace, kindness, and gratitude to the very end.  More than ever, she inspired the power of prayer, the power of thought, and the power of feeling for someone other than yourself. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her.

Funeral services at the Notre Dame Church will be limited to family only due to current Provincial Health Order restrictions. Interment to take place at the Brookside Cemetery in Dawson Creek, BC.

Vivian’s family would like to extend their heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Daniel Botha Sr., and the staff at Rotary Manor, Dawson Creek& District Hospital, and the Grande Prairie Queen Elizabeth II Hospital for their professional care and personal compassion.

Donations in Vivian’s memory can be made to the Notre Dame Catholic Church, 908 104 Ave, Dawson Creek, BC V1G 2H7 or the Dawson Creek & District Hospital Auxiliary, 11100 13 St, Dawson Creek, BC V1G 3W8

Very Respectfully, Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium