Obituary of Herbert Kreuzinger
Herbert Kreuzinger, a resident of Tomslake, BC, passed away on Sunday, December 15, 2019 in Fort St John, BC, at the age of 79 years.
The year was 1940 and WW II was raging in Europe. The hit Movie in North America was " The Philadelphia Story" starring Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Errol Flynn. Walt Disney brought out "Pinocchio". The hit songs that year were: "In the mood" with Glenn Miller and his band and "When you wish upon a Star” from the movie Pinocchio. The little Hamlets of Tupper B.C. and Gundy B.C. were getting used to the fact that the area was now home to a group of settlers who had to flee their homeland in what was then Czechoslovakia and settle into a very unfamiliar way of life in Canada as they had been displaced and their choices were few in picking where they could move. The settlers themselves actually thought "this will soon blow over and we will all go home again to our former way of life"
Into this situation Herbert Arno Kreuzinger was born on Nov. 5, 1940 to Walter and Frieda Kreuzinger and was one of the first new babies born to the Sudetens (as they were known in Canada) and this brought with it a new hope and a feeling that the community was on the road to a more normal existence after the trials of the transport to the "new country " from the "old Country "they had known. The journey was often fraught with uncertainty and stress was a fact of life. Upon arrival in Tupper a lot of them wondered what sort of place is this?... as there was no town ...only a railway siding and a couple of small general stores. Our Grandma Reinelt was heard to remark that" there wasn't much here but you can sleep safely at night".
The Settlers were assigned to their places around the community (known as groups) and later issued their land which was a quarter section. These would become the homesteads where most of them spent the rest of their lives. So, amid this re-establishment... Herb was born in a log cabin with Dr. A. Glas in attendance and from all reports thrived and became the "Apple of the eyes" of all the grand parents who were happy to have other things to think about. To say the existence in those days was frugal is an understatement. ...it was downright poor as Canada and to be sure the Western world was still reeling from the aftereffects of the "dirty thirties" which had killed the economies of the US and Canada. A lot of the younger men who had no families and some who did, enlisted in the army and went back to Europe to fight in the war as they best of all understood that Hitler had to be stopped. What ultimately happened, that gave life to the community was the construction of the Alaska Highway which gave jobs to most of the able-bodied men from carpentry to labourers. These were not thir normal trades but they learned quickly and this work provided some much needed cash to the community.
Herbs growing years were ideal to one of his interest.... he was born with a natural affinity and aptitude for farming and the care and welfare of birds and animals of all sorts. His greatest pleasure was to see a young calf born healthy and flourishing; to see geese with their goslings and raise them to adulthood and to see all the wild birds and flowers around the farm and appreciate every aspect of nature
He went to the Tate creek elementary school and did not speak much English when he got there; this wasn't a big problem to him as all the friends he had in grade one didn't speak much English either so the teacher had the problem as far as they were concerned. But soon they all learned English as the teacher was a Miss Asselstine and she soon had them all in line. In this two-room school setting he went on to grade 8 and then to high school in Dawson Creek. In all this activity there was the farm where countless fun chores had to be done such as milking cows by hand, watering and feeding hogs by hand, hauling hay loaded by hand after it was cut down by primitive horse drawn equipment, and doing all the other farm chores such as barn cleaning, stooking grain sheaves in season and helping with the threshing as required. This was all good fun to someone with Herbs stamina and willingness to work but almost everyone else failed to see much humor in it.
Herb was always a passionate sports fan and the one team that he is most known for is the Hockey team of the Toronto Maple leafs. When he was a boy he would sit with our Granddad and listen to "Hockey night in Canada" with Foster Hewitt. In his early years Toronto was quite successful and won the cup several times through the 40's and 50's and even in the 60's The last Stanley cup that they won was back in 1967 and they haven't won one since but that didn't deter Herb...He rooted for them through thick and thin ...mostly thin lately. One of my last conversations with him was about this very sad fact of Toronto not winning and I mentioned that he can't really go anywhere until Toronto wins again...his comment was "then I will be around a long time yet".
