Harry John Giesbrecht

Death is an unwanted guest. It comes in the middle of the night, in the middle of the day or in the early morning hours. It comes into your house and you are never the same. When someone close in your life dies, a part of you breaks, cracks and fragments in the loss. Every ounce of your energy, of your being, is used up to fill the holes and to fight the silence. One last grasp of his hand, one last word, one last kiss on his forehead, one last…  But it is the words, touches, and sentiments in the final hours, minutes and seconds that tell the world that he was loved, is loved, and will be loved — that his life was long, rich, and respected — that his heart was a good heart, and his hands were good hands.

On Tuesday Nov. 4, 2014 at approximately 9:30 a.m. the Giesbrecht, Wilms, AbouZeid, King, and Doerksen family lost their Patriarch. Harry John Giesbrecht died at the age of 86.

Harry has left a great legacy — Mary, his wife of 62 years. His brother-in-law, Walter. His kids — Edith and Ossama, Harold and Valerie, Louise and Gary. His grandchildren — Anna and Hassan; Jeremy, Robin and Michael; Shayna, Sarah and Lara — and his great-grandchildren, Henry and Hayley.

Harry’s loving family stretches around the world with his devoted nieces and nephews and his large faith community.

Harry was born in Lictenau, Ukraine on Oct. 1, 1928. At the age of four he and his family moved to Nikopol where he spent his younger years along the banks of the Dnieper River.

His favorite memories are as a kid with the ‘gang,’ running through the grain fields to the river, feeling the grain between his fingers, swimming across the river to the sand dunes of Neider-Chortiza — stealing fresh produce from the farmers, getting shot at with salt pellets by the very same farmers, eating the wild mulberries, and chasing and riding the wild horses  — pretending to be one. “Oh, my guy, it feels like it was yesterday.”

After fighting in the war, Harry and his family immigrated to Canada — the date of May 1, 1948 will always be remembered in our family.  In Pigeon Lake he met his wife of 62 years. They were wed on Sept. 20, 1952. “Find love, my guy, and never let it go.”

By 1967, Harry had three kids, a wife and a construction company. The family business, Central Canadian Structures, grew to become quite successful. He flew planes, collected cars, spoke five languages and travelled the world. Harry’s business and love of traveling took him back ‘home’ where he became the first North American businessman to do business in the former Soviet Union.

It can be argued that grandparents love their grandkids more than they love their kids. And that was for sure the case with Harry. They are the joy of his life. “Family, my guy, is the most important thing, never let it go.”

Because of Harry’s attractive personality he will be forever remembered by many friends and family.

Gute Nacht Opa, schlaffe gut.

opa and me

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