Frieda Unruh

Obituary of Frieda Unruh

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Frieda Unruh, resident of Fort Nelson, British Columbia on, Saturday, August 7, 2021. Frieda passed away in Fort Nelson at the age of 86 years. A graveside service will be held on Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 2:00pm at the Fort Nelson Cemetery.


Frieda Unruh was born on June 18, 1935, to Jacob and Maria Dirks, joining her sister and brothers Harry, Erika, Walter, and Werner in Black Creek, Vancouver Island, BC. Two years later Frieda was thrilled to get another sister, Lily.


Mom loved the outdoors. She loved to help her dad in the dairy barn, milking cows by hand at a very young age. She enjoyed gardening, working in the orchard, working with the animals, raising, and butchering chickens and pigs, and making sausage. Mom cheerfully and willingly helped her dad with farm work.


It came natural to Mom to be involved with the 2-acre strawberry field, harvesting into little boxes, and selling strawberries in the family's roadside stand. Mom learned to play the piano and accordion and would often sing. She followed in her dad's footsteps in being natural at painting and drawing as well. Mom used her energies well in work and play, baking, cooking, and cleaning, but when blue skies and sunshine called, she preferred to be outside.


When Mom was quite young, she discovered that letting God's love transform her heart made it easy to have good relationships with her parents, brothers and sisters, and friends. She could forgive and love others and know that God was in control. She learned to rest in God and not fret about circumstances.


Mom met Ben Unruh in 1948 when the Unruh family moved to the Black Creek community from Saskatchewan. The two families had much interaction over the next years: kids playing outdoor games, hiking, skating, baseball, singing.


After her schooling was completed, Mom worked a year with the Mennonite Central Committee Volunteer Service in Ontario.  She was nanny for a family, as well as working with children at a camp.  Mom enjoyed children, loved caring for babies, and loved the walks in the wilderness there.  She also cherished the letters from Ben, their relationship growing despite the distance apart.


They were married July 27, 1958.  Four busy and adventuresome boys were born by 1963, Jeff, Dirk, Kelly, and Seymour.  Mom and Dad cared for their growing family as best they could, including them in work and play, answering the many questions that little people have, helping the boys build friendships with their cousins and extended family.  It was very helpful to have Dad's brother Abe and his wife Leona and family close by, working the Dairy Farm together, sharing meals, ideas, and a close understanding relationship. Mom gardened, baked bread, canned and preserved food, sewed clothes, knitted, read storybooks and the Bible aloud, rocked babies, and welcomed anyone to the table.


Mom and Dad moved their family to Farmington in 1964 to better build their dreams of land, trapping and farming.  There were challenges for mom, living off grid with young children, but she faced them all with love, determination, and God-given grace and strength.  Two more children were born by 1967, Vera and Milton, and Jason, the seventh in 1972.  Mom was always there for us, but she too needed other women.  She found encouragement in hard times when visiting with Grandma Maggie Wallace, our elderly Irish neighbor, and other ladies who homesteaded the area before Mom and Dad moved in.


The wild raspberries and strawberries weren't as large or plentiful for picking in this new land as the rows and rows of tame berries she came from, but Mom adapted and learned where the best patches were as land clearing began.  She would find time on the way home from town trips to stop at the wild saskatoon bushes, filling the buckets and pans she brought.  Mom always appreciated the fresh orchard apples her sister Erika and husband Glenn would bring up when they visited every summer, as apples from the store were not the same as she grew up with. 


Mom loved children. She looked forward to summer months when school was out so she could have her children around all day. It wasn't a problem to put a small child on her back and take a walk in the fields, a hike to the river, or to check beaver with dad. She delighted in babies, and they loved her as well. Other mothers were thankful when Mom would transform their fussy baby to a contented and happy one.  Mom loved life, so when the grandchildren started arriving, she was thrilled. In later years the great grandchildren brought much joy to her as well. She would listen as best she could to all their stories and her heart was warmed again by their hugs. 


There were often extra mouths to feed at the table, whether it be her nieces or nephews or her kids' friends, and Mom welcomed them all.  Food was cooked, a bed, couch, or floor was ready for overnighters.  For many years an extra dozen people were expected on Sundays, and she fed them all. Mom always gave of herself to help others in whatever way she could. Even at 86 years old she hurriedly prepared open face sandwiches for soon arriving company, always being hospitable.


Mom enjoyed camping and open fire cooking. Summertime brought wiener roasts and watermelon at the Kiskatinaw river or in the back yard. She somehow could materialize a fire, homemade hamburgers, and potato salad in short order, and a cookout was on the menu. Mom was the organizer of the meals for our church's July first Campouts, cooking over the fire for the weekend to feed 30 hungry mouths.  She gave of herself to serve others.


Mom was a never-ending energy machine when the peas were ready to pick. She would bring in large boxes of peas, one after the other, for us kids, and whichever friends were over, to shell.  Then there were gallons of peas to freeze, which she did, and we enjoyed the work of Mom's hands well into winter.  She canned and froze vegetables, made pickles from cucumbers she bought from the Taylor farm.  Mom made enough jam for her large family to last all year, especially delicious on her homemade bread.  


Mom loved to make clothes for us all, specially at Easter and Christmas.  Before the hydro line was in, she used the Singer treadle sewing machine and heated the sad iron on the wood cookstove for ironing.  I remember falling asleep many times to the comforting music of the treadle as mom sewed love into a piece of needed clothing, the fabric usually bought from the sale table at the Co-op.  When our cousin Don lived with us for a season, Mom included him in her sewing shirts for Christmas as well.  She used her energies to love and serve all she could.


Later, Mom valiantly drove to Fort Nelson regularly to do bookkeeping for the logging business, no matter the weather.  She had many stories of how God looked after her on these trips.  She prepared food in advance for Dad so he would have it easier in her absence.  Mom welcomed her grandchildren into the office, always making time to chat and visit a bit before getting back to work. 


When Mom and Dad's house burned down, Mom escaped with only her suitcase.  She was in awe of the outpouring of community donations, not realizing how much she was appreciated by the Farmington people.  Mom had always spoke of being content in all circumstances, and this was another event to practice it. 


As Mom and Dad grew older, they did everything together, giving each the support the other needed.  They walked the trapline in the winter, checked cattle, fixed fences together, even driving the vehicle was a two-person job for them.


Mom had to adjust a lot when Dad passed away in 2015.  She had already overcome some serious health issues, but early summer of 2016 Mom contracted an infection that nearly took her life, gave her an extended hospital stay, and left her physically weakened.  She went to live in Fort Nelson where her daughter in law Val could give her more care, as Mom learned again how to cook for herself.  Here she enjoyed visits with many family members who lived nearby.  Mom loved to sit on her back deck in the sun and enjoy the birds on the 'lake', which was the town water reservoir.  As strength increased, she would often walk a couple blocks to visit her granddaughter Rainbow and the kids.


Mom could not be as active as she once was, but she prayed daily for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, her siblings, in laws and their spouses. She continued to give of herself in time spent in prayer for her loved ones when there wasn't physical strength anymore to help. Mom loved to play the old hymn CD's, finding peace and comfort in the music. 

Her Bible has many areas circled that were important for her, reminding her of God's provisions as she aged.  Very often as I was leaving a visit with Mom, she would stand on her steps with a look of deep gratefulness and tell me how much she loved and appreciated her family and all they did for her.


Mom's passing away leaves a hole in the many lives she touched, but we know she looked forward to her heavenly home, knowing that God would lead and provide for us as He did for her.


Very Respectfully, Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium

A Memorial Tree was planted for Frieda
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium
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