His other interests were the 4H clubs where he would raise a calf every year to display at the Dawson Fall fair. He played hockey with our group of young guys known as the Tomslake /Tupper Rockets and went to the local dances.
Herbs formal schooling ended abruptly in 1957 when a farm accident caused by a strange cow they had bought almost cost our Mother her life and injured our Dad and due to their long convalescence, Herb was forced to take on running the farm with our Grandfather . Our Dad was also working out at the time to raise much needed cash. Herb fully intended to go back to school at some point but never did and farmed full time from that time on at the ripe old age of 17. He farmed until the very end and even as we speak his last remaining 3 geese are getting relocated to their new home.
The farming methods we used at that time (the early 50s with no electricity until 1954) were still primitive to say the least and it was at best hand to mouth. The dairy business of the day was still based in hand milking and therefore was enormously inefficient. The hand milking ended abruptly when we got power and when they purchased some dairy cows from the Edmonton area. These cows were not about to milked by hand as they had never experienced that before (they were not that kind of girl) so they kicked a lot and very quickly the farm went to milking machines.
The land areas of the day were one quarter sections and separated from each other by the mere fact that they had been partitioned out in the early days to all he settlers. So, to make a bigger farm you had to accumulate more land and sometimes that meant buying your neighbors if they would or could sell. In the early 60's Herb and our Dad decided to “go big or go home" as the saying goes and decided to approach the Farm Credit Corp. To see what they could do for money. The Farm Credit Corp. was quite willing and able to loan them the money and they became the business we know today as W. Kreuzinger and sons. Sons: also included our youngest brother Gerry who joined them in this venture. The undertaking was huge as it involved building new barns, milking facilities and to automate wherever feasible. Herb in spite of all this managed to have a few geese and ducks and always chickens running around the place.
The dairy business in those heady days of the late 60s' and early 70s' was growing by leaps and bounds and it wasn't long until they realized that the infra structure they had built in the 60s' was, by the mid 70's inadequate so another building boom ensued. A huge new barn new milking facilities, a feed mill and shelters for the non-milking stock were built with Rudy Kutting leading the charge as he is a certified carpenter. Our Dad employed Mr. Bartusek and various hired hands as required to take on this huge task which built the farm to what is there to this day.
The regulations around dairy production have become very tight and inspectors were always dropping in to see how you were doing it and then leave you all kinds of info. And suggestions about how you should be doing it. Herb and Gerry usually had no problems with this sort of thing because it was a commonsense approach to ensure that they were producing a healthy product to sell to the mass milk market. What Herb didn't like too much was that the milk inspector didn't want chickens on the dairy farm, and he had to move the chicken barn away from the main barns. The chickens couldn't quite understand that they could no longer roam everywhere as they always had.
With all these goings on Herb managed to get married to Evelyn Kuttig on Oct 25, 1969. Raise two children: Brian, born on May 25, 1971 and Janet, born on Feb 20, 1975. Build a new house along with our Dad and Gerry helping and of course do the never-ending farm work.
Life at the farm took on a very different look now that there were some children around to keep everyone on their toes as there were lots of opportunities for getting into trouble… lots of big machines and lots of open water and all the other things that can befall kids through their growing years; but nothing dramatic happened and life on the farm went on. Gerry and Marlene also got married and Corrine was born to them in 1979 and this made another point of interest for the farm and especially the Grandparents.
These were the 70's and 80s, and everything was possible then as we were all a lot younger and there was a lot of optimism and boundless energy. The farm was doing well and with our Mom and Dad ,Herb and Gerry, Evelyn and Marlene; the place was busy and there were hired hands and trainees as well as others doing specific jobs(such as Kurt Gebhart who was the AI tech for the area) who all made the place into a lively vibrant place. The afternoon coffee sessions at our Parents house were always well attended by whoever was on the farm at that time.
