Obituary of Eugene Franklin Janzen
Eugene (Gene) Franklin Janzen – age 92
Parkwood Mennonite Retirement Home, Waterloo, Ontario
Gene was born on November 5, 1931 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He was adopted by Frank and Anne Janzen in November, 1931 and grew up in the village of Waldheim, which is approximately 25 kilometres north of Saskatoon. At the time, the Waldheim area was primarily a Mennonite community. Gene’s faith was at the core of his life and moulded his character and influenced all his decisions.
Gene has one older sister, Margaret. He had a wonderful carefree childhood and developed friends for life who shared great memories of living on the prairies. He did well at school and was active in most sporting activities, in fact, in high school, one year his team placed 2nd in the Provincial Volleyball Tournament.
In 1949 his family moved to Kelowna, B.C. Here he completed his last year of high school and enrolled in Herbert’s Business College. In December, 1952 he met Vi Anderson at a church Young People’s skating party. They started dating in April, 1953 and were married in October of that same year. Gene loved Vi, and together in faith they nourished their love for each other and their growing family. Their daughter Ann was born in 1955 and was married to Murray Good in 1979. They were blessed with a daughter, Leah, and son, Craig (Sara) and grandson Saul. Their son Don, was born in 1957, and married Heather Lawrence in 1978. Their marriage was blessed with the birth of David, and Laura. Laura has two daughters.
Gene had a number of jobs following school graduation. In December, 1952 he was hired by Mutual Life Assurance Company of Canada in Vancouver. He continued to work for Mutual for a total of 39 years, and retired in December of 1991. During his tenure with Mutual Life, he was transferred to New Westminster, B.C., Nelson, B.C., Saskatoon, Sask., and eventually to the Head Office in Waterloo in 1967. One of the highlights of his career was being part of the Agent Retention Team. Working with Managers and new agents was a joy for Gene. He greatly enjoyed his work, as well as the people at Mutual Life.
Gene held board positions as the National Treasurer for Gideons International in Canada, and for the local Victoria Orders of Nurses. In all of Gene’s roles as husband, father, manager, volunteer and friend, he chose integrity, honesty, and grace.
Another of Gene’s passions in life was photography. There was rarely an event or travelling adventure where his camera was not near at hand. Another hobby was keeping horses and restoring old horse-drawn buggies. There were many days where he could be seen driving his horse and buggy on the country roads around Linwood.
Gene and Vi had many summers at Grand Bend and this joy of the beach area was shared with family and friends. The times at Grand Bend with Gene and Vi are treasured memories.
He was involved in many areas of service in various local churches, such as being a board member, choir member, Sunday School teacher and Superintendent, and Boys Brigade leader. He particularly enjoyed music and sang in various choirs: church choirs, Schneider’s Male Chorus, Jubilation Male Chorus, and was also an accomplished soloist at weddings and funerals.
When it came time to travel, Gene and Vi shared a love for exploring new places and people. Over the years they made a point to visit:
· All of provinces of Canada
· All of continental USA other than Utah and Alaska
· Scandinavian countries: Norway, Sweden and Denmark
· 26-day bus tour of Europe
· Tour of England, Scotland and Wales
Gene will be deeply missed by family and friends. Interment has taken place at Mount Hope Cemetery, Waterloo. Friends and relatives are invited to a Casual Open House Lunch at the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home’s Fireside Reception Room, 171 King St. S, Waterloo on Thursday, January 25, 2024 from 12:00 noon to 3:00pm.
Condolences for the family and donations may be made out to the Mennonite Central Committee, arranged through www.erbgood.com.