The eighties and the nineties were also good as the children were all growing up healthily and doing well at school and the animals were all fat and happy and doing well in the milking parlor. There was always a tremendous amount of work required and they all worked long hours. The milk pickup dictated the hours as the pickup was at 5:30 in the morning. This meant that the day started at 5 AM and ended somewhere around 9 PM and this takes a toll on health. Our Parents retired about then as well and did a lot of much deserved travelling to various places around the world and this left the work to be done by Herb, Gerry, Evelyn and Marlene.
Herb and Gerry decided at one point in the late nineties that the dairy farming business was getting too much for them as Evelyn had become ill and they were both diagnosed with diabetes which brings all kinds of other problems with it. They sold the dairy cows in 1998 which was a sad day for all concerned. They then turned the farm into a beef operation which was simpler to run as the main activities became centered around producing feed for the animals and raising them for the fall sales. They also went into the grain business and sold a lot of grain over the next few years.
Both Brian and Janet got married in this era of the early 2000s’ and both have two children each and this made the life of Both Herb and Evelyn very happy and proud watching these new kids growing up. Brian and Julie with their sons Tristan and Brayden live in Dawson Creek and Janet with her husband Torgrim and daughters Shelby and Emma live in Norway.
They all visited the farm as much as possible and spent the summers and Christmas there and this continued until in 2010 when sadly Evelyn passed away and left a huge void in Herbs life and tragically in 2015 Gerry passed away as well. This left Herb and Marlene as the operators of the farm and they downsized dramatically cutting way back on animals and crops. In the last few years they leased the land out.
In May of 2015 they sold all the farm equipment at auction and this was a sad occurrence for Herb again; as it meant the end of the farm as he knew it but he was stoic as he, while, not talking about it a lot fully realized that the farming for him was over. (he kept his pet tractor one skidsteer and a baler as he wanted to keep his hand in) He enjoyed greatly when his farmer friends would come in for morning coffee and discuss all the various goings on in the agriculture world. Also in attendance without fail were Marlene and our sister Linda and anyone else that happened to be around as the coffee pot was always on.
At this point I would like to mention a couple of friends that he especially felt close to one was his friend and fellow farmer Sibyl Pilz. Another was Arthur Siedl who was always available for whatever needed to be done on the farm when Herb couldn't and a special thanks as well to Ed McCullough without whom we would not have been able to harvest the final three grain crops on the farm as both Gerry and Herb were ill and the crops were too heavy for the equipment that they had. Ed was also instrumental in selling the final crops and getting them off to market. I would also like to say a special thanks to Ernie Heller who always had time to help with whatever was needed such as repairing an old tractor or truck and helping, along with Ed and Arthur the final grain sales only this last year. Also, a special mention to Frank Bratt who with Gerry kept a lot of the old machinery running against all odds to get crops in and to get them harvested. Frank and his son Trevor were always instrumental in roundups and helping around the farm. Walter Fister and Arthur were also always up for roundups. Rudy Kuttig when he retired from active work always helped keep the old buildings standing as time and usage was always threatening to cause something to collapse.
This is by no means a complete list of all the friends and fellow farmers that Herb had contact with and I don't want to leave anyone out...If you ever had anything to do with the Kreuzinger farm; rest assured that Herb appreciated it immensely as did our parents and Gerry and all the other principles who were ever there. In fact, I am sure that I am safe in saying that he liked almost everyone and if he didn't like someone, he never mentioned them to me.
Herb was greatly interested in politics and was as up on the news as he could be and was frustrated by the ever-increasing red tape that the farmers are going through. These programs are run by people who have no farm experience but are considered experts non the less.
He was not a religious man in the normally accepted definition where you go to church and pray for divine intervention, but he was more religious about most things than almost everyone I can think of who are in the religion industry. His tenets were always: fair pay for good work, trust and fair treatment for all whether female, male, young or old. He especially would fight for the underdog; this was usually an animal that he felt didn't get a fair chance, wild geese and ducks which frequented the farm and all manner of deer and moose that he would allow to eat at the farm hay stacks. He never shot a bear or a duck or goose to my knowledge and when a fox cleaned out the chickenhouse. . .. he wasn't pleased, but he understood that, that is what a fox is going to do if given the opportunity.
So that made me reflect on his life and I thought; Where does a man like Herb go when he passes on. It won't be the stereotypical heaven where they hand out harps, halos and white robes...it will be a place where the grass is green and there will be lots of it and fat cows and calves will be enjoying it. It will rain when needed and be dry when required. There will be geese and chickens with chicks and goslings running around and there will be birds of all kinds who need feeding and watching just for Herbs enjoyment. Evelyn will be there cooking delicious meals and just about when it is ready Herb will think of something that he should do and leave Evelyn wondering "Where did he get to now?” He will be outside admiring something that caught his eye... perhaps the waving grain or a great hay crop or some nice flowers and thinking how nice it all is. And the soup will get cold.
Herb passed away quietly in the Fort St. John Hospital with his family by his side on Dec 15, 2019.
Herb has gone to a place where he won't be plagued by all the medical goings on anymore. He leaves his children, Grandchildren and siblings to remember him fondly.
Son Brian, his wife, Julie and their sons: Tristan and Brayden, all of whom did yeoman service in his last years and days to make Herbs last years as comfortable as possible.
Daughter Janet, her husband, Torgrim and their children Shelby and Emma. They were also instrumental in making Herbs final years more comfortable.
His Sister Linda and her children Walter and Wendy. And Wendys, Husband John Thatcher and their son Lucas.
His sister in law Marlene and her daughter Corrine. Marlene always made sure that Herb was supplied whenever he needed something.
In Vernon we have our aunt Anne Kopp, who is now in her 92nd year and remembers Herb fondly from his birth (she mentioned that she was his first babysitter when she was 12) Along with her I mention Tony Kopp Jr. Terry, Kathy, Tim, Cindy and Chris her children; who have given her many grandchildren and great Grandchildren.
Sybil his great friend will miss him as she had an active part in his life during his last years ensuring that he was at dialysis early in the morning and also making sure that he was as comfortable as possible. We are all thankful to her for making his last years more enjoyable.
Juliet Moyer and partner Cory Carleton.
Myself and my wife Berenice and all our relatives. Geoff Reinelt and his family, Cheryl Chris Gabriel Jillian and Asa Perry, Also Isabel Reinelt and Gerry Goodleff and Barbara Allan, Aiden and Madelyn Wong
His brother in law Rudy Kuttig who always pitched in when Herb needed transport home from dialysis and for whatever else needed doing.
In the Dawson creek area, we have Erwin and Marylin Kreuzinger and their family as well as Terry Kreuzinger …Susan and their family and Tom Kreuzinger.
In Adelaide Australia we have our cousin Carol, her husband Mark Webster and their family; Jesse and Louise and their boys, and Bowen Webster and Courtney
In Kitimat we have Tony Kreuzinger his wife Jenny and son Hayden.
In the last few years Herb has depended on many people for his very life; by this I mean all the medical staff in Dawson, Prince George, Edmonton and finally Ft.St.John. He was deeply appreciative of their care and attention to his well being; again, if he ever had a complaint I never heard about it and on his behalf I would like to thank all these various professionals for all they did for Herb.
And so it ends,
The farm is quiet now... too quiet
A Memorial Service was held on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 11:00 am from Reynars Funeral Chapel. Pauline Haycock officiated. Interment followed in the Tomslake Cemetery Columbarium.
For friends so wishing, donations may be made in memory of Herbert to the Tomslake Recreation Commission Cemetery Fund, Box 47, Tomslake, BC V0C 2L0
Very Respectfully Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium
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